Some advice about the Use of Porcelain Paving in Landscape Design


Is Porcelain Paving going to be a short lived fad in landscaping history?

Are you thinking of installing a Porcelain Paved Patio? Are you tempted to rip out that mouldy old deck installed during the days of Alan Titchmarsh’s Ground Force? Porcelain paving is the latest material to become popular in the UK for garden Landscaping projects. The dizzying array of colours and finishes available can mimic all the previously popular landscaping materials.  Whether your taste is for stone, terracotta, concrete or wood effect, all can be sourced in the new Porcelain Paving format.

For many years we in the UK have shied away from Porcelain, due to misgivings about its suitability to withstand a British climate. Could Porcelain Paving withstand frost, snow and rain?

However, with technological developments in the manufacture of Porcelain Paving, we think it’s likely to be here to stay.

The beauty of the product can now be matched with endurance, due to recent improvements in the technology that can now create a strong and attractive paver. The product is non porous, colourfast and resilient. Porcelain Paving offers the customer a lightweight, low maintenance alternative to many materials, such as wood, stone, concrete, etc

Where does Porcelain Paving come from?

Italy was originally the market leader for quality and design.  Now, well designed, good quality product can be also be sourced from India and China where European influence and guidance have been sought to raise the quality of production in these countries. This has enabled the introduction of good quality product at a less expensive price. The cheaper, lower quality products are also coming in from India and China, so how do you choose a good one?

What is the right price for Porcelain Paving?

We advise you to do your research carefully before making the decision which company to buy your Porcelain paving from.

The original price set for good quality Porcelain Paving products in the UK was a fair one.  Unfortunately, this is now being eroded by poor sellers who have introduced poor quality product to the market. This in turn is affecting the reputation of this product overall, as retail customers may not be fully aware of the quality of a product they are being offered until it is too late.

‘You only get what you pay for’ is the old adage here!

If you invest in a quality Porcelain paver and have it installed by an expert landscaper, you will have nothing to worry about. 

If you cut corners on this product, it will not last!

Is it safe to lay Porcelain Paving outside in the UK?

If you select good quality Porcelain Paving slabs they will withstand UK weather conditions so long as they are laid correctly.

Good quality Porcelain paving slabs are manufactured at 20mm thick. This provides a slab that is strong enough to withstand British weather conditions, if laid correctly.

Buyer Beware of the invasion of cheaper porcelain paving products

New and popular products often suffer when the ‘vultures’ circle. Looking for more profit at less cost, corners are cut! The customer will suffer!

We advise that you don’t be tempted by the cheaper product that is due to flood the market during 2019.

Cheaper porcelain paving that is being introduced to the market this year has been manufactured at 15-16mm thick making production cost savings, that mean you can be offered the product at a lower price than previously available. 

What is the correct way to lay quality Porcelain Paving?

Once you’ve chosen your good quality Porcelain Paving, please ensure it is laid on a full mortar bed.

Read one of our previous blogs to find out the full method for laying a Porcelain Patio as there are a few particular points to follow to ensure success, and we have laid them out here:

 Advice if you succumb, and buy inferior product

If you succumb, and buy an inferior cheaper porcelain product you will need to make extra preparations before the product is laid. In order to give any endurance in our climate this cheaper porcelain will need to be laid differently to the above method used for the thicker quality Porcelain slab.

Thinner porcelain paving product will need to be laid on a concrete screed.  A concrete screed needs expansion joints in the concrete. To deal with the expansion and contraction in the screed there is a potential need for the use of an uncoupling membrane such as Ditramat, otherwise cracks will appear in the base, and eventually in the paved porcelain surface.

Money saved by buying cheaper, thinner porcelain paving, will need to be spent in more expensive and complicated base preparation. 

Therefore buying cheaper Porcelain Paving is a false economy.

Using Porcelain Paving for Step Treads and Pool Copings

You will also see a big difference in the quality of cheaper porcelain slabs if they are used to create step treads and pool copings.

We strongly recommend using a good quality porcelain paver whenever a vertical cut will be visible, such as on step treads and pool copings. The better quality porcelain paver will offer consistency of colour throughout the depth of the paver, which will be seen whenever there is a need to cut and finish the exposed side edge of a paver.

Cheaper products on the market can have a ‘toothpaste effect’ when the tile is cut. The vertical cut will expose striped layers of varying colours caused by inferior porcelain used in the manufacture. This effect will spoil any landscaping feature where they are used.

