As house buyers in the UK become increasingly concerned about how their outside spaces function as part of the home, architects and designers are employing new high performance materials and installation systems for these areas. A recent project that Alfresco Floors completed in Beavor Lane, Chiswick is a good example of this. New build properties in central London are something of a rarity these days, and the specification for these projects is normally top end – clients want their outside space to look good (and be practical) all year round.
At Beavor Lane the requirement was for exterior 20mm porcelain, installed on Buzon pedestals, across all the external balcony and roof terraces. The UK climate is a brutal world for exterior paving, and inner city pollution makes things even worse. Exterior porcelain is colour fast, slip resistant, impervious to frost damage and won’t allow mould or moss to adhere to its surface – and installed ‘grout free’ on slope correcting pedestals it can be jet washed as often as the client wishes with no danger of any damage – so in effect, very simple maintenance will always bring it back to day one quality. Exterior 20mm porcelain also has an exceptional strength to weight ratio (far better than stone) so it’s becoming ever more popular on roof and balcony applications – particularly with the guys who have to carry it up there!
At Beavor Lane Alfresco Floors supplied and installed around 500 SqM of raised porcelain floors on several levels across eight different houses, and although the design requirement called for integral floor lighting, complex steps and some circular cuts around balustrade pillars, it was all achieved well within the schedule. Installation Manager Gary Boyd summed up the process:
“Raised pedestals have long been the preferred system for tiling flat roofs and balconies all over the UK, but nowadays we are increasingly using the system at ground level too. Now that the porcelain industry is starting to really concentrate on the opportunity, we have well over 100 designs of mm perfect exterior 20mm tiles to choose from – all of them much quicker to install than natural stone and all of them pretty much maintenance free once they are laid.”