The patio is the home’s second living room, and can add the most value to your overall aesthetics. At the heart of good alfresco dining, basking in the open air, and enjoying one another’s company is a well-chosen outdoor floor finish. Tile is the most durable option outdoors, and it’s available in many different styles, colors, textures, shapes, and sizes. Discover how to choose the perfect tile for outdoor patios and walkways by reading on!
There are so many tile styles that make it possible to create a tiled patio look that’s gorgeous and timeless. Whether you want yours to be a spot for lounging, dining or both, our Square Weave Equator & Thassos Polished Mosaic tile installation will effortlessly accentuate the look and feel of your overall exterior space.
From the floors grows the rest of your exterior design scheme; setting up your furniture and soft finishes, floral arrangements and greenery, water features, or fire pits — so it is imperative that you choose a smart option that adds a versatile beauty as well as offers great durability.
Why not take the indoors outside and enjoy the weather? With our Bardiglio Octagon and Eastern Thassos marble tile, you can create the outdoor kitchen of your dreams!
With an overwhelming array of outdoor tiles on the market, homeowners are encountering not only a large selection of colors, textures, sizes and even products they may not have considered for outdoor use, but also poor or incorrect advice. For this reason, many are faced with frustrating costly mistakes, especially when following a recommendation from an unqualified source.
That’s why we’ve put together a complete guide to help simplify matters, to put your mind at rest, and to ensure that you choose the best tile material for your exterior installation.
Our Diamond Chain Marble mosaic tile makes for a stunning, elevated patio space. These waterjets are the perfect choice for continuing indoor flooring to your exterior paradise.
Why choose outdoor tiles for patio floors?
We can think of tons of reasons why tiles are an ideal option for patio floors by comparing them to some alternatives. From a purely practical point of view, they are an excellent surface finish that’s astonishingly durable, easy to maintain, as well as remarkably strong to last longer in outdoor environments than most pavers.
Outdoor tiles are much more durable than pavers. Quite often, the latter are installed over a small gravel base without proper preparation, which means that when water penetrates through cracks or joints it will erode away the substrate in no time. Tiles on the other hand are water resistant, so you won’t have to worry about them being affected by moisture. And the best part is that if they are ever damaged or stained, you can always replace the affected tiles instead of having to replace the entire installation.
Our Tribeca Blanco Whitewashed Wood look porcelain tile is the perfect example of a durable indoor-outdoor tile that is both moisture resistant and slip proof. The dynamic pattern is a beautiful way to liven up your outdoor space while providing optimum safety for your home.
What sets indoor tile and outdoor tile apart?
In some cases indoor tile and outdoor tile may look similar but they actually differ from each other in two main ways: design and durability.
Before you get your renovation plans going here’s what you need to understand in order to narrow down your tile selection and pick the right product for the job:
- Design. Tiles used externally are rarely glazed and often possess the appearance of stone, pavement, concrete, decking, or other outdoor elements. Unlike Indoor tiles, which are typically glazed and sleek for easier cleaning, outdoor products have a texture on their surface for extra slip-resistance. A surface that is a little gritty provides you, your kids, and your patio furniture excellent traction and reduces the risk of accidents.
- Durability. In regard to the level of durability, tile material intended for exterior use has to withstand a lot more than interior products. The greater likelihood of heavier foot traffic as well as direct sunlight rays and harsh weather conditions such as rain and frost means outside surfaces have to be non-porous, tougher, thicker, and less vulnerable to the elements.
Any front or back patio will benefit from the beauty of Vancouver Miel Wood Look Porcelain Tile. Enjoy the timeless, natural, and warm aesthetic appeal of real wood without the traditional wear and tear!
Tile Club carries a large selection of tiles that can be used for both indoor and outdoor purposes - meaning that you get the same protection from spills, splashes, pets, kids, and more regardless of whether you install them in your interior or exterior. While you can always install a tile rated for outdoor use anywhere inside your home or business, always check that the Area of Use on the product page specifies that a tile can be used on your exterior before you plan your patio remodel or new decking. You can also check out Tile Club’s collection of Outdoor TIles to browse all materials that are hardy enough for sun, wind, rain, and whatever else the elements throw at you.
