Your Complete Guide to Porcelain Tiles

Before you install porcelain tiles, find answers to some of your most common questions in our complete guide to porcelain tiles. When you’re ready, browse our extensive collection of porcelain or contact us for a free consultation.

What is Porcelain?

Porcelain is made of ceramic and kaolin that’s heated to a very high temperature — typically 1,200°C. By heating porcelain at such a high temperature, it’s naturally a very strong and durable material.

What are the Benefits of Porcelain Tiles versus Ceramic Tiles?

Many people consider porcelain and ceramic as interchangeable as both materials are made using a similar process and have a similar appearance. However, there are some important differences and benefits of using porcelain tiles instead of ceramic tiles.

Benefits of Porcelain Floor Tiles Over Ceramic

  • Water Resistance. Porcelain tiles are more water-resistant than ceramic tiles as they’re denser and less porous.
  • Stain Resistant. Similarly, since porcelain is very dense, it’s also highly stain resistant as liquids can’t seep in and set. Instead, you can simply wipe up spills without worrying about stains.
  • Durability. Porcelain tiles are less likely to crack, scratch or chip than ceramic tiles. Their durability also means they can withstand heavy use and have a longer lifespan. Some argue porcelain is one of the most durable flooring products.
  • Low Maintenance. Given their durability, density and water-resistance, porcelain tiles require little upkeep or maintenance. A simple clean is enough to maintain its appearance.

Any Disadvantages to Using Porcelain?

Porcelain certainly provides many benefits, making it a popular choice. Although porcelain edging is typically thinner than natural stone, we supply 20mm porcelain to provide an even longer-lasting stone option.

What is the Most Popular Stone for Around a Swimming Pool?

Pool surrounds tend to feature natural stones with matching paving or 20mm grip porcelain. However, wood porcelain tile is also becoming very popular.

What is Best for Around a Pool, Natural Stone or Porcelain?

Natural stone is beautiful and provides aesthetically pleasing variation in colour and texture. Natural stones are also thicker than porcelain, which allows us to form thick bullnose or pencil edge pool copings for a luxurious look.

On the other hand, porcelain pool surrounds are very sleek and modern. Porcelain also provides a more consistent colour and texture. With porcelain tiles, pool copings can be bullnose, pencil edge top and bottom, or ½ bullnose. If the pool does not have radius corners, we can also create a bonded overlip coping, which gives the illusion of thicker coping.

What are the Advantages of Using Natural Stone around a Pool?

Natural stone pool copings are quite thick and can also be cut and shaped to meet specific requests. We think natural stones look absolutely stunning as pool surrounds.

What are the Disadvantages of Using Natural Stone around a Pool?

Natural stone doesn’t stand up well to the salt chlorination some people use in their pools. Salt chlorination causes the pool water to be quite aggressive to the stone. With natural stones, it’s important to achieve the right levels of Ph and water chemistry to avoid damage.

Where Can You Use Porcelain Tiles?

Porcelain tiles are a fantastic option for outdoor as well as indoor use.

As porcelain is highly liquid-resistant, it’s an excellent material for wetter areas including around a pool, inside bathrooms or basements, and a wide range of landscaping projects including decking.

You can even use thinner, 10mm porcelain tiles for internal floor and walls or pool tanks. Both our 10 and 20mm thick tiles have a grip and slip-resistant finish, ideal for indoor and outdoor projects.

Plus, with waterjet and profiling machinery, porcelain tiles can be cut and shaped to meet almost any requirement.

Can You Use Porcelain Around a Swimming Pool?

Yes, grip porcelain tiles are a very popular choice for both indoor and outdoor pool surrounds. Its R11 slip rating makes it suitable for both residential and commercial pool surrounds or terraces.

At Cranbourne Stone, we can cut porcelain tiles to meet specific requirements with our porcelain edge profiling machinery.

Can Porcelain Tiles Go Inside the Pool?

Porcelain 10mm tiles work perfectly inside a pool tank, for use on pool walls and pool flooring. We’d recommend using a 600 x 300 tile with a honed finish for the pool tank. Also, try to avoid huge tiles, as pool walls that are not entirely flat may result in air pockets. 600 x 300 x 10mm tiles are ideal for creating a modern look.

What’s the Advantage of Using Porcelain Around a Pool?

Porcelain has a consistent colour and texture, which creates a polished look. It also doesn’t need sealing, so it is easy to keep clean.

Is Porcelain Paving Consistent in Colour Tone?

Porcelain has consistent colouring and each batch has approximately twelve different prints to make it look more natural. Batches can have some variations, so we recommend ordering an ample amount for your project.

Are Porcelain Tiles Slippery When Wet?

