Patios are one of the outdoor living spaces thatadd the most value to your home. But before you can start setting up your furniture, water features, or fire pits, you need to install the floor first. Deciding on the right type of floor can be a daunting process if you don’t know what you should be looking for. That’s why we’ve put together a complete guide to choosing the best outdoor tile for your exterior tile installation below.
Let’s get started!
What’s the Difference Between Indoor Tile and Outdoor Tile?
Indoor tileand outdoor tile differ from each other in two main ways: design and durability.
Here’s what we mean by that.
Outdoor tilesoften have the appearance of stones, pavement, concrete, decking, or other outdoor elements. But on top of that, the surface of outdoor tile is more textured than indoor tile. This creates a slip-resistant surface that’ll give you, your pets, and your patio furniture traction.
Outdoor tile is also much more durable than indoor tile. It can withstand direct sunlight and harsh weather conditions without getting damaged.
So before you start laying tile in your patio, make sure you have outdoor tile. Otherwise, your hard work won’t last very long.
Tips for Choosing the Right Outdoor Tile for Your Home
There are a number of outdoor tiles to choose from, so if you don’t know what to look for, the decision can seem overwhelming.That’s why we’ve put together a few tips that’ll help you narrow down the choices and pick the best outdoor tile for your home.
Before you start shopping, make sure you ask yourself these five questions.
1. What’s Your Budget?
The first thing you have to think about when buying outdoor tile is your budget. The amount you can afford will limit the selection you can choose from.
For example, if you can’t spend more than $12 per square foot of material, things like high-quality natural stone tile will be out of the question.
So decide on a budget first. You’ll be more likely to remember and stick to your budget if yousee it in writing.
Don’t let yourself get fooled by “cheap” prices. Spending $20 per square foot might not seem like much, but it can add up fast. “A well-designed patio is one that offers lots of functionality for your favorite activities. Before you begin building or redesigning your space, sit down with a piece of paper, and write out how you want to use your patio. If you have a family that you share the space with, talk to them about outdoor activities they might be interested in doing at home if they had space. Do this early on in the design or renovation phase. That way you can craft a space that really works with clear objectives in mind.” says Isabella Caprario on her article How to Create an Indoor/Outdoor Space That’s Fun and Functional.
2. Where and How Will You Use Them?
While all outdoor tiles can withstand the elements,they aren’t all builtthe same.
Some outdoor tilesare tougher than others.That means some outdoor tileis prone to scratches, cracks, and other damage. Make sure you get an outdoor tile that can last in your area.
You should also think about how you plan to use your tile. Do you plan to use it on a wall? Are you installing in on the ground?
The answer to this question might affect the type of tile you need.
Some outdoor tile works better on walls. Other outdoor tile works better when you install it on the ground. Make sure you get the right type for your project.
3. What’s the Weather Like in Your Area?
Do you live in an area with mild weather conditions? Do you get snow in the winter? Rain in the spring? Record high heat in the summer?
Youshould always look for outdoor tile that can handle your specific weather requirements. A tile that can hold up to heat may not do well with snow or ice. If you get a lot of rain, your tile might need an extra grip.
Figure out what type of weather your area gets then base your tile search off that.
4. How Much Light Do You Get?
Dark tile colors can make a shady area feel dank and gloomy. Similarly, light tile colors can make a sunny area feel washed out.
To get the best visual effect, always install light colored tile in places that don’t get a lot of sun. If your patio gets a lot of direct sunlight, use dark tile instead.
5. What Is the Current Style and Color of Your Home?
Don’t choose a tile style that’ll clash with the design of the rest of your home.
For example, rustic outdoor tile will look odd and out of place with a sleek, modern home. Find something that’ll complement your style rather than detract from it.
You should also think about the color.
Do you want your outdoor tile to match the color of your home? If not, make sure you pick a color that will blend in with the rest of your aesthetics.
Popular Types of Outdoor Tile
Now that you have some tips that’ll help you pick the best outdoor tile for your home, let’s take a look at some of your options.
Here’s a quick list of some of the most popular outdoor tile choices.
Ceramic can handle mild weather conditions and light outdoor use, but it isn’t as strong as other types of outdoor tile. Because of this, you should only pick ceramic for covered patios or patios that don’t see a lot of extreme weather changes.
And remember, not allceramic tileis made the same.
Some types are weaker or stronger than others, so make sure you pick a durable option. Depending on what you buy, ceramic can be an affordable choice, but there is a lot of flexibility in the price range.
Porcelain tile is dense and strong, which makes it a good choice for outdoor use. But make sure you find porcelain tile rated for the outdoors.
Indoor porcelain tile often has a glossy surface that will become very slippery if it gets wet. Instead, you’ll want your porcelain to have a textured surface.
However, this isn’t a great choice if you live in a location that gets harsh winters. Quarry tile doesn’t hold up well to freezing and ice.
Rain, on the other hand, isn’t a problem. Quarry tile is water resistant, and they don’t become slippery when wet.
