How To Install Outdoor Porcelain Tiles: Laying Porcelain Pavers on Gravel

Porcea Stone outdoor porcelain pavers are the best option you have for your outdoor space. That’s because these landscaping materials are extremely durable, robust, smooth, anti-slip, and have a low water absorption rate. Moreover, our product line offers incredible versatility, with a stylish range that mimics the look of natural stones, concrete, and wood. 

You can install our outdoor porcelain pavers on various terrains. In terms of installation, they are highly flexible and can be installed using the following ways:

  • Sand or gravel
  • Concrete and mortar
  • Lay on grass
  • Raised on pedestals

If you have a large patio, terrace, walkway, or courtyard that receives moderate levels of foot traffic, it is advisable to dry lay outdoor porcelain on sand and gravel.

With that in mind, here are the steps to follow on laying Porcea Stone outdoor porcelain pavers on a gravel or granular base.

Installation Guide to Dry-Lay Outdoor Porcelain Pavers

Before you begin your landscape project, make sure you have collected every piece of necessary advice. This will help you to be fully prepared and have a concrete idea on what to expect. You can rely on our team to provide you with some information, however we do recommend working with professional contractors including landscape contractors or tile installers as they will be able to provide specific guidance based on your project requirements, site conditions, and the application of Porcea Stone.

Step 1: 

Make sure you have a minimum of 2-degree slope for the drainage and direct it away from any structure.

Step 2:

Once you have defined the area that needs excavation, use a steel or wooden marker posts joined by a string to mark its perimeter. Keep in mind that you need to extend all sides of the excavated area by around 6 to 8 inches. This will ensure that the outer edges of your paved area are stable.

Step 3:

Use an excavator or shovel to remove the soil in your marked area. There are several factors you need to consider when deciding on the depth of the excavation. These include the soil’s drainage capage, its general condition, and expected load.

Sep 4:

Level the area you excavated using a shovel or rake. For good drainage, make sure it has at least 2 degree slope. Then, use a vibro compactor to compact the soil.

 Laying Porcelain Pavers on Gravel
Porcea Ice Grey – Laying Porcelain Pavers on Gravel
Step 5:

Before laying the gravel bed, install a restraining perimeter wall, except when it is in direct contact with an adequately rigid existing edge, wall, or walkway. Make sure to fix the perimeter wall to the ground using mechanical fixing tools. Another option you have is to use concrete to construct a solid barrier.

Step 6:

Prevent the compacted soil from mixing in with your gravel by placing a sheet of geotextile fabric on top of it. 

Next, fill the excavated area with 3/4-inch stone screenings that are 8 to 12 inches thick. The thickness will depend on the load.

Step 7:

Add another 3/8-inch layer of gravel that’s about 4 to 8 inches thick. Then, compact both layers and level them while making sure you have around 2 degree slope.

Laying Porcelain Pavers on Gravel
Porcea Ice Grey – Laying Porcelain Pavers on Gravel
Step 8:

Place a geotextile fabric sheet, this time on top of gravel you just compacted. This will ensure the gravel will not mix in with the sand.

Step 9:

Get your sand and fill the compacted area with it. The thickness should be anywhere between 3/4 to 2 inches. Compact area again using a vibro compactor.

Step 10:

Slide a steel or wood board placed on a couple of parallel runners over the whole area to level the surface.

Laying Porcelain Pavers on Gravel
Porcea Ice Grey – Laying Porcelain Pavers on Gravel
Step 11:

Be careful that you do not disturb the sand bed as you lay your Porcea Stone outdoor porcelain pavers, applying a minimum of 4 mm spacers. We strongly recommend the use of Porcea Stone cross-shaped outdoor tile spacers with a flat base for any dry-lay installation.

Step 12:

Using a rubber mallet, tap the paving stones carefully. Make sure all pavers are level with each other. They should also be stable on the sand bed and not rocking. The base is the most critical part of the installation. If a base is done properly, you will not have any issues with the landscape or paving material that is laid on top.

Helpful tips:

  • Consider using products such as Gatorbase which is a foam coreboard, these products can help reduce the impact of freeze-thaw cycles
  • Your base must be done properly, over-prepartion and spending more money on the base will go a long way to ensure the pavers can withstand the test of time
  • Porcea Stone 20mm and 30mm are harder than granite so if you find that pavers are breaking, the most likely reason is that your base was not done properly
  • Using spacers is required for any dry-lay installation to prevent Porcea Stone outdoor porcelain tiles from touching each other and causing micro-chipping on the edges. The spacers also prevent the pavers from moving after a few winter