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For many people, the initial lockdown was a real struggle that presented many issues. For others, however, it provided an opportunity to make some much-needed improvements. Whether this was to themselves, their lifestyle or to their home! 

Well, for one homeowner, it's safe to say the latter certainly applies to them. A recent customer of ours was one of the many people up and down the country that used the extra time they found themselves having to make some incredible enhancements to their home, in particular, their outdoor living space. 

Hoping to renovate and transform their garden area, the in question customer placed a sample order for our stunning Cotswold Ivory porcelain pavers, a flooring product that brightens up any outdoor space with beautiful warm hues. 

Having received their samples, the customer decided that this product was just the thing they were looking for to complete their garden transformation and proceeded to discuss with our helpful sales team their exact needs and requirements. With clear and thorough communication, we were able to provide the customer with the right amount of paving slabs that they needed to bring their new outdoor design to life. 

Here are the results:

  

Thanks to our stunning porcelain paving, this homeowner was able to create a breathtaking outdoor space that they are now able to enjoy all-year-round. Using the light-coloured tiles to contrast the popping colours of the garden furniture and the abundance of plants, they were able to create a truly quirky garden design that is sure to stand out from the rest. 

An added bonus of installing our porcelain products is the low-maintenance properties that they offer. With extremely low porosity levels and high resistance to all forms of scratching, abrasions and fades, this customer's garden is set to look incredible for years to come with very little effort - fantastic! 

Are you interested in transforming your garden?

If you are considering a complete garden makeover with a new patio, be sure to check out our range of porcelain products today! Click below to browse our outdoor tiles.

Our Porcelain Products >

 

For more information, be sure to get in touch with a member of the PrimaPorcelain team today, we'd be more than happy to discuss your requirements.

Despite having to spend more time in our homes due to the recent announcements regarding COVID-19, it doesn't mean that we have to be cooped up inside all winter, we can still make good use of our gardens and outdoor spaces. Especially if you have a patio area to take advantage of. 

Now, we know what you're thinking. Who in their right mind wants to spend time outside during the winter when they can be warm and cost inside? Well, there are a whole host of advantages to being outside, especially with being stuck inside for so much of this year and you don't have to be cold! 

Here we provide some tips on how to stay warm on your patio this winter and extend the time that you spend outdoors. Read on to find out more.

 

Warming Up Your Patio 

 

Fire Pits 

When it comes to warming up your patio, fire pits have become one of the most popular outdoor fire features due to their low cost, simplicity and portability. Fire pits are traditionally designed to be kept fairly low to the ground, however, they can be built or purchased in many shapes and sizes with a range of materials. 

You can purchase different types of fire pit also. Wood-burning types are popular, but for a more environmentally-friendly option, you can choose pits fuelled by gas or propane. 

 

Purpose-Built Fireplace

If you have a little more time and budget on your hands, a custom-built fireplace in your garden is a perfect way to warm up your patio. An outdoor fireplace works just like an indoor one and really does create a living room outside. Add seating and a lowered table for a real homely feel. Materials range from metal, stone, brick and concrete and can be fuelled by other wood or gas. Be mindful of where exactly you place the fireplace, avoiding low-hanging trees, shrubs, hedges and nearby structures. Also, think about any potential smoke and the direction it may blow.

 

Portable Fireplace

For those of you who would love an outdoor fireplace but do not want to commit to getting one built, a portable fireplace may be just the thing for you. These are a particularly smart choice for smaller outdoor spaces or if you plan on moving your fireplace often. These can also be fuelled by wood, gas or propane.

 

Chimineas

A chiminea is an inexpensive fire feature that is often made out of clay or metal that is guaranteed to warm up your patio area, an ideal alternative to a fireplace. Their traditional design and appearance bode well for outdoor spaces that boast a similar look. Ensure the chiminea is sturdy and has a spark screen. Chimney extensions also help to vent the smoke whilst it burns on your patio.

 

Patio Lamps & Heaters

Patio heaters are another popular choice for many homeowners who want to bring some warmth to their garden. They are tall, do not take up much space and are fuelled by propane. An average patio heater can warm up an area of 15-25 square feet, so there'll be no worries about your outdoor space getting warm.

