I am trying to decide what material to use for paving patio in the UK house back garden. I went into shop and tried to get information. I realized that porcelain is artificial. The patterns on it that make it look like marble or some other thing, are printed on it. This made me wonder, how deep are these patterns? Won't some foot traffic and scrubbing with mops cause the patterns on the porcelain paving to fade away in few years?

  • Maybe the British sense of "porcelain" is different than the American sense, but I'd think that porcelain as a patio surface would end up being very slippery in the rain.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 25, 2023 at 13:00
  • There are many types and textures. Porcelain is much more suited to outdoor use, especially in freezing climates, than ceramic.
    – isherwood
    Aug 25, 2023 at 13:02
  • I am getting conflicting information, the seller says that porcelain is not slippery but the fitter who has (his own) supplier of Indian sandstone says not to use porcelain since it will be slippery and use Indian sandstone instead. There is conflict of interest here of course in both of these cases. I went to shop and found that there are throngs of textures on porcelain, I went to 3 shops. Two of them kept basically no natural stones and said that Porcelain is getting popular so we don't stock natural stones for show anymore but do have them on the website.
    – quantum231
    Aug 25, 2023 at 21:31

2 Answers 2


You're potentially describing two different products. True porcelain is a single material all the way through, like colored glass and not unlike commercial vinyl tile--wear simply reveals more of the same material.

Then there's glazed porcelain. That has a decorative and/or protective layer on top which, if damaged or worn, shows other color or texture below.

Know which you're considering and you'll know how it'll wear. You may be able to tell just by looking at the edges.

  • I did not know there are types of porcelain too. If I goto shop that has less porcelain stock they tell me porcelain is no good. If I goto shop that has a lot of porcelain they tell me porcelain is good and comes in many surface textures. If I speak with the fitters, they prefer to use some stone that they have a supplier for (possibly getting commision?). I am really not sure what to do. The Topps Tiles (UK) said it should be good for more than 10 years, I don't remember he if said 20 years or 25 years but he definitely said something more than 10. Said the pattern will stay for many years.
    – quantum231
    Aug 25, 2023 at 21:35

If done properly, no. The patterns should be embedded in/under the surface glaze, or be made in that glaze directly.

Go look at the tilework in the London underground for some hard-used 100+ year old (in some stations) tiles.

Not to say that there can't be poorly made porcelain tiles (a paver being a rather large tile, if it's porcelain), but well made ones will be around to get dug up by archeologists.

  • The primary thing is there is so much variety that choice becomes impossible. A fitter recommended indian sandstone. But Indian sandstone has this "old" look at not a refined surface. Do we need to use sealant for all natural stones and not for Porcelain?
    – quantum231
    Aug 25, 2023 at 10:42
  • What do you mean by glaze?
    – quantum231
    Aug 25, 2023 at 21:35
  • Glaze is a layer of glass-like material fused to the surface of the porcelain in the kiln. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceramic_glaze Or, your porcelain may be unglazed.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 25, 2023 at 21:54
  • What I am trying to find is, is porcelain too slipper for outdoor use (rains a lot in the UK) and if it has a special appearance, will that fade overtime in few years, and do porcelain slabs break or chip easily?
    – quantum231
    Aug 26, 2023 at 10:44
  • Went to "Quorn Stone" showroom recently. Really nice shop. Also went to Bishop Tiles. Really nice shop. Both are in Bristol and a long drive from where I live but the visit was worth it. They have better looking stock than Jewson, CTD tiles, Topps tiles, Tile giant that I visited earlier.
    – quantum231
    Aug 27, 2023 at 12:15

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