Your Guide to Porcelain Paving – is it Slippery?Darwyn Rabey
When you think of porcelain – what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it that it may be slippery? Hard to maintain in certain conditions? Not weatherproof?
A very common misconception of Porcelain and one of our commonly asked questions is – is it slippery? Absolutely not! Porcelain can be produced with many different finishes and textures, allowing it to remain a high quality looking paving material and it can be used safely as outdoor paving. Here, we will explain some of its properties as well as its advantages to ensure porcelain is the best material for your new patio!
- What does R11 Slip Rating mean?
When talking about the slip resistance of porcelain paving, there is a standardised rating system in place which grades the anti-slip rating of outdoor paving. This is called the R rating. The ‘R’ which stands for ‘ramp’, meaning a sloping ground or floor surface, is a way to grade paving to define just how much resistance it provides against slipping. The rating scale goes from R9-R13, however, for outdoor porcelain paving, R11 is the optimum rating required. All of Caledonian Stone’s porcelain paving is graded with an R11 slip rating meaning you do not have to worry about this material being unsafe for your outdoor patio.
How is it tested?
The R rating is achieved simply by positioning whatever material that it is to be tested, at an angle anywhere from between 19-26 degrees. Oil is then applied to the surface and various slip resistance tests are conducted resulting in an optimum slip rating being determined for said material. Various tests that have been carried out on outdoor porcelain paving have concluded that R11 is the optimum rating and this means that anything less on the scale would not be slip resistant and generally unsuitable for outdoor paving use.
Inside vs. Outside Porcelain
For interior domestic use in a kitchen or bathroom that would cover a much smaller area than an outdoor patio, which is exposed to everyday wear and tear but isn’t subject to rain, an R9-10 rating is the minimum recognised standard. This also means the finish is slightly smoother to allow for easier cleaning. An outside weatherproof and slip resistance porcelain tile would be sufficient at a level 11 whilst also being cost efficient and manageable in terms of a large area being covered for a patio.
- Does smooth tile mean slippery? How does texture affect slip rating?
When you think of a smooth, delicately finished tile – you would typically think of it being slippery. However, porcelain paving for outdoor use is finished in such a way that it has specific textures and finishes to prevent slipping. The paving looks smooth and sleek to the eye but upon further inspection, it has a slightly textured finish which is how it achieves its optimum R11 slip rating.
Simply put, because the tile is available in an array of different textured finishes this means the tile is slip resistant and suitable for outdoor patio use. The tile is finished in such way that allows grip and durability for everyday use.
Different uses of porcelain paving require a different finish and ultimately a different rating on the anti-slip resistance scale. For instance, a bathroom or kitchen indoors which is subject to everyday wear & tear as well as frequent water exposure – is sufficient at a level 9 or 10 on the R rating scale and a more smooth finish. Outdoor patios which receive more extreme weather exposure are rated as sufficient at a level 11 and have a rougher more textured finish. Environments such as a factory or warehouse which deals with food products would need a level 12 or 13 on the R rating scale to remain safe and anti-slip.
- Why use Porcelain Paving for your outdoor patio?
A common misconception of porcelain as a tile product or material is that it is used for bathrooms or overall interior use. This myth can be debunked by popularity of our product and its frequent high demand as an outdoor paving option. The material is long lasting and durable compared to your typical stone paving. Whilst being easily installed and produced, porcelain paving can last for years and be easily maintained without frequent finishing and upkeep.
- How does Porcelain Paving perform in ice?
We can all agree that the weather in the UK is a bit unreliable and we cannot always foresee rain, snow or even ice. Therefore having a patio material which can withstand all of these weather conditions is something necessary when considering a paving material. Very cold climates where frequent ice is likely, will have an effect on the slip resistance of porcelain paving, just like any other outdoor patio material exposed to such conditions. However, with porcelain paving, you can safely use salt & de-icing products without damaging the paving, unlike natural stone. Not having to be refinished regularly in between seasons is beneficial here as when we have any unforeseen horrible weather, your patio will be safe and secured from damage.
Porcelain paving also absorbs much less water than standard stone paving meaning that water is quickly evaporated from its surface, leaving your patio dry and slip resistant. For use in the British climate, this is a very important property.
Caledonian Stone offers a vast array of different finishes when it comes to porcelain paving from a light and natural stone in Boston Beige to our dark and sophisticated Waverly range. Check out our full range of products and find more information by getting in touch with our experts to discuss your new patio!