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The use of porcelain tiles as a material for outdoor surfaces has been prevalent in countries with warmer climates for decades. Now, however, with more focus than ever on our wellbeing and the positive impact of time spent outdoors on both our physical and mental health, it’s no wonder we’re seeing rapid growth in the market for external use porcelain tiles in the UK.
There’s also a genuine desire to make more of our outside spaces with exciting new products and innovations in the wider outdoor accessory marketplace including awnings and pergolas, garden and patio furniture, exterior kitchens and weatherproof heating, lighting and audio-visual solutions.
As a leading tile importer and distributor, the Minoli Outdoor collection has also grown at pace. We’re in constant liaison with our production plants regarding the next new products specifically designed for exterior application and we’re seeing more and more demand from property developers, house builders, landscapers, garden designers, as well as residential homeowners.
As the variety of colours, sizes, textures and finishes increases, there’s never been a better time to consider quality, purpose-made outdoor porcelain tiles as the future-proofed alternative for exterior paving, patios, paths and driveways.
A focus on the home
Events of recent years have made many of us reassess our living environments as we’ve spent more leisure time and often working hours in the confines of where we reside. Despite the UK’s infamously unpredictable weather, this focus on the home has also extended to our outside spaces, no matter the size or shape, back garden or front, patio, terrace or balcony.
To spruce up our external areas, as residents we have invested in new furniture, parasols, gazebos, patio heaters and fire-pits, but it’s often the hard-standing surface that can make or break the overall effect. Housebuilders and developers have also responded to the increased demand for some outside space, with many new developments featuring at minimum a balcony or patio garden as an attractive selling point.
In short, whether you’re making home improvements or moving, investing in a dwelling to live in or rent, refurbishing an existing property or developing on land from scratch, creating an attractive and useable outside space has become a priority and not just a preference.
Desirable and durable
Even with care, cleaning and maintenance, over time stone pavers, wooden decking and textured concrete slabs can become stained, slippery and dull, but there is a new alternative to these more traditional materials.
The technical advantages and practicalities of porcelain stoneware extend ten-fold to some of these organic counterparts. Today’s porcelain tiles are more durable, colourfast, stain and slip resistant than ever. Porcelain is an extremely dense material and, with near zero porosity, the surface is almost impenetrable to water, dirt, oil and chemicals, and extremely resilient to frost damage and extremes of temperature.
Porcelain tiles don’t attract algae or moss and they are easy to clean with normal household products. What’s more, new manufacturing processes allow for 20mm+ thicknesses to be produced, resulting in tiles with a much greater load bearing that are ideal for external use.
Given this long list of product strengths, for outdoor applications, porcelain tiles present a very attractive and also financially sound solution.
Get the look
No matter the end vision and desired style, Minoli Outdoor tile collections include an array of finishes from minimalist concrete, organic stone, sawn wood and even marble effect. Available in such a broad range of sizes, colours and textures, outdoor tiles provide a unique solution to any exterior design project.
Once the preserve of luxury hotels and chic Mediterranean villas, as their popularity has increased, leading manufacturers have expanded their production to include large format / XL slabs, different surfaces and levels of slip resistance, plus specialist pieces such as drainage channels, edging, step treads and risers.
With such a diverse range of styles and suitable uses, it’s exciting to see both UK corporate clients and private customers embracing the clean, consistent and contemporary paving solution that porcelain presents.
The flexible and viable alternative
The inherent qualities of outdoor porcelain tiles make them a flexible alternative to so many commonly used materials including patio and garden path paving, wooden or composite decking, concrete, cement and resin slabs, natural stoneware, hardstanding driveways and blockwork, traditional quarry tiles and terrazzo, amongst others.
Within the Minoli Outdoor collection there are ranges to suit all manner of budgets from entry-level DIY projects through to professionally installed garden-redesigns and large-scale commercial developments.
No matter your level of investment, the end result will repay you with a beautiful and useable outside space for many years to come.
Seamless transitions from inside to outdoors
Many of the ranges in the Minoli Outdoor collection are available with indoor versions to match. Through bi-fold or traditional patio doors and picture windows, a near seamless indoor-outdoor transition can be achieved using a 9mm indoor tile that is internally slip resistant and easy to clean, coordinated with an external counterpart that has higher anti-slip rating, such as those ranging R11 to R13.
Where a more distinct step-change from inside to outdoors is preferred, there are numerous either complementary or contrasting options to choose from. We’ve seen some great results where a stone or concrete finish has been used indoors, with a similar toned wood effect tile used in place of traditional decking outdoors. Alternatively, where continuity of style or finish is desired, many of the ranges in the Minoli Outdoor collection are available in several different colours so you can retain a size and pattern while mixing the colour and texture, for instance.
It’s not just within residential contexts that outdoor porcelain tiles excel. Due to their durability, strength, resilience to wear, frost resistance and anti-slip qualities, as well as being low maintenance and easy to clean, they are a highly practical solution in commercial settings as well.
Developers, architects, builders and designers favour porcelain tiles for myriad business, civic and infrastructure uses too, including retail complexes, transport concourses, urban spaces, hotels, leisure centres and public amenities.
Depending on the installation technique used, outdoor porcelain tiles offer both long-lasting and flexible solutions to commercial flooring requirements. Traditional adhesive installation of a 20mm thickness tile offers high resistance to loads, making it suitable for heavy foot-traffic areas, outdoor driveways, and car standing. Installation onto a pedestal support system allows ease of access to utilities by simply lifting the tile slabs and provides a simple and effective solution to drainage across large surface areas, walkways, patios and terraces. Also, on grass or gravel surfaces, outdoor porcelain tiles can be easily embedded to create pathways and stepping-stones.
An ever-evolving range
The popularity of porcelain tiles, and specifically those for outdoor use, is only set to increase. Working closely with the leading production plants in Italy and across Europe, Minoli are often first to market with the latest new styles, colours and sizes, many of which are exclusive to the Minoli product portfolio.
Our most sought-after ranges in the Minoli Outdoor Collection include Boost and Flux with a contemporary concrete effect, Bravestone and Norway featuring more natural stone-like and granite finishes respectively, and Axis which has a resemblance to sawn timber decking.
Size-wise for outdoor, our clients are tending towards larger format products starting at 600 x 600mm, 600 x 1200mm and even 1200 x 1200mm tiles. In the ranges with a wood grain finish, the 225 x 900mm planks remain the most popular choices.
More so than ever from our corporate clients, residential customers and wholesale partners, we are seeing increased demand for ranges suitable for complementary indoor and outdoor application, as well as expansive, large format / XL tiles and slabs that create more seamless finishes and transitions between spaces.
Posted in Outdoor