External pavements of a house

External pavements are outdoor pedestrian spaces that are generally provided to allow people to walk around the perimeter of the house and to protect the masonry from garden damp.

The two main ways of creating a pavement are:

  • floating pavement on a draining gravel trench
  • floating floor on supports
  • floor glued to a screed resting on a concrete casting, duly waterproofed
  • floor laid in sand and cement on concrete casting

The first type of floor is draining, i.e. water flows through the floor and is then drained through a trench with a drainage pipe at the bottom.

The second method involves waterproofing the floor on which the screed rests with a bituminous sheath, which in turn is protected from infiltration by a cement membrane. In this case, the water drains away, by slope, towards the outside and must be managed.


Vicenza: a pavement surrounding the house

In this project, we created a porphyry pavement that followed the line of the house and connected it to the driveway. Useful to avoid ruining the grass in the garden with constant passing and to keep the vicinity of the house clean.

See more photos at the following link:

squared porphyry pavement in vicenza

Draining pavements

The first method, as we have said, is the creation of a pavement that allows the passage of water through a trench that will then be dispersed directly into the subsoil or appropriately conducted with a drainage pipe.

There are many materials that can be used on the surface as a floor. For example:

These materials are laid in similar ways, which can be summarised in 8 steps:

Posa a secco di marciapiede


The pavement can be continuous, as in the photo in point 8, or the slabs can be separated by decorative garden pebbles.

The main advantage of this type of paving is the cost of construction, which is considerably lower than a concrete pavement with a bonded floor. In addition, it is very important to provide a drainage trench underneath the pavement to drain rainwater.


A porphyry pavement sorrounding a red house in Altavilla

Glued pavements

The most common type of pavement is that with the pavement bonded to a cement screed resting on a concrete casting. In this case the cost is higher but the advantage, compared to a floating floor, is a more solid construction in which the water flows above, without penetrating below and creating a damp environment near the house.

This type of pavement has a higher cost because it is necessary to first pour the concrete foundation, which must then be waterproofed with a bituminous sheath. Finally, the outdoor screed must be made with a suitable slope to serve as a bed for the tiles, and this must also be protected with a cement membranee (Mapelastic, Nanoflex or similar).

The final layer of flooring must be glued onto this membrane, which may be a traditional porcelain stoneware tile, a large outdoor stoneware slab or a natural product such as marble, prun stone, quartzite, slate, etc.

Albaredo: illuminated pavement for a villa

For this scenic pavement, illuminated on the floor by a strip of LEDs, we used stone effect stoneware tiles.

Be amazed by the complete realization:

Ronco all'Adige: floors and bathrooms

Pavements laid with sand and cement

If the chosen paving product is a stone that is irregular in thickness, such as porphyry, it is not possible to lay it with adhesive on a screed, but the method of laying on a bed of mortar, also known as "sand and cement laying", must be chosen.

This method is used in order to be able to sink the split stones in a differentiated way, depending on their thickness, so that they can be levelled on the surface.

Sand-cement laying also requires a concrete foundation or, alternatively, a well-pressed stabilised base.

Compared to glue-laying, the floor may show more cracks over time, which must be sealed with normal routine maintenance. The problem of detachment, which occurs when tiles are laid with sand and cement (tiles have not been laid with sand and cement outdoors for years), occurs much less with stones because they are thicker and are "embedded" in the cement mortar.

Porphyry pavement in different shades

Details of a porphyry pavement in Verona

Porcelain stoneware pavement for a small villa in the countryside

A pedestrian pavement in porcelain stoneware and marble

A stone effect porcelain stoneware pedestrian pavement