The majority of the UK market is dominated by Indian porcelain paving slabs
Indian porcelain paving slabs are manufactured by globally high standards, comparable to any country. However, the design of Indian porcelain paving slabs slightly lags behind Italian counterparts, with surface textures imitating natural stone exhibiting a slightly weaker expressive quality. As India is a major producer of stone, and the cutting technology for stone slabs is comparable worldwide due to the similarity in infrared cutting machine technology, the cutting precision of Indian porcelain paving slabs is on par with Italian porcelain slabs.
The production method for Indian porcelain paving slabs mirrors that of European porcelain tiles. Chinese equipment manufacturers provide high-pressure presses and kilns that adhere to the highest global standards. Given India's leadership in global slab production, major factories have made significant investments in cutting-edge automated equipment. This ensures that the quality of their products meets the rigorous standards set by European CE or American ASTM standards.
The economic development level in India determines that labor costs are exceptionally low, around £1 per hour. Hence, Indian porcelain paving slabs possess an unparalleled price advantage. The retail price range for 20 mm outdoor Indian porcelain tiles in the UK should be between £19 - £29 per square metre including VAT. If retailers charge higher prices, they may mislead consumers, attempting to create a false impression that the purchased porcelain slabs are of Italian origin due to the higher price tag.
Due to the popularity of Indian sandstone in the UK, Indian sandstone merchants can provide more design inspiration to Indian porcelain factories. For example, the Kandla Grey sandstone effect porcelain and Brazilian Black Slate Effect Porcelain are innovations by Indian designers. These designs are the most popular varieties in the UK. Indian designers are diligent and practical; they may not lead the trend, but they may be world leaders in imitating the design of natural stones.
Indian porcelain manufacturers often visit the UK. Every year, we host sales directors or design directors from major Indian factories. They visit the UK merchants and building material stores, listen to customer needs, and bring market feedback back to the factory. This customer-centric marketing strategy is unparalleled in the tile industry of any other country.
We sell products from India's largest Simola factory under the factory brand RioStone©. We do not sell re-branded products from small factories because these small factories may use second-hand old equipment, leading to inaccurate control of pressure, temperature, thickness, and cutting precision. Additionally, there is a higher probability of repeated patterns in each design from small factories. The range of design patterns offered by small factories is more limited, whereas large factories provide 24 unique patterns for each design of natural stone imitation.
Italian porcelain paving paving
When considering the purchase of Italian porcelain paving slabs, the first thing to take into account is to increase your budget 1.8 - 2.5 times compared to Indian porcelain slabs. The high labor costs of European workers determine the elevated prices of Italian tiles.
What you are buying is world-leading pattern design and texture surfaces. Currently, Italy leads the world in the field of design and technology for imitating natural stone textures. No other country can surpass it, representing the trends in global garden tiles design.
Italian porcelain paving is manufactured to the highest quality standards, featuring more realistic texture surfaces, leading-edge finishes, and a more authentic imitation of natural stone, beyond its trend-setting design and finishes. Unfortunately, from our 20 years of paving industry experience, there is nothing particularly exceptional in terms of density, water absorption rate, and compressive strength compared to other countries.
The price range for Italian porcelain paving should be between 1.8 - 2.5 times compared to Indian porcelain slabs. The significant cost of Italian slabs largely pays for high wages and designer salaries. If there is value for money, it lies primarily in imitating the texture of natural stone.
When Italian manufacturers are asked at exhibitions why their prices are high, the most common response is: because it's made in Italy, and retailers can earn a higher markup. If you highly value a distinctive effect and take pride in introducing Italian porcelain tiles to friends visiting your patio garden, or if you're a celebrity seeking a sense of pride, then purchasing Italian porcelain slabs may be worthwhile beyond the imitation of natural stone texture surface.
In the benefits of resistance to frost, salts, chemicals, water stains, algae, mold, and moss, Italian outdoor porcelain tiles are no different from tiles produced in other countries around the world. All porcelain tiles produced according to standards can be done perfectly.
How to select outdoor porcelain tiles for patio garden
Begin by choosing a colour scheme that suits your preference - whether light or dark colours. Light colours generally create a sense of spaciousness, offering a bright and relaxed ambience, while dark colours, especially black, introduce a feeling of solemnity and luxury.
Next, consider the tile size. The widely favoured size is 900 x 600 in the UK, striking a balance between creating a spacious feel and facilitating installation at a moderate cost. Although the 1200 x 600 size imparts a more majestic ambience, it poses challenges during installation with increased difficulty and cutting waste due to its larger weight and size. The 600 x 600 size is the most economical, ensuring consistent patterns post-installation, but it is not the preference of UK homeowners. The 900 x 450 size is a niche option exploited by merchants for higher profit margins. The 800 x 800 size also is a niche option exploited by merchants for higher profit margins and has the advantage of appearing larger format than 600 x 600.