The Future is here

As a stone merchant our initial scepticism in offering Porcelain Paving and Flooring to our customers has been replaced with respect for the industry. The technology has advanced so quickly and successfully in Porcelain production that at Stoneworld we have researched and are now confident that the product we are offering is an excellent alternative to stone where that is desired.

Rest assured that we will only be interested in selling the best quality porcelain paving product we can find to offer our customers

View our Porcelain Paving Range Here>>

We believe that this trend is here to stay, at least until the next generation of landscaping material is developed!

Maybe that will be recycled plastic paving?? Please call us to discuss our Porcelain Paving & Flooring range on 01844 279274 today.

What’s the correct way to remove cement stains from Natural Stone?

What is the best way to clean cement stains from natural stone?

We are writing this blog to try and help you avoid what happened to a lady who contacted us recently.

Mrs B had unfortunately had her Kandla Grey Sandstone patio damaged by her contractors, who were woefully uninformed about the right way to install and care for natural stone.

In their attempt to remove spilled cement (2) they have caused rust staining (1) by using the wrong product for the job

Luckily, Stoneworld have been able to help her rectify the situation. We understand stone and how to care for it.  We urge all our customers to take our advice which we are more than happy to give about any aspect of stone care and maintenance.

Natural stone surfaces are versatile hardwearing and beautiful products to use, and investing in them will add ambience and value to your home.

Generally, they are very easy to care for but there are a few things that you need to think about when choosing cleaning products to use on them.

Please take note of this very important message:


Why is brick acid the wrong product to use on natural stone?

It is too harsh, extremely corrosive, and on certain stones will cause chemical reactions that will result in severe rust staining to the surface, spoiling the appearance of your stone patio or floor.

The high content of hydrochloric acid in brick acid is simply too harsh and corrosive to use on stones like sandstone, limestone, granite and slate.

Not only will it destroy the surface by eating into it, it will draw iron deposits from within the stone if they are present.  Some stones are more susceptible to iron staining than others, but in this example you can see that the use of brick acid on Kandla Grey Sandstone has created a really strong reaction bringing iron to the surface and leaving a strong yellow stain on the staone.

Back to our case study:

Mrs B now needed a product to remove the rust staining that has occurred after the wrongful use of brick acid.

Plus, she still needed an effective cement remover for the remaining cement spillage on her patio.

What is the right product to use on natural stone to remove rust stains?

To remove the rust stains we recommend Rob Parkers Best Rust Remover. This product will remove the orange brown deposits that come to the surface of some stones.

Besides this unfortunate incident where brick acid has drawn rust deposits from within the stone, rust can leach out from some stones naturally.

The use of certain lawn feeds and weed killers also contain ferrous sulphates which can cause rust leaching from natural stone too.  We recommend swilling away any spillages of feed/weed treatments promptly to avoid staining.

Read a previous blog where we have successfully treated some old paving of ours with Rob Parkers Rust Remover>> which has brought it back to as new condition

Buy Rob Parkers Best Rust Remover now>>

What is the right product to use on natural stone to remove cement spills?

For the removal of cement spillage on natural stone Stoneworld recommend the use of

 Rob Parkers Best ConClear. 

It has been formulated using a much gentler ingredient, glycolic acid.  Whilst our product is manmade, it mimics the glycolic acid that occurs in nature and can also be derived from cane sugar.  This substance has low corosivity, and is biodegradable, making it gentler on your stone and is kinder to the environment.

Rob Parkers Best Conclear is highly effective and environmentally kind.  It is ideal for use on natural stone surfaces, and will also work on many other substrates,

Buy Rob Parkers Conclear now>>

We are happy to report that our advice to Mrs B has restored her Kandla Grey Sandstone Patio to its former glory.

How to remove rust staining from Kandla Grey Paving

How to remove rust staining from Kandla Grey Paving

My Kandla Grey Patio has discoloured, can it be restored?

Kandla Grey sandstone paving is currently very popular due to its contemporary grey tones, which are a frequently chosen theme in all areas of home design presently.

After a period of time Kandla Grey paving can discolour, showing yellow to orange staining on the surface which is difficult to remove.  These stains are caused by iron deposits which occur naturally within the stone.  Over time these deposits are leached from within the stone and become present on the surface, potentially ruining the overall appearance of the stone landscaping area where they are present.

The process of leaching is helped by our (usually) damp climate, and although this process is a totally natural occurrence, it is undesirable to most people, who will have selected Kandla Grey for its pale grey colour.

