Katy Black, marketing director at Verona discusses how retailers can inspire homeowners to transform their garden into a simple yet stylish haven with practical porcelain tiles.
Spring often calls for home upgrades with the warmer weather encouraging consumers to venture outdoors and revamp the garden in anticipation of summer entertaining.
With things changing regularly and the possibility of another restricted summer in the UK, once again homeowners will continue to invest in their living space, particularly the garden in case we find ourselves faced with another staycation this summer.
Outdoor porcelain is in high demand thanks to its modern aesthetic but it isn’t a material customers think of straight away when it comes to external coverings.
Once just the paving of choice for designer projects and Instagram pages, porcelain tiles have slowly become more accessible to the everyday homeowner who desires a stylish but easy to keep garden.
There are plenty of paving options available on the market, from natural stone through to real timber, so it’s important retailers are aware of the key reasons why a homeowner should opt for a porcelain alternative.
It will stand the test of time
Porcelain tiles provide a long-lasting, hard-wearing solution for paths and patios that can withstand daily use.
A highly durable material, the tiles won’t chip or crack easily and, most importantly, 20mm porcelain tiles can tolerate extreme weather conditions, which makes them the ideal solution for British homes, maintaining their good looks even in frost, rain, snow and even the odd heatwave.
Fade resistant properties mean the tiles can withstand strong sunlight ensuring the patio retains its stylish appearance for years to come.
It requires minimal upkeep
Many will be familiar with jet blasting the patio every year to get rid of stubborn marks and slippery spots, but homeowners can take comfort in knowing that 20mm porcelain is resistant to algae and moss, preventing build-up and colour changes over time.
Porcelain tiles offer a good slip rating of up to R11, meaning they are extra safe for use outdoors, which can often be an issue with real timber and stone.
Porcelain tiles are manufactured in a way which ensures a consistent depth, ensuring a level surface and security underfoot. The rectified edges also provide a flush finish, which cannot be guaranteed with natural stone paving, delivering a pristine finish that will transform the garden into a professional looking masterpiece.
Creates a fluid design scheme
Many porcelain collections offer a 20mm thick porcelain for outdoor use with co-ordinating 10mm indoor tile, allowing homeowners to extend the look from conservatory or kitchen to the garden. As part of the movement towards open plan living, homeowners are installing bi fold doors to help create a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor, for which these porcelain collections are perfect.
Printed using the latest technology, porcelain tiles offer an extensive range of different finishes from stylish wood effects to concrete and natural stone. Minimal, bold or somewhere in between, the variety of finishes and effects available offers something for everyone. Designs are regularly updated to reflect current trends, such as the popular geometric and pattered styles which adorn the walls and floors of many homes.
Outdoor tiles can be installed by the homeowner, given they have the correct equipment and know-how, although we do suggest using a fitter who is comfortable and familiar with laying large format outdoor tiles.
20mm porcelain tiles can be installed in the same way as a traditional patio using sand and cement. A layer of priming slurry should be applied to the back of each tile to ensure they bond to the mortar bed below. Brush-in grout designed specifically for outdoor porcelain tiles gives a seamless, professional finish. For a simple solution, outdoor porcelain tiles can also be loose laid onto grass or gravel.
There is also the option of a pedestal system for overlaying existing hard surfaces. The pedestal system easily elevates the tiles without the need for specialist equipment or adhesive. This acts well as a way of hiding pipes, cables or anything which could detract from the aesthetic of the garden.
As the tiles are not grouted when installed with the pedestal system, water naturally drains through the gaps, ensuring water doesn’t sit on top of the patio. It is best to offer customers all the necessary accessories to complete the job, including pedestals, priming slurry, brush in grout and specialist cleaners and protectors.
Tips for selling the tiled garden look
With the trend for tranquil garden spaces and outdoor entertaining stronger than ever, now is the best time to promote the benefits of porcelain tiles and sell the dream to your customers. The stylish, perfectly composed gardens we see on social media and Grand Designs can become a reality for any homeowner if they know where to start.
In the run up to summer, make sure you’re promoting your outdoor tile offering as broadly as possible. This means through all your channels of communication, on your social pages, POS and on your website. Some suppliers will be able to offer high res lifestyle imagery for you to use alongside your marketing efforts to demonstrate what each tile will look like in an outdoor setting and how it could be styled.
The more visual you are with this the better to really entice your customer and show them how diverse tiles can really be and why they should be top of the list when it comes to redesigning the garden.
Sometimes customers can be wary of 20mm porcelain, with the assumption it is difficult to install. Be sure to offer installation advice to help overcome this. You will find suppliers often have tips on their website or how to videos which will help with any uncertainties.
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