Learn How to Lay Porcelain Slabs in 8 Simple Steps

by Key Crops on Apr 20, 2023

how to lay porcelain slabs

Want to learn how to lay porcelain slabs? Do you want to create a one-of-a-kind outdoor space?

If so, this article will be the one for you. Here you’ll find the complete process of laying porcelain slabs to make your outdoor space welcoming. So, if you are keen to impress your neighbours and guests, installing porcelain paving slabs might be an attractive as well as a functional option for you. Keep reading this guide to know the complete process of installing porcelain slabs.

But before moving forward with the process, let’s first have a look at the tools and materials you’ll require.

Tool and Materials Required

Before starting with the process, it’s important to know what all tools and materials you will require while installing the porcelain slabs. So, here is the list of those materials:

  • Tape Measure
  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Rubber mallet
  • Pointing trowel
  • Cement
  • Porcelain Paving Slabs
  • Trowel
  • Tarpaulin
  • Rake
  • Jointing compound
  • Hard-bristled brush
  • Spirit-level
  • Sharp sand
  • Cement Mixer

How to Lay Porcelain Slabs?

There are many benefits of outdoor porcelain pavers for your home, so these slabs must be laid properly and carefully. Here is the step-by-step process that will help you learn how to lay porcelain slabs.

Step 1 - Planning

Planning is the first and foremost step in learning how to lay porcelain slabs. So, before you start preparing the mixture or the surface, plan out everything, including the number of slabs you will require and how you will be laying these slabs. This will give you a rough idea of how the porcelain slabs will look on the surface.

Step 2 - Digging

Once you have planned everything, start digging the surface. Mark out the area using string lines that are to be excavated. Dig the surface to a depth of 160mm to facilitate 40mm of bedding mortar, 100mm of compacted Type 1 MOT or General Sub-Base material and 18-20mm thickness of porcelain slabs.

Step 3 - Levelling

Now it’s time to clean and level the surface. Remove the rocks & other debris and clear the entire surface. Make sure the surface is levelled and free of any rocks and debris.

Step 4 - Layering with Sub-Base

Once the surface is clear and level, it’s time to fill it with the sub-base. But before this, it is recommended to place the geotextile first, as this will prevent weed growth. To give enough strength and stability to the surface, a Type 1 or MOT sub-base is required. Spread out this sub-base on the entire surface to form a 35-40mm layer. Then, compact the sub-base down to around 25-30mm.

Step 5 - Layering the Mortar Bed

To create a mortar bed:

  1. Use a mechanical mixer and combine 4 parts of sharp sand and 1 part of cement to create a mortar mixture.
  2. After you are done with the mixture, use a trowel or shovel to layer the surface with the mortar mixture, creating a mortar bed on top of the sub-base layer.
  3. Apply the mortar mixture to a small area, enough for one porcelain paving slab to place on top of it. This is because you want the mortar mixture to be fresh to give a strong adhesion, and it can bear heavy foot traffic and objects such as stone planters, vehicles, etc.

No matter which material you are using, be it natural stone or porcelain pavers, a mortar bed is an excellent option for a base layer and provides a strong adhesion.

Step 6 - Layering the Slabs with Primer

Now that you have prepared a strong surface for your porcelain and slabs, it’s time to layer them with primer. Using a masonry brush, apply an even primer coating to the underside of the slabs before placing them onto the mortar bed. This will help the porcelain slabs to get a strong adhesion and create a strong surface that will last for years to come.

Step 7 - Placing the Porcelain Slabs

If you want to learn how to lay porcelain slabs, then this step is one of the most important ones. Carefully place your porcelain slabs on the mortar bed and leave enough space for a joining agent so it can be applied later. Do this for each of the slabs till the entire surface is covered. Make sure to clean the face of your paving slabs if any primer is applied unintentionally. Once the primer is set, it would be impossible to remove. Also, make sure these slabs have consistent height and level.

Step 8 - Grouting

This is the last step in learning how to lay porcelain slabs. Once the porcelain slabs are set onto the surface, fill the joints with paving grouts.


In eight easy steps, you’ll be able to learn how to lay porcelain slabs. You can also hire a professional who can do this work for you. Make sure to follow this process properly and carefully; otherwise, you might end up ruining the look of your outdoor space.

Frequently Asked Questions

To help you learn how to lay porcelain slabs in a better way, we’ve come up with some of the frequently asked questions.

Q1. What base do you lay porcelain slabs on?

Porcelain slabs are laid on a bed of mortar and a sub-base layer of Type 1 or MOT.

Q2. Can you lay porcelain slabs on sand and cement?

Irrespective of the material you are laying, be it any natural stone or porcelain pavers, sand and cement always make a great base.

Q3. Do porcelain slabs need to be laid on concrete?

When you are installing porcelain slabs, you need to make sure the base is sold like the concrete and sand/ cement mixture.

Q4. Do porcelain slabs need a primer?

They will not form a strong bond with the mortar bed without layering the slabs with the primer. So, applying a coat of primer is necessary before laying the slabs on the mortar bed.


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