Porcelain paving is non-porous and more durable than ceramic paving, which is more porous and stain- and weather-prone.
True porcelain pavers are made from a blend of refined white clay, feldspar, and fine silica sand. This mixture is fired at an extremely high temperature of over 1200°C to produce porcelain’s dense, non-porous structure. The high heat causes the materials to fuse, making porcelain very hard and impervious to moisture.
These unique properties give porcelain paving exceptional strengths:
- Extremely low water absorption rate—less than 0.5%
- High density and hardness for durability
- Stain, scratch and fade-resistant
- Can withstand heavy impacts
- Handles freeze-thaw cycles in harsh climates
Porcelain extreme density also makes it heavier and trickier to cut than ceramic. But its unparalleled longevity and minimal maintenance requirements make it a premium paver choice.
How Does Ceramic Paving Compare?
Ceramic pavers are made from red or brown natural clays without feldspar content. They are fired at lower temperatures of 1000-1100°C. This makes ceramic less dense and more porous than porcelain, with a higher water absorption rate exceeding 0.5%.
Ceramic pavers are still very durable for paving purposes. But their more porous structure means they are marginally softer, easier to cut, more prone to etching and staining, and potentially susceptible to damage from hard freezes. Ceramic pavers require yearly sealing to prevent water absorption issues over time.
Porcelain vs Sandstone Paving
Porcelain also compares favourably to sandstone paving in terms of longevity and durability. Sandstone is a natural sedimentary rock that is prone to chipping, cracking, and weathering effects over time. Porcelain’s non-porous structure makes it far more resistant to water absorption and environmental damage than sandstone.
- Porcelain is non-porous and virtually impervious to water and stains. Ceramic is more porous requiring yearly sealing.
- Porcelain is fired hotter making it incredibly hard and dense. Ceramic is slightly softer with lower density.
- Porcelain offers unrivaled longevity with almost zero maintenance. Ceramic remains durable but needs sealing.
- Porcelain withstands heavy impacts; ceramic may chip more easily. Both handle vehicle traffic.
While ceramic pavers cost less upfront, porcelain’s extreme durability and lack of maintenance may justify its higher price for important projects. For most applications, either material will provide an elegant and solid paving solution if properly installed.
Can you tell the difference between porcelain and ceramic paving?
Yes, porcelain and ceramic paving have some visible differences. Porcelain often has a more consistent colour and uniform texture since it is made from refined white clays. Ceramic paving exhibits more natural variation in colour and texture since it uses more-common red and brown clays. Ceramics also develops a weathered patina over time unlike porcelain.