Finally, consider the thickness. In the UK, the most popular thickness is 20 mm, providing a balance between cost-effectiveness and good compressive strength. Some merchants offer 16 mm tiles at a lower cost due to reduced factory costs, ocean freight shipping, and nationwide delivery expenses. If the retail price of 16 mm tiles is substantially lower and compressive strength is not your concern, it can be a cost-effective choice.
Does a high retail price equate good quality?
The answer is negative. Choosing outdoor porcelain tiles for paving does not necessarily mean higher prices equate to better quality. Due to the previous portrayal of porcelain paving slabs as a high-end and expensive material, many blog articles discussing porcelain paving often emphasized the high prices than sandstone paving. Some merchants continue to adopt a high-price strategy in the market.
However, the situation has changed now. Due to intense competition, wholesalers who directly import also engage in retail, offering lower prices to the public. Our company is a exclusive wholesaler for RioStone brand of India's largest and best brand, so our retail prices are lower, and the quality is the best among the Indian porcelain paving slabs.
We recommend consumers to compare prices before making a purchase online. Choose similar products, considering factors such as material, colour, size, thickness, and place of origin for a comprehensive comparison to get a rough idea of the retail prices. Some online stores have traditionally had higher prices, while others are able to offer lower prices due to effective control of the supply chain costs.
How to verify the origin of the tiles you purchased:
Every consumer hopes to get value for their money and not be deceived. In the UK market, there are indeed some merchants who label Italian tiles on their websites with a price of £21.50/m2. Based on our experience, it is impossible for us to sell Italian 20 mm outdoor tiles at this price. So, how do you verify the country of origin for the tiles you're buying? Here's a simple method to verify.
All tiles from overseas countries are packaged with wooden pallets, and the pallets bear the ISPM15 stamp. We recommend that you look for the following stamps on the pallet after receiving your products. Because, every exporter and importer must adhere to the rules to meet ISPM15 international standards from January 1, 2021.
If the pallet is in its original packaging, products imported from India should bear the stamp "IN," Italian products should have "IT," Spanish products should have "ES," and Chinese products should have "CN." MB stands for Methyl Bromide Treatment, while HT stands for Heat Treatment. Typically, India tends to prefer adopting Methyl Bromide (MB) Treatment, whereas European countries lean towards Heat Treatment (HT).
This is the best and lastest method to identify the origin of the porcelain slabs you purchased, as both the customs of the exporting country and the customs of the UK scrutinize it for you. Otherwise, fraudulent methods would not pass the customs inspection.
The above information does not rule out the possibility of Italian tiles being repackaged using discarded Indian pallets, especially in the case of orders with split and repack small order. However, merchants dealing with full pallet order are unlikely to unnecessarily dismantle the original packaging of Italian tiles and repackage them with discarded Indian pallets, as such an action would be an unnecessary and foolish operation.
Following are India Fumigation ISPM15 Stamps
Following are Italian Fumigation ISPM15 Stamps
What is the quality of European outdoor porcelain tiles?
There are some European countries that also produce outdoor porcelain tiles. Is the quality of their products better than those from Asian countries? This is a difficult question that any UK businessperson would prefer not to answer. To illustrate, consider the electronic devices you use, such as your phone, television, and other consumer electronics—all of which are predominantly manufactured in Asia. For example, iPhones, Samsung, Xiaomi and OPPO phones are produced in China, India, Vietnam, and almost all parts are also manufactured in these Asian countries, including Taiwan.
Porcelain paving tiles are not high-tech products; their quality is determined by the equipment used, and prices are influenced by labor costs. From the analysis of this article, you should understand the meaning.
Why aren't Chinese porcelain tiles available in the UK?
This is a question frequently posed by customers. Foshan, China, can be considered the world's capital of ceramic and porcelain tiles, with its production at its peak accounting for almost half of the world's total. However, since 2011, the European Union has imposed anti-dumping duties on Chinese ceramic and porcelain tiles ranging from 26.3% to 69.7%. Consequently, Chinese tiles withdrew from the EU market, and this trade measure was inherited by the UK after Brexit.
In reality, Chinese porcelain tiles are the most formidable competitors in Europe, including the UK, among all porcelain tile producing countries. China's ceramic and porcelain equipment continues to be a major player in the world, with a significant share of high-tech complete sets of equipment dominating the international market.
Disclaimer: The above suggestions should not be considered as legal basis and are not guaranteed to be 100% certain. There are many alternatives to packaging for international trade. Therefore, the author does not bear any legal responsibility. Any infringement should be contacted in advance and resolved through negotiation. If any trader believes that this blog post contains infringement, please contact us.