Raised decks on pedestals

Installation of porcelain pavers on fixed and adjustable height pedestals

For elevated deck applications, adjustable height pedestal supports offer the easiest and quickest way to construct a perfectly horizontal deck or terrace over sloping or uneven surfaces, avoiding the need to construct extensive supporting substructures of wood or metal beams. Electrical cables and pipes can be hidden under the pavers but easily inspected at any time by simply lifting individual pavers.

Depending on the width of the pavers, pedestals are either placed directly under the pavers or are used to support an array of hollow steel beams, over which the pavers are laid.

Directly supported pavers

The most common method of installing porcelain pavers 16” or more in width in roof deck applications, is to place adjustable height pedestals under each corner of the paver. With pavers longer than 24”, pedestals should also be placed along the edge of the paver at intervals of no more than 24”. For certain applications, additional pedestals placed under the center of the paver should also be considered to ensure adequate support.

Despite the intrinsic density and stiffness of porcelain pavers, in any elevated paver installation, especially high traffic commercial applications such as bars and restaurants, shock and impact resistance of the pavers needs to be taken into account to avoid risk of damage or injury, should any paver crack or fracture in service. In situations where hard objects could be accidentally dropped from a significant height or where deck heights are greater than 4”, steel protection plates or self-adhesive protection sheets should be be installed on the underside of the pavers to provide security and safety protection against the possibility of damage or break-through.  Archatrak supplies both self-adhesive protection mats and metal trays for this purpose.

At low deck elevations (3/8”- 1 1/2”), our ‘Eterno’ range of fixed rubber support pads are typically used to support the pavers. These pads are simply stacked to build up the required height, with 1/16” thick shims used to make minor height adjustments. At deck elevations above approx. 1”, adjustable height pedestals which provide continuously variable height adjustment up to elevations of 36” are used – either our ‘Eterno’ SE series which automatically compensate for sloping surfaces up to 5%, or our economical MN ‘Maxi” range which uses add-in twist rings to provide slope compensation. Both series of pedestals feature rubber faced pedestal heads for superior noise and shock absorption and utilize a special height adjustment tool which enables micro height adjustments to be easily made, even after installation is complete.

We recommend using Eterno perimeter clips to maintain an essential 1/8″-1/4″ gap between the wall and perimeter edge of pavers. The clips prevent the outer row of pavers from shifting after installation, creating unsightly misalignment and possible damage to the pavers or wall.

In areas subject to snowfall, pedestal supported decks can be fitted with a snow melt system to keep either the whole deck or just a row number of individual pavers clear of snow. The Heatizon snow melt system is specifically designed for elevated paver applications, using insulated electrical heating cables laid in channels in aluminum panels installed under the paving slabs. See here for further details.

We know that estimating pedestal requirements can be a challenging exercise.  To greatly simplify this task, we developed an online Pedestal Estimator which quickly calculates both the number of pavers and pedestals of each size to cover a defined area. You can get immediate access to our Pedestal Estimator here. Or, if you’d prefer us to make the pedestal/paver estimation, just send us the details of your project including all measurements, heights around the perimeter, slopes, drainage points etc. and we would be happy to provide you with our estimate.

For more specific installation guidelines on using porcelain pavers with pedestals systems,  download our Archatrak Porcelain Installation Instructions brochure.

A video demonstrating installation of porcelain pavers with Eterno adjustable height pedestals can also be seen on our pedestal installation page.

Rail supported pavers

With narrow, plank style porcelain decking (8″- 16” wide), providing support with pedestals under each corner would typically require a large number of pavers.  For these applications, the Kronos/Eterno rail system using tubular steel beams offers a superior method of both providing adequate support and a more rapid installation.

The primary requirement for installation of the Kronos/Eterno rail system is a surface which is solid, clean and sloping slightly for drainage and a solid perimeter containment such as a parapet wall on a rooftop deck, which will prevent the elevated surface from moving.

To install pavers using the rail system, firstly mark out horizontal lines 24” apart over the area to be laid using chalk. Then mark the approx. position for placement of the Eterno ‘Maxi’ pedestals along these lines, also at 24” spacing, to form a grid. The pedestals around the perimeter should be placed as close to the parapet wall as possible. Calculate the number of porcelain planks required to span the area and optimize the positioning so that no plank at either perimeter will be cut to less than 4” in width.

Place the pedestals in the position you have previously marked with chalk, selecting the appropriate height pedestal to ensure a final level surface.

The 8′ (nom.) tubular steel beams are then placed over the pedestal heads and secured in place with the pedestal caps, with the end of each beam centered on a pedestal head. Check for level as each beam is installed. Beams are installed in a parallel array with 24” between each beam on center.

When all beams are in place, the entire array should be re-checked for level, with small adjustments being made by adjusting the ‘screwjack’ pedestals up or down to ensure a perfectly level deck surface.

Laying out pedestals

Placing the porcelain planks

Finished deck

Once all the beams are level, the porcelain planks are laid perpendicular to the hollow steel beams and resting on the rubber head of the pedestal caps.  The pedestal caps are slid along the steel beams so the inbuilt tabs butt tightly against the porcelain planks. Spacer tabs are easily snapped off where not required.

The entire deck is laid in likewise manner, ensuring the ends of each plank are located on the center of a pedestal head.

For a visual overview of installation of DeckWay planks with the Kronos/Eterno rail system system, please see the video below:

Wind Uplift

It is important that project managers, specifiers and customers carefully assess the intended use of porcelain pavers in elevated flooring applications in relation to their specific technical specifications and properties. Any outdoor paving materials installed above the ground level without adhesives or other secure fixing devices will be subject to the action of wind, with the risk in some cases of becoming airborne. You should always confirm the suitability of the installation system in above ground applications and ensure compliance with any local laws and regulations, including regulations relating to seismic events and hurricanes where relevant.

To discuss a specific project or get answers to your questions, call us at 866-206-8316 or send us an email.