But be careful with other liquids. This type of tile can stain easily.
In warm climates, quarry tile can be one of the best outdoor tile options for your home.
Slate is a type of natural stone (which we will see more of on this list).
This tile is durable and strong, and it also has a natural surface texture. This means it will be slip-resistant without you having to do anything else to it.
You can find slate in a variety of colors, including dark colors like black and grey and brighter colors like green or orange.
Granite, another natural stone, makes beautiful indoor countertops, but it doesn’t hold up as well outside.
Apart from being slippery, granite is also aporous material.
In other words, it will absorb moisture, causing stains and other damage, if you don’t seal it every few years.
Concrete tile gives you a cheaper way to get a “natural stone” outdoor floor. Manufacturers mold the concrete into the right texture and color them to make them look like natural stone.
This gives your home a high-end look for a fraction of the cost.
Concrete tile is durable and can withstand harsh weather and heavy foot traffic. However, you will have to reseal it every few years.
Travertine is a natural stone that creates beautifully textured and colored tile.
This tile is hard, but it also has a pitted surface that cangather dirtover time.
You can avoid this problem by polishing the surface so it’s smooth. But if you choose to do this, it will become slippery when wet.
Soapstone is also a natural stone, but it has a smooth and non-porous quality. This makes it resistant to stains and other types of water damage.
It can also withstand high levels of heat and freezing temperatures. Because of this, soapstone is a good option for almost any climate. If you’re looking for something to surround your pool, you might want to consider soapstone.
Limestone is a soft stone, meaning it can scratch and chip easily.
You also have to seal this type of tile often to prevent water damage.
Don’t install limestone in your patio unless you live in a dry, mild environment.
While sandstone has a beautiful texture, it is even more fragile than limestone. Since this tile is made from layers of sand compressed together over time, it is soft and prone to scratches, chips, and cracks.
Water can also cause a lot of problems for sandstone. But if you live in a dry area and seal it often, this tile can make a beautiful addition to your yard.
Choosing the Best Outdoor Tile for Your Home
Now that you know what outdoor tile suites your home the best, it’s time to start the installation process. But before you can get to work, you need the right tools.
Not sure where to find them?
Make sure youclick hereto find the tiling tools you can’t work without.
You should look for tiles with high durability and a low water absorption rate, such as porcelain, ceramic, travertine and marble. Tiles with low porosity are also less likely to develop issues with algae, lichen, rot or staining.What is the best tile for an outdoor patio in cold weather? ›
It is an excellent stone to use around swimming pools and also performs well in wet, freezing climates. Soapstone is often thought to be a black or dark gray stone, but it also comes in shades of green and bluish-gray.
This is largely dependent on the substrate, the tile, and the use of the space however we'd always recommend a 1cm thick tile for outdoors made from porcelain that is frost proof and preferably slip resistant.What are long lasting outdoor tiles? ›
Generally, porcelain and ceramic are excellent materials to use as outdoor tiles. Both of these materials are strong and durable enough to withstand outdoor weather conditions such as rain, snow, and sunlight.What are the golden rules of tiling? ›
The golden rule when installing tiles is install on a concrete floor where possible and always ensure it's level by applying a levelling compound beforehand – watch this video to find out exactly how.Why do you lay tile diagonally? ›
Diagonal: Laying subway tile flooring in a diagonal pattern adds visual interest and a modern touch. It creates the illusion of a larger space, particularly beneficial for smaller areas.Why is 50 tile pattern not recommended? ›
Lippage can be significant when tile with warpage issues is installed at a 50% offset. The outcome is aesthetically unsightly and unsafe for pedestrians. Warpage or bowing can take place during the manufacturing of fired tile products like ceramic and porcelain tile.Which type of tile is not recommended for outdoor use? ›
Granite, another natural stone, makes beautiful indoor countertops, but it doesn't hold up as well outside. Apart from being slippery, granite is also a porous material. In other words, it will absorb moisture, causing stains and other damage, if you don't seal it every few years.
As one of the strongest and most durable tile options available, granite is suited to all weather conditions, no matter how extreme.
What type of tile is not slippery? The best type of tiles that aren't slippery is exterior grade R11 or higher-rated porcelain tiles. These flat outdoor tiles have a more textured grip surface which makes them less slippery. The textured surface of the tile provides traction and reduces the risk of slipping.
Ceramic and porcelain are two of the most popular tile options for outdoor flooring. Consider your design preferences and budget when choosing between the two.Do outdoor tiles need to be laid on concrete? ›
Lay a concrete slab first. While concrete paving stones can be laid on a gravel base, tile cannot. The slightest irregularity in the base will lead to tiles cracking. Using a level make sure the slab is flat, or use a thin cord to create a fractional slope for drainage.Should I use light or dark tiles for patio? ›
If the area doesn't get much sunlight, using lighter coloured pavers or tiles can create an illusion of light. Choosing something that's in between dark and light is suitable in most instances and complements most styles of outdoor areas.