Installing outdoor tiles is much the same as the installing indoor tiles process. The only real difference is that outdoor tiles are subject to standing water and weather so have to avoid any gaps or air spaces where water may get under the tiles. Popular outdoor tiles for exterior use include ceramic, porcelain and stone. Most outdoor patio tiles are unglazed to prevent them becoming slippery when wet. Exterior floor tiles require a solid concrete base and outdoor wall tiles need a firm substrate. Before laying tiles you need to ensure all surfaces are clean and sound, floor areas must be level for floor tiles so a floor-levelling compound can be used to even out the surface.
The tile layout should be planned to minimise cuts and set using an exterior mortar, applying mortar to the surface as well as to the back of the tiles to prevent air spaces beneath. As you place the tiles tap them lightly with a rubber mallet and once all the tiles are in place remove any excess mortar. The floor tiles should be covered with plastic sheeting for 24 hours until the mortar is set. Once completed an acrylic grout sealer can be applied if using porous tile. If tiles were laid on existing concrete expansion joint you can use a grout mixed with a latex to grout the tiles. Exterior tiles are commonly ceramic, porcelain, quarry or stone.
Ceramic tiles come in many colours, shapes and sizes. They are the most commonly used tiles indoors and out. When they are used outside they need to be very hard with a high PEI rating for hardness and durability. For outdoor use you should also choose unglazed tiles as glazed ceramic tiles are extremely slippery when wet. Unglazed ceramic tiles need to be sealed when used outdoors to prevent staining. Porcelain tiles are more naturally suitable for outdoor use than ceramic tiles.
They not mildew or stain, as they absorb much less water and are near waterproof. Quarry tiles are unglazed clay tiles which are very tough and work well outdoors for patio use. Unlike ceramic and porcelain tiles, quarry tiles are only found in earth tone colours like red, brown or grey. Their unglazed surface provides good grip even when wet but they are tougher to clean than other types of tiles. Sandstone tiles are available in white, tan, red, grey, and brown. A softer stone so easy to shape and cut, sandstone is still strong and durable. The only drawback is that sandstone is one of the most porous stones so will absorb a lot of water and needs sealing to keep it waterproof.
Granite tiles are one of the strongest and most durable of all the stone tiles, naturally waterproof they will not stain or absorb oils like many other materials, even without sealing. They are extremely scratch resistant, easy to clean and almost impenetrable to bacteria. Limestone tiles are easy to cut and work with but strong and durable. However limestone tiles need to be properly sealed as they are porous and susceptible to damage by acids. Slate tiles are natural stone tiles which are mostly grey in colour. Their natural uneven surface is very slip resistant but slate is not suitable for use in freezing temperatures. Rubber Tiles are the easy way to have a soft slip resistant area without spending a fortune, they may not have the beauty of other outdoor tiles, but they are cheap and extremely tough.
The cost of exterior tiling by professional tilers is usually priced by the square metre, typically around £30-£60 depending on the type of tiles and the surface preparation required. To get an exact quote for an outdoor tiled area, please click on the "post your job" button on this page to have local tilers and tiling companies near you get in touch with you to arrange a survey and written price breakdown.