Quite naturally, one of the most common questions we are asked is “How much are porcelain pavers?”
Typically, the cost of a ¾” thick porcelain pavers for exterior use at a retail level will lie anywhere between $7 and $10 per square foot at the suppliers warehouse. For trade customers and contractors, discounts will normally be offered by most suppliers. On top of that cost you need to add the cost of shipping which may add another $1 to $2.50 per square foot depending on the distance you are from the warehouse, the accessibility of your location and also on the size of your order, since smaller consignments will normally cost more per sq.ft. than larger consignments.
Because of their size and weight, porcelain pavers will always be shipped on pallets by a common carrier and not by UPS for example. So a supplier will always need to make arrangements in advance to ensure your pallet(s) can be offloaded a suitable location and that the carrier’s vehicle is equipped with a liftgate so that the pallet can be moved to the sidewalk without any additional equipment being required.
The price of porcelain pavers may vary depending not only on the particular style of the paver, but also on the size. For example, certain wood look pavers might cost more than a stone look paver and typically a plank style paver such as a 12” x 48” or 8” x 48” paver will cost more per sq.ft. than a 24” x 24” paver, which has traditionally been the most common size of porcelain paver. Also, there are now porcelain pavers available which are 1 1/8” thick. These are typically used for more heavy duty applications and especially vehicular applications, such as driveways. Naturally the porcelain paver cost is somewhat higher for these heavy duty pavers which typically cost in excess of $10 per sq.ft.
Of course the cost of installation also needs to be taken into account. For small areas such as a balcony, patio, or small terrace and where you are laying the pavers directly over existing concrete, do-it-yourself installation is quite feasible. In that case, you normally just need to use thin rubber support pads placed under each corner of the pavers. These support pads can be stacked to build up the height so you can make a totally level surface on your patio, even if right now it has some slope for drainage. These rubber pads cost around $2 to $3 dollars each, and although at first glance you might think you would be using four of these per paver for the installation, in fact if you draw out your proposed installation on paper, you’ll find that the number of pads required is only about 1.2 times the number of 24” x 24” porcelain pavers.
If you engage a contractor, the quoted installation cost can vary quite significantly, not only depending on the complexity of the area that you wish to cover, but also on your location and of course whether the deck is on ground level or an upper-level such as a rooftop. Thus it’s very difficult to give a precise estimate of a projected installation cost as the range can be as wide as $5 to $15 per sq.ft.
for elevated decks on rooftops, you also need to factor in the cost of any pedestals that will be required The price of adjustable height pedestals varies quite significantly depending on the height, but typically will be between $8 and $12 for heights not exceeding about 10”.
So how does this compare with the cost of concrete pavers? Certainly, in most circumstances the initial cost of a concrete paver will be less than a porcelain paver, but since concrete pavers are significantly heavier than porcelain pavers, transport costs can be an important factor in the final price of a concrete paver.
But it’s important to also consider the advantages and disadvantages of both products. We will mention the pros and cons in more detail in another blog post, but just briefly, it goes without saying, that one of the big advantages of porcelain pavers is that they are so much more attractive than a concrete paver, and you have so much more choice in terms of colors, styles and sizes. There’s simply no way that a concrete paver can match the depth of color, and elegance that porcelain pavers can display.
But that’s not all. Porcelain pavers are almost totally impervious to moisture, so they won’t stain and won’t suffer from freeze thaw cracking. When you couple that with their scratch resistance, fade resistance exceptionally low maintenance, over the lifetime of a deck, the initial higher cost of a porcelain paver will fade into irrelevance.