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09-03-19 | Department

A Conversation with Archatrak Inc. - Q&A

Featuring Malcolm Kay, CEO

From chic commercial terrace bars and restaurants to low maintenance landscape paving, porcelain pavers are making big inroads into a market that has for so long been dominated by concrete or stone pavers. In this article, Archatrak's CEO discusses the reasons behind this change.

Have porcelain pavers finally evolved as a mainstream paving option?
Absolutely. We're seeing more architects, landscape architects, designers and contractors specifying porcelain pavers for landscape paving and elevated roof decks all the time. Every day our team speaks with professionals who have traditionally chosen concrete, brick, natural stone, granite or composite, but are now switching to porcelain. And it's not just their superior technical aspects like stain, fade and frost resistance, but particularly the superb range of styles, colors and sizes that's now available.

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How do porcelain pavers compare with alternatives like concrete in terms of color, style and size?
Modern digital printing produces exceptionally sharp colors and precise design details on porcelain pavers that you'll never see on concrete pavers. Our wood-look pavers for example, are really quite stunning. With knots, pin holes, random streaks and subtle color variations, from a short distance, the pavers look just like wood. This same 'realism' applies across the entire range, no matter if the pavers are designed to resemble natural stone like slate, travertine, limestone, bluestone, or for that matter, even concrete. As for size, while 24" x 24" pavers are still the most common, 12"- 16" wide planks in lengths up to 96" long are becoming increasingly popular. We even have 2 A 1/2 " thick porcelain cobblestones as small as 4" x 4" and at the other extreme, A 3/4 " thick paving slabs as large as 48" x 96".

So where are porcelain pavers mainly being used?
Because of their strength, durability, low maintenance and exceptional appearance, our pavers are very commonly used to build elevated decks on flat roof tops, supported with adjustable height pedestals. Roof top bars and restaurants, pool decks and roof decks on multi-family dwellings are just a few of the places using porcelain pavers right now. And for general landscaping, either laid directly on sand/gravel or with thinset on a concrete base and grouted, these stain resistant, frost resistant and moss resistant pavers are increasingly becoming the paver of choice for public plazas, parks and pedestrian walkways. But not just commercial use. Simply supported with low profile rubber pads, porcelain pavers also give homeowners a fantastic means of totally transforming a drab concrete patio or balcony.

Are porcelain pavers suitable for high foot traffic, commercial locations?
Most certainly. We've supplied porcelain pavers for numerous commercial projects throughout the country - outdoor bars and restaurants like Catch in Los Angeles, Ole Red in Nashville, Sky Room in New York, District Winery in D.C., hotels such as the Clermont in Atlanta, W Hotel in D.C., James Robertson in Nashville, offices like Google's campus in Kirkland Wa. and recreational facilities like the Oklahoma Zoo, Chicago's Navy Pier and the International Spy Museum in D.C.

And it's not just the aesthetic appeal that attracts building owners and architects to porcelain pavers. It's also their exceptionally low maintenance and superior scuff and stain resistance that's swaying owners and occupiers to consider porcelain pavers for any elevated decks or paved areas, even in high traffic commercial spaces.

Are porcelain pavers more expensive than other decking options?
These days, the price of porcelain pavers is actually quite similar to concrete and stone pavers, which is also why we're seeing them specified more often. But you really need to look at the overall installed cost. Because porcelain pavers are so much lighter, transport and installation costs are significantly less. So, an elevated roof deck built with pedestal supported porcelain pavers typically costs much less than a traditional wood plank deck supported with wood or steel joists. Plus, maintenance costs, especially over the long term, are much less. Moss, mold, stains or other marks are easily removed and the sun and rain won't rot, fade, crack or warp the pavers. And of course, they're totally fireproof.

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