Porcelain tiles are fantastic for wet areas as many porcelain tiles have a grip or slip-resistant finishes. With this added texture, porcelain tiles are safe for wet areas.

Porcelain with an R11 slip rating is perfectly safe for wet areas, which means it can be used for pool copings or pool edging.

How to Clean Porcelain Tile Floors

As porcelain floors are anti-absorbent and water-resistant, they’re relatively easy to clean.

Step 1: Sweep with a microfibre mop and vacuum to remove any dirt and debris.
Step 2: Mop with warm water to get rid of any tougher grime.
Step 3: Repeat as necessary.

Can Porcelain be Bullnose?

Yes, we can make bullnose porcelain tiles. Porcelain tiles can also include pencil, round edge tops and bottom or ½ bullnose if required.

Can Porcelain be Cut to Shape Around a Swimming Pool?

Our stone templating service and waterjet machinery make it easy to measure and cut pool copings for standard as well as freeform or irregular shaped pools.

How Do You Install Porcelain Paving?

When it comes to installing porcelain paving, we recommend following several laying guidelines to ensure you achieve the highest quality installation in terms of both safety and appearance.

1. Prepare External Areas:

  • Decide where the paving is to be laid and mark or peg out clearly.
  • Dig out a little wider than the planned project width, allowing an extra 50mm-75mm at the edges to make handling easier.

Top tips:

  • Any paving surfaces should be at least 150mm below any damp proof course and should have a 1:60 fall away from the building for surface drainage.
  • Remove all weeds and other unwanted organic matter.

2. Prepare the Sub-Base:

  • The depth of the dig and the necessity for a sub-base will depend on the intended use and ground conditions.
  • If a sub-base is required the depth should be approximately 170mm minimum. This will allow for:
    • 100mm compacted hardcore or crushed stone (take extra care to ensure any soft spots are identified, dugout and filled);
    • 50mm bedding mortar; and
    • 20mm tiles.

3. Bedding (For 20mm porcelain):

  • Carefully place the tiles onto a levelled out bed of standard sand/ cement, mortar prepared to a wet consistency (slump of 50mm or more)

Top tips:

  • The mortar bed needs to be a 6:1 or stronger mix of grit sand with ordinary Portland cement (OPC)
  • We would recommend 30-50mm of the bedding mortar to be laid over the prepared sub-base and then spread an SBR bonding agent to the underside of the porcelain tile to aid adhesion

4. Laying (For 20mm porcelain):

  • Where possible, start laying full slabs adjacent to a fixed point such as building or edging. Set the required level using a taut line.
  • Tap each slab down to the appropriate level using a rubber mallet and also use a spirit level to double-check levels in relation to the adjacent slabs.

When laying 10mm porcelain, we use an adhesive to secure the tiles effectively.

Top tips:

  • When tapping each slab down, be careful to maintain 4-5mm joints between the slabs.
  • We would recommend using an external grade tiling grout in-between the joints.
  • Ensure the grout residue is washed off completely (refer to grout manufacturer’s recommendations for correct installation procedures).

Where Can I Have Pool Copings Made from My Porcelain Tiles?

Here at Cranbourne Stone, we can fabricate your porcelain for you using our waterjet and porcelain edge polishing machinery.

How Do You Measure an Irregular Shaped Swimming Pool?

Our onsite digital template service takes a reading of the exact pool shape. We can then use this reading to draw the pool using computer-aided design (CAD) and cut the segments of the pool. We also use this plan to understand how many natural stones or porcelain tiles to order.

What Coping Can I Put on a One Piece Pool?

With a one-piece pool, an overlip coping works well. We typically recommend a solid one-piece stone for fibreglass pools as these pools can flex. It’s also easier to mill out the stone on bigger, radius corners.

My Pool has Really Big Round Corners, How Do I Get a Pool Coping to Fit?

We offer a templating service to help you get the perfect shape. We can also determine the right size via photos, eliminating the need for an onsite visit and saving your time while ensuring an accurate fit. Our years of experience with swimming pools make it possible for us to determine the right corners by examining photographs.

Can the Corners Have Rounded Edges on the Back Edge of the Coping Stone?

Since all pool copings are made in our factory, we can customise to fit unique and individual needs.

How Do I Measure a Roman End Step Unit on My Swimming Pool?

When measuring Roman End steps, you want to take the inside wall measurement from left to right at the bottom of the step as this is the widest point of the step unit. You then want to measure from the edge of the lowest step to the centre of the semi-circle (internal wall).

These measurements allow us to draw the Roman End and create the perfect copings for your pool.

Order Porcelain Tiles Today

Browse our extensive collection of porcelain tiles or contact us for a free consultation.