 

Heated Flooring 

You can spend more time outdoors thanks to radiant heating. Often associated with indoor floors, heated flooring is gaining popularity with outdoor surfaces also. These systems can be installed to warm up a number of surfaces including decking and patio and offer gardens a new aesthetic dimension not often seen.

These are just some of the ways that you can stay warm on your patio this winter! For more home and garden tips, be sure to keep an eye out on PrimaPorcelain's blog as well as our socials where we post regular updates. 

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So, you've got your new design plans sorted and bought all of the materials that you need for your new floor, all that's left is to lay your slabs. Of course, the easiest option to choose is to hire an installer to lay them for you, but if you're running on a tighter budget and want to install them yourself, there may be some questions you're asking yourself. How long does it take? What do you lay patio slabs on? Well, here's what you're going to need to do! 

How to Lay Slabs

First things first, you're going to want to make sure that you have all the tools and materials sorted. Here's a list to double-check you have everything in place.

Tools

  • Trowel 
  • Rake
  • Wheelbarrow 
  • Rubber mallet
  • Shovel 
  • Tape measure 
  • String line and pegs (optional)
  • Cement mixer (optional) 

Materials 

  • Paving slabs 
  • Sand (sharp) 
  • Cement 
  • Sub-base aggregate 

 

Step-by-Step Guide to Laying Slabs 

Prepping the area

Before you can even think about laying your new paving slabs, you will first need to prepare your patio area. Here, you will need to dig a depth of around 150mm across the whole area where your patio will be, ensuring the soil is evenly compacted. Once this has been done, you can begin to tip the sub-base in, raking it into a consistent depth of 100mm. You need to make sure that it is smooth, flat and firm. 

Getting the concrete ready 

Next, you'll need to create a concrete mix of three parts sand and one part cement, adding water to create a dough-like consistency. To do this, you can either use a cement mixer or a target bucket. Once done, to check that the mix is thick enough, pick some up and mould into a ball. When you let go, it should keep its shape without water oozing out of it or falling apart. Ensure you have mixed enough concrete to make an even 40mm layer in the patio bed. 

Laying the patio slabs

Before you can begin to lay your slabs, it's important to dampen them so they don't dry out your concrete too quickly. Once this is done, you can lay your first slab. Slowly lower your slab in position into the concrete mix and gently tap it with a rubber mallet in order to fix it into place. In ideal terms, you'll want your slabs to sit around 15mm into the mortar. Repeat this process with the remaining slabs, leaving a 10-15mm gap between each one until your patio bed is covered. After all of your slabs are laid, spray the entire areas with water until it's completely saturated and leave it to set for a minimum of 24 hours. 

Finishing touches 

The last part of laying your slabs involves applying the finishing touches. Here, use a trowel to fill the gaps between your slabs with a suitable grout, ensuring that no residue is left on the patio's surface. Clean away any other mess that may be laying on top of your slabs and leave to set.

 

Dry-Installing Your Paving Slabs 

The above method is what is traditionally used by the majority of patio installers. However, thanks to PrimaPorcelain's revolutionary pedestal support system, you are able to make the installation process even easier, with no mess whatsoever! Eliminate the need for traditional adhesives and mortar such as cement and lay your slabs onto our state-of-the-art pedestals.

Here, your slabs can be laid immediately, with absolutely no drying-out time needed! You can even run any necessary cables and wires underneath if you have any special features in your garden - perfect! One of the great things about our pedestal supports is that if you ever feel like moving your slabs, all you need to do is simply lift them up and relocate without having to dig them up. You can find out more about our pedestal support system below. 

Pedestal Support System >

 

For more information on how to lay slabs or what you should lay your patio slabs on, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the PrimaPorcelain team today by calling 02920 803756 or emailing us at info@primaporcelain.co.uk

Here at PrimaPorcelain, we're pretty confident that by now you would all have a fairly strong understanding about porcelain and how we believe it is a superior flooring option to its natural stone counterparts. But do you know how porcelain paving is made to make it a better choice? If not, we are here to tell you! 

How is Porcelain Paving Made

 

The Manufacturing Process

Porcelain is manufactured using a mixture of sands, clays and other important minerals such as feldspar, which are then baked in a high-temperature kiln. Before the unbaked mixture is sent to the kiln, there is a lot of preparation that is required, followed by a fair bit of post-firing work to ensure the product that is sent out to trade is of a high enough quality and standard. Below we will look at each of these important stages to how porcelain paving is made.

