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How to Lay Porcelain Paving Slabs

Updated December 28, 2023
Neatly laid porcelain paving slabs in varying shades of grey, showcasing a modern outdoor flooring design.

Porcelain paving slabs have become increasingly popular in the UK for their durability, low maintenance, and sleek appearance. Ideal for gardens, patios, and outdoor spaces, these slabs are a great choice for a modern and stylish finish. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps of laying porcelain paving slabs effectively.

What You'll Need

Tools and Materials

  • Porcelain paving slabs
  • Paving bed (mixture of sand and cement)
  • Rubber mallet
  • Spirit level
  • Trowel
  • Grout
  • Safety gloves and goggles

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Preparing the Base

A. Measuring the Area

Measure the area where you plan to lay the slabs. Ensure you purchase enough slabs, including extras for cuts and breakages.

B. Creating a Solid Foundation

Remove any existing paving or debris. Level the ground and compact it. Lay a sub-base of about 100mm depth, which could be crushed stone. Compact this layer too.

Step 2: Mixing and Applying the Bed

A. Preparing the Bed

Mix a mortar bed of sand and cement (ratio of 4:1) with water. The consistency should be like wet sand.

B. Applying the Mortar Bed

Spread the mortar mix over a small section of the base. It should be about 30-40mm thick.

Step 3: Laying the Slabs

A. Placing the Slabs

Gently place a slab on the mortar bed. Use a rubber mallet to tap it into place, ensuring it is level.

B. Spacing and Alignment

Maintain consistent spacing between slabs for uniformity. Use spacers if necessary.

Step 4: Cutting and Fitting

A. Measuring and Marking

For areas that require cut slabs, measure and mark the slab accurately.

B. Cutting the Slabs

Use a diamond blade cutter for a clean cut. Always wear safety goggles and gloves.

Step 5: Grouting and Finishing

A. Applying Grout

Once all the slabs are laid and the mortar has set, fill the gaps with grout.

B. Cleaning and Sealing

Clean any excess grout. You may seal the slabs for extra protection, although it's not essential with porcelain.


Laying porcelain paving slabs can be a rewarding DIY project. With the right tools, materials, and a bit of patience, you can transform your outdoor space into a beautiful one.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

No, it's not recommended to lay porcelain slabs directly on soil. They require a stable, well-prepared base, usually a mix of sand and cement, to ensure durability and prevent movement.

Porcelain paving slabs can be cut using a wet saw or an angle grinder with a diamond blade. Ensure you measure and mark the slab accurately before cutting. Always wear safety gloves and goggles to protect yourself.

Typically, porcelain slabs for outdoor use should be at least 20mm thick to ensure strength and durability underfoot.

High-quality porcelain slabs are designed to be slip-resistant, even when wet. However, the slip resistance can vary between different types of porcelain slabs, so it's best to check the specific product specifications.

Porcelain paving is low maintenance. Regular cleaning with water and a mild detergent is usually sufficient. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the surface.

Yes, you can lay porcelain slabs over an existing concrete patio, provided the concrete is stable and level. It's important to ensure proper adhesion between the concrete and the slabs, often using a bonding primer.

Porcelain paving typically doesn't require sealing due to its low porosity and stain resistance. However, sealing may be beneficial in some cases for added protection.

Use a spirit level to check the level of each slab as you lay them. Make adjustments by tapping the slabs with a rubber mallet or adding or removing some of the mortar bed.

It's advisable to wait at least 24-48 hours before walking on the newly laid slabs to allow the mortar to set properly.

It's best to avoid laying porcelain paving in extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain or extreme heat, as these can affect the setting of the mortar and the ease of working with the materials.


Richard Renderman, your trusted rendering expert at MidRender, is passionate about the art of rendering. With years of experience,he crafts…

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