Safety & Security

Ensuring safe and secure installation of Archatrak porcelain pavers

While Archatrak porcelain pavers are exceptionally durable, dense and rigid, they can nevertheless suffer damage due to mishandling, careless treatment or accidental impact. If tools, heavy furniture or other hard objects are dropped on the pavers from a significant height, chips, scratches, surface damage and/or cracking and breakage may occur.

During installation you should always protect the pavers from chipping and other damage using sheet(s) of plywood to cover the work area.

In situations where hard objects could be accidentally dropped from a significant height or where deck heights are greater than 4”, especially in high traffic commercial installations, appropriate reinforcement sheets or protection panels should be installed on the underside of the pavers to mitigate the risk of damage or injury should any cracking or breakage of pavers occur. Archatrak currently offers several solutions for ensuring safe installations for elevated flooring.

‘Shock Control 2.0’ Adhesive Sheets

Shock Control 2.0 is a flexible, self adhesive, fiberglass reinforced sheet supplied by Archatrak and pre-cut to cover the underside of a 23.5″ x 23.5″ (nom.) paver.  The sheet is attached to the paver simply by peeling off the protective backing and pressing the sheet onto the underside of a dry paver. When installing Shock Control at low ambient temperatures it is essential to confirm that adequate adhesion is achieved and in no circumstances should Shock Control be applied when the ambient temp is below 32°F. Download installation guidelines here.

Shock Control 2.0 has been tested in accordance with ‘Shock Test on Hard Bodies’ UNI EN 12825:2003 whereby a steel penetrating body with a mass of (4.5 ± 0.05) kg and with a hemispherical tip of 50 mm is made to fall onto the test panel from a height of (600 ± 10) mm through a guide tube with internal diameter of 55 mm at three points: center of the panel, center of a side of the panel, at any other point that is the weakest point of the test object. The panel must not cave in or break after any blows. Shock Control 2.0 passed the above test for all three locations.

Note that this solution is primarily intended to hold together pieces of any broken paver and provide temporary support should a person be standing on a paver at the time of breakage. If any paver is broken while a person is standing on the paver, they should immediately step off the damaged paver as prolonged heavy weight applied to a damaged paver fitted with Shock Control 2.0 will cause it to sag and eventually fall.

Galvanized metal trays

Archatrak ‘Spansafe’ steel protection trays are are designed to prevent fall though and to contain damaged parts should any paver break in use.  The trays are constructed of 1mm thick galvanized steel sheet with ¾” high downturned edges on all four sides, folded to provide a double thickness edge for extra strength. Holes are drilled in the sheet for drainage.

The plates are installed by firstly laying out the pedestals in the approx. final position and then placing the plates so that each corner rests on a pedestal head, checking for level as each plate is laid. The porcelain pavers are then laid directly over the trays and butted tightly against the tabs on the pedestals. It is recommended to lay a rubber shim (e.g. Archatrak ETE-LGH2) on top of the plates at each corner or spread a bead of silicone adhesive across the plates to minimize noise transmission and/or rattling.

The effectiveness of the trays was tested by dropping a 3″ diam. steel ball weighing 1lb 9oz onto the center of a porcelain paver placed over the steel tray which in turn was supported by Eterno Maxi pedestals on each corner of the tray. The tray fully supported a person’s weight including jumping up and down on the broken tile and no deflection or bending of the perimeter of the steel tray was observed.

Steel ball dropped on paver

Supporting person’s weight

No bending of tray

Size: 23 7/16″ x 23 7/16″
Edge height: 3/4″
Weight: 10 lb
Steel thickness at corners: 3/16″

Wind Uplift

Any elevated paving laid without adhesives or other secure fixing to the substrate will be subject to the force of wind, with the risk in some cases of the pavers becoming airborne.  It is essential that project managers, specifiers and end users carefully assess the local conditions where both porcelain pavers and Ipe wood tiles will be used in in elevated flooring applications, as well as complying fully with any local laws and regulations, including regulations relating to seismic events and hurricanes where relevant.