This Textured Wooden Beige Leaf Marble Mosaic Tile in a playful leaf pattern lends a timeless and sophisticated touch to this contemporary outdoor living space.
Things to consider when selecting outdoor tiles
Aside from design and durability, there are a few other factors that will have a crucial influence on selecting the suitable tile type and material that is best for your upcoming outdoor design project. Before you start shopping, it is worth considering the following:
To touch more on what has been said about durability, tiles made of porcelain stands out as a smart choice for patio spaces thanks to its water, flame, stain, scratch, scuff, and dent resistance properties. In addition , these tile qualities reduce the need to worry about the safety of your kids and pets, inclement weather and temperature conditions, as well as the use of hard and heavy patio furnishings.
When it comes to installing a patio, tiles are the most economical choice with long life spans. However cost can vary depending on where you want your new surface and if any professional assistance is required for installation purposes. Expenses for material, labor and ongoing maintenance are also primarily dependent on the desired design finish and the size of the area.
A stand-out design for a luxe patio has a higher tendency to incorporate out of the ordinary features — and high-end material costs can really run the gamut, but it’s worth remembering that it is value that you’re truly seeking. Likewise, a project with fewer complexities and one that you can tackle with minimal assistance will cost you less.
Penny round tile is a wonderful affordable option for outdoor spaces. We can’t get enough of this beautiful outdoor kitchen design with our Black And White Marble Penny Tile.
Homeowners can expect an expansive range in price, from as low as $1 per square foot for material such as basic ceramic tile to $50 per square foot for a high-end natural stone look porcelain tile. Installation costs vary depending on location, experience, and complexity but expect an average price range of $50 to $80 per hour or $4 to $11 per square foot.
When thinking about an outdoor living space, you will have to consider how you want the area to be used. This rings true if you have children or regularly entertain — you will require a flooring surface that’s robust enough to not be damaged by heavy foot traffic or one that’s capable of withstanding a lot of wear-and-tear. If you are looking for a robust tile that also adds a playful spin on your exterior design, our White and Black Terrazzo Hex polished porcelain tile is a must see!
It is important that the style and color of your patio flooring is complementary to the overall appearance of the landscape, as well as your home's architectural features such as walls, doors and window frames.
With a myriad of choices out there, it is easy to create an exterior aesthetic that’s according to your taste and in sync with the theme of your property. For instance, a garden with sharp angles, modern rendered walls and perfectly manicured topiary would be in perfect harmony with a monochromatic marble effect porcelain style tile. However that same tile might appear out of place when laid next to a typical farmhouse home.
Custom mosaic murals are a beautiful way to add an eye catching statement piece to your backyard space! Check out this majestic custom pool mural by our team at Tile Club!
Similarly, neutral architectural features could benefit from brown or a pale sandy colored tile and grays with black or white. In addition, keeping an awareness of how much natural light the area in question generally receives might guide your tile selection. A good rule of thumb: bright, well-lit patio areas with copious amounts of sunlight all day long call for a darker tile shade, while brighter tones can be used to elevate a space with less or inconsistent lighting.
Popular tile material to use for outdoor patios
Whether you have a large spacious patio or a compact area, the right tile material can help turn your design goals into a reality — and afford you the opportunity to create a perfect spot where you can escape, unwind and relax.
Patio tile design must be simultaneously performance-driven to last in outdoor environments. It is crucial that you opt for material that’s not only stylish, but also power-packed with extra strength and durability all the while still bringing under-foot comfort like this charming Tribeca Aqua Reclaimed Wood Look Tile.
Natural stone is a term given to a category of tiles made from marble, slate, granite, limestone, and travertine. Each of these tiles is multipurpose and has a different set of strengths and weaknesses. Due to their wondrous natural appeal, stone tiles are the favorite luxury home décor application for homeowners looking for a surface finish that blends seamlessly into the outdoor environment.