The ingredients 

To create the base mixture for porcelain, four ingredients (plus water) are commonly used. These are:

  • Feldspar - A granitic mineral from a variety of sources 
  • High-quality fine clays sourced from Italy, Germany and Turkey 
  • Kaolin - Also known as China Clay in Britain and Ireland, sourced from Ukraine 
  • Quartzitic sand - A very pure and fine sand sourced from Germany 

Preparation 

Very specific quantities of these materials are mixed together with clean, cold water into a slurry, which is then processed in a ball mill to decrease the materials into very fine particles. These particles are so fine the finished product seems like a slippery mud with no discernible grittiness. If you were to rub it between your fingers, it would feel like a fine lubricant, leaving a soft streak across your skin. 

Drying

In this muddy form, the mixture of materials is very easy to move around, however, the majority of the water content has to be removed before the mixture can be taken any further. This is performed via a screen drier which utilises hot air and gentle rotation to decrease the moisture levels to approximately 6%. The water that is recovered can then be re-used to create a new initial mixture to keep wastage levels to an absolute minimum. 

Storing the Mix 

Once the water is removed from the mixture of materials, the dry-ish powder is then kept in a silo until it is required. Different mixes are kept in different silos, with up to 80 silos being held in certain manufacturing plants. Each of these silos holds a slightly different mix, with more or less clay, or a higher proportion of kaolin, for example. 

Blending

The next step of the process sees the mixture stored in silos being blended within specialised 'blending towers'. Each tower takes precise quantities of particular mixes from a variety of silos and creates a blend specific to the product that is being manufactured. For example, darker-coloured porcelain might contain more content from silo 19 and less from silo 26, while lighter-colour porcelain might use more from silo 11 and less from silo 7. The secret to producing high-quality porcelain lies in blending the perfect quantities of various mixes to produce the ideal 'biscuit' ready to be baked.  

Pressing 

The blended powder coming from the towers is then pressed into moulds. Some of these moulds will be smooth with zero surface relief, others will have specific textures or profiled surfaces. Some will be produced in a square-shape, others rectangle. Some will be small, some will be large. The blended powder is subjected to huge amounts of pressure, compacting it into the specific mould, so much so that it turns into a fairly hard material, similar to a biscuit before it is fired in the kiln.

Drying

After pressing, the moisture content of the 'biscuit' is reduced even further from the previous 6% to just 1-1.5% by passing it through another drier, again recovering the water to re-use. The material which emerges from this process is very noticeably harder, tougher, crisper and requires a tough more effort to snap into two pieces.

Finishing Touches 

After the material is dried, it is then coloured or printed on and placed in the kiln to be fired. Here this material is carried into the fierce heat of the kiln for around 100 meters, with temperatures reaching as high as 1,200 degrees celsius before going through an equally finely-controlled cooling stage. This cooling stage is just as important as the heating in producing a quality porcelain paver. Once this is over, the tile is then sized to the correct measurements and given additional treatments such as sealants, wax or protective coating before being checked over once more and packed up to be delivered to trade. 

This completes the process of how porcelain paving is made. A very delicate process which requires particular attention and detail at each stage. The finished product is a flooring material that offers extremely low-maintenance properties, high resistance to all fading, scratches and stains and overall premium-quality finishes. A material that is long-lasting and gorgeous to look at! You can browse our full collection of porcelain products by clicking below. Order your FREE sample to get a close-up look and see the quality for yourself. 

Browse Porcelain Paving >

 

For more information on our range of porcelain products, be sure to get in touch with a member of the PrimaPorcelain team today!

There’s no doubt that nearly every home in the UK has some sort of tiles installed either on the inside or outside of the property. Whether it’s in the kitchen, bathroom, or garden, the majority of homes use tiles as an effective, fashionable way to style a floor.

Whilst it’s understandable that homeowners choose tiles based solely around aesthetic reasons, it’s important to realise that most floor tiles are assigned a slip rating, known as an ‘R’ value, in accordance to the environment in which they should be installed. Tiles which aren’t assigned slip ratings are graded to a specific minimum standard regardless. R values span a scale from R9 (minimum standard) through to R13 (greatest slip resistance), which can be understood further in our handy graphic below.

Tile Slip Ratings Explained

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