No test methods or standards currently exist specifically relating to the installation of porcelain pavers on rooftops or other elevated decking applications. To provide a level of assurance to clients wishing to install porcelain pavers or Ipe structural tiles for elevated decking supported by a pedestal system, Archatrak commissioned the Florida International University Wall of Wind facility to investigate the wind speed at which blowoff of pavers would occur on a test bed simulating a number of typical rooftop deck configurations.
Variables included:

  • Parapet height of 0” and 12”
  • Fixed height ( ½”) plastic support pads vs 8” high pedestals
  • Variable wind angles

It was observed that blowoff of pavers occurred at the following wind speeds and conditions:

  • Ipe tiles with 12” high parapet and 0° wind angle – 130 mph
  • porcelain pavers with 0” parapet, 45° wind angle, ½” high support pads   – 130 mph
  • porcelain pavers with 12” parapet, 30° or 45° wind angle, ½” high support pads – 130 mph
  • porcelain pavers with 12” parapet, 30° or 45° wind angle, 8” high pedestals – 110 mph

Some movement of pavers was observed at lower wind speeds which in some cases, caused the spacer tabs on the pedestal heads to break.  No specific testing was undertaken on potential hold down devices, but on the basis of this study, we suggest several options for increasing the the wind uplift resistance where this may be required due to specific site conditions.

Hold down screws and adhesive

The simplest solution is to hold down the pavers at each of the corners with custom designed stainless steel washers and inserting a screw into the pedestal head with the washer acting as the hold down mechanism. With porcelain pavers, the screw and washer will be visible on the top surface, but with modular wood tiles, the washer will be concealed as it fits into a slot cut in the edge of the tiles.

We supply a stainless steel screw and washer assembly specifically designed for use with porcelain pavers and Eterno adjustable height pedestals. The washer is 1.0″  in diameter and 3/16″ high.

Screws used on porcelain pavers

Screw and washer in Ipe wood tile

Adhesive applied to pedestal base

To provide additional hold down security, adhesive can be applied to the base of the pedestal which will anchor the pedestal firmly to the substrate. The adhesive used will depend on the substrate – for most installations over waterprooof membranes, we recommend M1 Structural Adhesive/Sealant.

Metal Trays

For decks requiring higher support pedestals or where hold down devices must not be visible, we suggest using Archatrak steel protection trays.

Archatrak ‘Spansafe’ steel protection trays offer enhanced resistance to wind uplift of porcelain pavers on pedestal supported decks, as well as providing  a degree of protection should any porcelain paver crack or break due to impact with a heavy object. The trays are secured to Eterno pedestals with a screw and washer assembly. The pavers are bonded to the steel trays with adhesive at each corner. Adhesive applied between the pedestal base and the substrate may provide additional wind uplift resistance.

Plastic Injection Molded Trays

Honeycomb structural plastic trays are placed with each corner resting on pedestal heads and locked into the pedestal using a screw and washer assembly. The paver is attached to the honeycomb tray using a suitable adhesive. These trays are typically made to accommodate only one specific size of porcelain paver (slight differences in porcelain paver size exist between different manufacturers) and will also add approx. 1.5″ to overall height of the deck assembly, which may be a critical issue in certain installations. Whilst such plastic trays may pass the ASTM Test Method E108-11 “Standard Method of Fire Tests of Roof Coverings” which measures the surface spread of flame and the ability of the roof surface material to resist fire penetration from the exterior to the underside of a roof deck, in some situations, use of a continuous grid of plastic material may not meet local fire regulations.

Fiberglass Grids

Similar to the honeycomb structural plastic trays, a more expensive option is to lay large format fiberglass grid panels (typically 30″ x 48″ x 1″ thick) over the entire area, again supported by pedestals, and then attach the pavers to the top of the grid using a suitable adhesive. As with the plastic grid system, a continuous elevated fiberglass grid may not meet local fire regulations in some locations. It would also be difficult, if not impossible with this system, to lift pavers to inspect any waterproof membranes.

Please note that Archatrak has not conducted or commissioned any wind uplift testing with any of the hold down devices mentioned above and thus we offer no guarantee as to the efficacy or the improvement that any of the devices may provide in increasing the wind speed at which lift off of pavers will occur.