However, you’ll pay a bit more for their natural beauty and graceful appearance. Their earthy colors and distinctive textures allow them to keep any design style intact without making anything look out of place.
Looking to add a bit of luxury to your outdoor patio design? Our White Sparkle Waterjet marble mosaic tile add just the right amount of drama and elegance to any exterior space you can dream up!
Marble mosaic tile is pleasing to the eye and lends sophisticated flair that many design enthusiasts love. Because it is slightly less hard and more porous, it requires sealing so that the tiles are able to endure foot traffic and weather extremities.
Marble is available in a dazzling variety of colors — from white to black — with a variety of vein patterns — defined, diffused, streaks, crackle or a combination of all — and looks divine in any area where it is laid. Polished tiles with a slippery surface can prove to be hazardous so slightly textured marble is best suited for external floor base.
The Geo Square Wooden Beige Marble Mosaic Tile easily finds its place in external environments, offering a charming and rustic appearance that’s suited for contemporary, classic, transitional, and modern farmhouse settings. Used as a striking feature on the wall, the Provence Flower Carrara & Wooden Beige Waterjet Mosaic Tile teams beautifully with the floor finish and vibrant emerald seating, creating a cohesive design atmosphere.
Traditional ceramic can hold up well to mild environmental demands, but it isn’t as strong as other outdoor tile options. Because of this, you may want to opt for ceramic tile if you have a covered patio or an exterior space that doesn't see a lot of foot traffic and extreme weather changes, or use them primarily on exterior walls for an outdoor kitchen backsplash.
The golden rule with ceramic is to pick a durable option that carries a PEI rating indicating sufficient strength and external usage. Depending on what you buy, this surface product offers a lot of flexibility in terms of price range.
As they're baked in fiery hot kilns, these clay-based tiles offer a host of features and benefits. Porcelain tiles are incredibly durable and non-porous so cracking caused by weather extremes isn’t an issue. Due to very few holes in their structure, they require little up-keep. In addition , being scratch and fade resistant makes them a highly sought-after solution for homes in cities with very hot summers.
Just as happily as it lives in interior wet areas, you shouldn't need convincing of porcelain tile’s water-repelling properties. Similar to bathroom application requirements, you’ll want your outdoor flooring to have a textured surface to reduce slips and accidents
Create a beautiful, rustic outdoor feature wall with beautiful Brick Brooklyn Natural porcelain tile. This slip resistant tile is an excellent choice for moisture spaces that need to withstand the test of time and weather.
Another outstanding reason for opting for porcelain tile is that it can replicate the appearance of stone, marble, slate, concrete, terrazzo, and hardwood while enduring every climate with ease. Who doesn’t love versatility?
Seamless transition from indoors to outdoors
The versatility of tile material means the party never has to end. Quite literally, you can use porcelain tile to merge your indoor living space to your outdoor patio — a design statement very few floor covering choices can provide. This continuity from the internal environment to the outdoors creates a seamless flow back and forth and gives homeowners the flawless transition that they have always desired.
Now more than ever, creating a space-expanding effect has become top priority across the US. A well executed transitional design allows you to:
- bring the plush, relaxed feel of the interior to the hardscape
- unwind and enjoy nature comfortably in contemporary surrounds
- extend indoor living spaces beyond the physical limitations of walls
- craft a flawless outdoor oasis complete with comfy furniture and soft textiles
Installing the same type of indoor tile material to your outdoor patio is a surefire way to craft a smooth, seamless transition from one space to the other, as seen with this residential design by SAOTA.
Porcelain tiles accomplish all this while remaining functional enough to withstand the elements. The bottom line? Look for interior tile ranges that are also specified for exterior use.
Patio tile care and maintenance
Patio tiles, such as porcelain, need little more than a soft-bristled brush and a bucket of pH neutral cleaning solution and warm water to get its textured surface back to its pristine best. Having moisture-resistant properties means it is very difficult to stain, hence cleaning once or twice a week can keep these tiles look wonderful no matter the season.
