Porcelain tiles come a many different thicknesses to meet different requirements. You can get porcelain as thin as 3mm in a veneer format, however this is usually used where minimal weight is required. For example, on an interior wall. Porcelain tiles are also available as thick as 50mm; however, this is hardly ever necessary.
In this article, we will make some recommendations as to what thickness to use where, so that you can decide the perfect porcelain tile thickness for you.
How thick should a porcelain tile be on a traditional mortar bed?
No thinner than 20mm. It is common for people to think that because they are laying the porcelain on a mortar bed, the thickness of the tile does not matter. However, the mortar bed is likely to sink slightly over time in some areas, and if the tile is not thick enough, it could result in large cracks running through a number of tiles. We strongly advise against using 10mm porcelain tiles outdoors, as these are predominantly deigned for indoor use, and are obviously no more than half the strength of a 20mm tile. It will crack much easier on a mortar bed, and any movement of the mortar will translate into the tile, cracking it in multiple places.
How thick should a porcelain tile be on a suspended system?
Using an aluminium rail system or pedestals to support your porcelain can prove many benefits over the traditional method of laying porcelain. For a start it is quicker to install so has lower install costs and depending on the height build-up that needs to be achieved from ground level, it can also be cheaper too.
However, the porcelain on a suspended system has to span between either rails or a pedestal head. For this reason, we recommend never using a 20mm tile, as these have sufficient strength to span up to a maximum of 600mm between supports. It will be capable of supporting a point load of 250kg or 400kg per square meter in this configuration. You can always use a thicker tile on a suspended system; however, this adds unnecessary cost and weight to the system.
So where should I use 30mm or thicker porcelain tiles?
Thick porcelain tiles are usually reserved for areas where a car or heavy object will be moving over. A 30mm tile is usually reserved for driveways or car showrooms or anywhere a heavy vehicle will be driving over it. The reason for using a thicker tile here is that it is far less likely to crack, even if the bed it is laid on begins to move or sink.
What about indoors, how thick should they be then?
Indoor porcelain tiles are very commonly 10mm thick. This is perfectly adequate for indoor use as they will not experience much weight. Indoor porcelain tiles are hardly ever on a suspended system and are almost always laid on a mortar bed. This keeps the surface waterproof and stops any water from damaging the floor underneath. Thin porcelain veneers are sometimes used in large sheets on walls or even ceilings in some instances. They are very light but not strong at all so should never be used in areas that they will have weight on top of them.
In summary, different thicknesses are used throughout houses in different applications to cover different needs. To put it simply, any outdoor patio in porcelain should be 20mm thick. Indoor tiles are usually 10mm, and tiles on your driveway should be at least 30mm thick.
Now that you've read more about porcelain paving, you may begin thinking about using it as an option for your garden or balcony. With so many options available, we know it can seem like a big decision to make. Why not begin by ordering one of our free sample boxes to help you choose which style of porcelain will best suit you?
You can also call us on 0208 159 2999 or send us an email to email@example.com to get quotes, guidance, and any technical support with your plans. If you think you will require the help of a professional installer, we are happy to recommend one to assist.
We look forward to hearing from you!