Broken plan gardens are trending this summer, which encourages the idea of a multifunctional outdoor space.

Why not follow this latest trend and break up your garden space by building a patio area?

Great for entertaining, relaxing and eating, patios add some character to your yard. This week, we’ve partnered up with Pavestone to create a step-by-step guide to laying your own porcelain paving!


What is porcelain paving, you ask?

Porcelain paving is the latest in advanced paving solutions that combines Italian styling with robust, durable, vitrified technology. Not only does it look great but porcelain is algae resistant, frost resistant and is the easiest paving to keep clean. And it will look good-as-new for longer!

It looks like natural stone paving, however it does have different properties. It has a lower water absorbancy which means the paving must be primed prior to laying, so take extra care to follow these steps!

Safety Gear You'll Need

  • Protective Footwear

  • Gloves

  • Ear & Eye Protection

  • Facemask (FFP3)

Tools You'll Need

  • String Line & Pegs

  • Spirit Level

  • Tape Measure

  • Rake

  • Shovel

  • Wheelbarrow

  • Trowel

  • Wide Paint Brush

  • Drill and Mixing Paddle

  • Rubber Mallet

  • Broom & Brush

  • Bucket/s & Sponge

  • Joint Spacers

  • Grouting Tool

Materials You'll Need

  • MOT Type 1 Stone or General Sub-Base (GSB)

  • Sharp Sand (Concreting Sand)

  • Cement Plasticiser (optional)

  • Slurry Primer

  • Pavestone Porcelain Protector

  • Flexible grout

First, using string lines and pegs, mark out the area you are going to dig out for the patio. Roughly lay your paving slabs, so that you can visualise how the patio to look. This will also highlight any potential issues. Allow for a 150mm-200mm margin for kerbing or haunching if the patio is not connecting to a solid construction, such as a wall or building.

In terms of depth, 160mm below the intended patio height will need to be dug, allowing for 100mm of compacted Type 1 MOT or GSB material, 40mm bed of bedding mortar, and the porcelain paving, which tends to be between 16 and 20mm.

According to Building Regulations, to protect your house from damp, it must be 150mm below any damp proof course (DPC). As well as this, there will need to be a fall in the surface to enable water drainage. The fall needs to be 1:60, so for every 60cm of paving, the fall needs to be 1cm.

Create an even layer of Type 1 MOT or General Sub-Base aggregate by raking it out 30mm below the string line. Then, compress the aggregate to roughly 50mm below the string line using a vibrating plate compactor.

Add 5 parts Sharp Sand and 1 part Cement to a mixer with SBR additive, which will help the bonding process to create the bedding mortar. The consistency of the mortar should be firm.

Apply the bedding mortar to the sub-base with a shovel or trowel so that it sits about 15mm below the string line. In order to allow for the paving tile to further compress the mortar, roughen the surface of the bed. Only spread enough mortar for one slab at a time.

Porcelain paving doesn't absorb water to the same degree as stone or concrete paving does, which means that the porcelain tiles have to be primed before laying. This is to ensure that the paving forms a strong bond with the beddine mortar, so it's important to follow this step carefully.

Add water to Pavestone Priming Slurry to make a paste and apply to the unde4rside of the paving slab evenly using a wide brush. Then, place the tile onto the bedding mortar. Follow the next step before placing anymore tiles.

Using a rubber mallet, gently compress the primed paving onto the mortar. You will need to make sure that the paving is fully supported and doesn’t move as you lay it, and adjust as needed. You will also need to confirm that each tile sits at the same level as the other tiles, using a spirit level and the string line.

Once you are happy with the level and stability of the newly placed tile, insert a joint spacer in the gap between the tiles to ensure the gaps are evenly spaced. It is important not to butt joint the tiles as this can damage the edges. Any slurry primer that has appeared on the visible side of the paving will need to be wiped off promptly as it will stain the tiles once set.

Once the paving is completely dry, ensure that it is completely debris and dust free before applying the grout, wiping down with a damp sponge if necessary. You can also use Pavestone Porcelain Protector to protect the paving from stains; just apply along the joints before applying the grout. It’s important that you check there’s no water in the joints as this will affect the colour of the grout when it dries.

Mix half the packet of grout at a time and make sure the texture is thick, smooth and creamy before applying. To apply the grout, you can use a squeegee or a grout applicator gun. To fill in the joints with an applicator gun, squeeze the grout out in a straight line along the joint, ensuring that the grout fills right to the bottom. Using a rubber float, wipe over the applied grout to compress it. Wipe any excess grout off the paving with a tiling sponge.

Job done! And the great thing about Porcelain paving is that it doesn't need sealing.

With a quick occasional clean with warm soapy water your new multifunctional outdoor space will look as beauiful as when it was first laid, for many a year.


If you haven’t before laid paving, best to research the process carefully. This is only a basic guide to laying Porcelain. For a more comprehensive guide, and for loads of useful hints and tips, watch the full process from start to finish on the Pavestone website!

At Sydenhams, we have everything you need to help lay your own Pavestone Porcelain Paving. From Tool & Plant Hire to our branches, we can help give your Garden a well-deserved revamp – get in touch!

The above article was published on 14th of July 2021, and is subject to change and further guidance.