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Is Porcelain Paving More Expensive Than Composite Decking?

When designing your outdoor seating areas, the flooring choice often comes down to two options – a patio or a deck. Porcelain paving or composite decking, what’s the best?

Porcelain paving and composite decking are both beautiful, low-maintenance, durable options for your garden flooring. There’s no right or wrong. Which one is right for your garden design project comes down to multiple factors – including how much you’re willing to spend.

The pros of porcelain paving

An increasingly popular option, porcelain paving slabs are an alternative to stone. A fantastic option for patios, porcelain slabs are made from a combination of clays, sands and minerals. 

Porcelain paving is more attractive than most concrete options and available in a wide variety of colours. with lower porosity. This means it’s relatively low maintenance, just a clean required now and then. It’s also frost-proof and can withstand the weather. Much like composite decking!

The cons of porcelain paving

Beautiful as it is, it’s tricky and time-consuming to lay. You’ll definitely need a professional to lay your patio with porcelain paving. Porcelain slabs are tricky to cut and drill, and they are also quite brittle. This means they can crack under pressure, especially when they weren’t laid correctly. This can be disappointing, especially considering their price tag.

Smoother versions can also be quite slippery underfoot.

The cost of porcelain paving

Porcelain paving is at the high end of the garden flooring pricing hierarchy. Average-quality porcelain slabs will cost you around £40 per m² while premium versions will cost around £70 per m². And this is obviously without the costs associated with preparing the base, the other materials and high installation costs. A new porcelain patio isn’t going to come cheap.

The pros of composite decking

Made from a combination of recycled plastic and wood fibre, with certain options capped in a protective layer, composite decking is another durable, weather-resistant and low-maintenance garden flooring option. It’s scratch and slip-resistant, too.

Your new composite deck will take no time to install, and it’s possible to install it yourself. However, if you do decide to go for a professional installation, the simplicity of the job, ease of cutting the materials to size and quick installation mean the costs are far lower than with a porcelain patio installation. 

The versatility of composite decking means it’s much easier to be creative with shapes and designs for your garden flooring area. It also won’t rot, fade, chip, splinter, bow or crack. And it’s slip-resistant without being rough.

The cons of composite decking

It’s more expensive than timber decking, so the initial cost can be relatively high. But the value from the long lifespan and durability of composite far outweighs the initial cost. It’s also possible to damage your deck with extreme heat, so you should keep pizza ovens and coal barbecues in a different area.

The cost of composite decking

Composite decking is another luxury garden flooring option. So it certainly isn’t cheap either. Uncapped options will cost around £30-60 per m² whilst capped and premium versions can be £75-90 per m². Other costs apply, depending on whether you require a new subframe or balustrades, and professional installation.

Which is right for you?

While the price for the materials is similar, in terms of the price and speed of installation, composite decking wins hands down. Overall, a composite deck should come in at a lower price than a porcelain patio when all aspects are taken into account – particularly if you’re handy at DIY. 

In terms of aesthetics, when it comes to porcelain tiles and composite decking, it’s like football or rugby, Coke or Pepsi, dogs or cats, wood flooring or carpet. Your preference is your preference. And combining flooring options in your garden is always possible, and can add different textures and enable the zoning of areas.

What would a composite deck look like in your garden? Find out using our 3D deck building tool, Prime Design

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