What can be done about the discolouration of my Kandla Grey Patio?

Firstly, we advise you to reduce the problem by buying your Kandla Grey sandstone paving from a reputable stone merchant.  Here you will find that rather than select he cheapest material available from the quarries in India, care will have been taken to select a better quality stone. For instance, at Stoneworld we specify a particular seam in our favoured quarry in India for the selection of our Kandla Grey Sandstone Paving.  This ensures that we have a product that has less iron deposits embedded within it from the outset.  If you buy a cheaper product, it is possible that you will be purchasing material that we have rejected, and it will therefore have higher density of iron deposit embedded in it storing a problem for you later.  This will not be visible at the point of purchase, but the discolouration will occur at a faster rate than with a better quality sandstone purchase.

That said, discoloration may occur in any Kandla Grey sandstone to some degree.

There is a product that can be used to remedy this situation, and the results are impressive.

Rob Parker’s Best Rust Remover has been found by us to be highly effective at removing rust staining from Kandla Grey Paving.

Recently, at Stoneworld we gave our display area a deep clean.













Before Cleaning with Rob Parker’s Best Rust Remover


After Cleaning with Rob Parker’s Best Rust Remover

This area was laid 14 years ago, and you can see here the ‘before’ image of the Kandla Grey Paving is only showing slight discolouration even after more than a decade of our damp weather conditions. (summer 2018 excepted!) This is due to the extra care we take when selecting the paving we sell.

You may experience far worse discolouration, but Rob Parker’s Best Rust Remover is capable of achieving  a very effective job at restoring your patio whatever the degree of rust staining.

The ‘after’ image shows how effective the treatment can be.

We suggest you use it on your stained Kandla Grey Paving to bring it back to its former glory.

Buy Rob Parkers Best Rust Remover now >>

Droughtproof your garden – use gravel instead of grass.

Droughtproof your garden – use gravel instead of grass.

Gravel seating area

If this summer’s dry spell has ruined your lawn, what are you going to do going forward?

Save water and time-use gravel in the garden

We have the threat of regular hosepipe bans looming in the future, and the grass in your garden is destined to stay brown and parched for many weeks to come.  With the prospect of more summers in the future being this hot and dry, it may be time to reconsider the place of the traditional lawn in UK landscaping schemes.

At Stoneworld we urge you to consider gravel as a suitable alternative for larger landscaped areas.

A bulk delivery of gravel can be spread relatively quickly and will give your parched garden an instant new look.  Using strategically placed feature stones, planted pots or raised beds could be a revelation, immediately & dramatically reducing the maintenance requirements in the garden, with less time spent mowing and watering.  Plus future proofing it against a repeated summer like the one we have experienced  this year (2018).

How to incorporate gravel into your garden

In the UK the traditional green lawn has long been the emblem of the British garden. However, think Tuscan villa or French chateau, and you will recall that gravel gardening is a style of landscaping that is frequently used in hotter countries.

In the UK garden designer Beth Chatto championed the ‘dry garden’ many years ago for her particular conditions in the East of England.  She successfully incorporated beautiful draught resistant planting schemes through a vast gravel garden.

Now we all need to think how to manage these conditions in our gardens.  With edges softened using plants such as lavender or thyme, very striking, and usable outdoor spaces can be created.





Which gravel to choose

The many different colours and sizes of gravel available for this kind of landscaping will ensure you can create a unique garden for your home. The better stone merchants will have a wider choice available.

Crushed granite or basalt makes angular gravel that binds well when laid. It is available in several striking colours such as  red, black, green, which can add great contrast to your scheme.

Slate can create beautiful landscaping schemes with its flatter shards of stone, which lay flatter due to their shape.  Slate is also ideal for using as a mulch around plants to suppress weed growth. Slate is available in: green, plum and blue.

For a lighter scheme Cotswold chippings have a paler colour which makes a lovely mellow backdrop to planting schemes.

You could also create a dry river bed scheme using pebbles & cobbles of various sizes to mimic the natural gradation of a river bed, with interspersed planting to soften the look.


dry river bed idea





Depending on the intended use of the area, we can advise you on preparation work required before the gravel is laid.

Not only will a gravel garden refresh your garden this year, improving the appearance immediately, it will reduce maintenance requirements saving you time and money going forward.

Please read a previous blog for suggested gravels available and further advice on using gravel in the garden>>