If using natural stone such as marble on your patio, a high quality penetrating sealant that doesn’t alter the appearance of stone is imperative as it:
- greatly reduces the porosity of the tile
- guards against the likelihood of stains and moisture damage
- allows easier cleaning and maintenance, ultimately keeping floors looking beautiful for many years.
Outdoor floor tile FAQs
How long will outdoor tile flooring last?
Tile materials such as porcelain have superior durability, making it excellent for outdoor application and can last for many years if properly installed and maintained. On the contrary, poor initial subfloor preparation, installation and aftercare will significantly reduce its lifespan.
Inspired by the traditional herringbone pattern, our 1X3 Equator Herringbone Polished marble mosaic tiles make for an attention grabbing backsplash for outdoor kitchen designs. It’s also an excellent choice for tiled floors due to its slip resistant features.
Is outdoor tile flooring waterproof?
One of the most common questions about choosing outdoor tile is if it can be used in wet spaces. The answer to this question is yes, but there are some specifications that need to be kept in mind depending on your flooring needs. Outdoor tiles come in many options including slate, marble stone, ceramic and porcelain and each tile type needs to be properly installed and maintained to ensure it’s resistance to water. The manufacturing process of porcelain tile makes it densely packed and extremely resilient to water. Its water absorption rate of less than 0.5 percent is a major perk over other flooring alternatives. And for this reason, it is impervious to water.
What’s the best way to cut outdoor tiles?
Tile is a very sturdy material and can withstand a lot of wear. However, if you don’t cut your tiles correctly during installation, they will be much more likely to crack or chip as soon as any pressure or weight is applied.
The most effective and accurate way to cut outdoor tile is to use a wet saw fitted with a specialist, continuous diamond blade. Read more on how to cut tile on our blog to prepare for your next outdoor tile project!
Can my outdoor tile flooring be repaired?
Poorly installed tile can sometimes lead to tile replacement sooner than anticipated. In addition, the tile that’s not specified for outdoor use can reduce performance — and the wear and tear of time can crack, break or loosen it from its rigid formation. Thankfully, repairing your patio to its former glory can be done without impacting the whole floor and is quite cost effective when only have to replace a few tiles
Jump into pool season with a splash of blue tiles! Our Waikiki Beach Blue Mixed Squares glass mosaic pool tiles are sure to add a vibrant look to your patio or pool space and are suitable for floors, backsplashes and fireplace surrounds.
How thick should outdoor tile flooring be to last longer?
The majority of outdoor tiles, often referred to as porcelain paving slabs, are 20mm or 30mm thick. And it is this thickness that also makes it possible to install them on a bed of sand and cement. They are also available in an array of contemporary designs and realistic wood and stone interpretations.
Standard outdoor tiles with 1/2", 3/8", or 5/16" thickness can be used on covered patios with minimal exposure to extreme weather conditions, or on patios not expected to support heavy furniture placement.
Do I need to grout and seal outdoor tile flooring?
Because it is naturally porous, grout needs to be sealed to prolong its consistency and strengthen its defenses against dirt, spills, and erosion.
Not all tiles are built the same — some natural stone materials like marble are more porous than others and will absorb spills and stain fairly easily. To prevent this, periodic sealing is something you'll have to get used to so tiles can withstand the elements and maintain their visual aesthetic and natural charm.
This beautiful whitewashed wood plank style porcelain tile flooring will brighten up your deck just in time for the summer and beyond! Our Retro Blanco Reclaimed Wood Look tile is a durable and stunning option for outdoor living.
Now that you know all about the different types of tile and how to choose the perfect one for your outdoor patio or walkway, it’s time to get started on your design. Be sure to sign up for our free newsletter so you can stay up-to-date on the latest promotions and discounts on tile for your next project. We hope you have fun creating an amazing outdoor living space with beautiful tile!