If you’re considering upgrading your outdoor space, the end of summer is a great time to plan. With the prime outdoor entertaining season just around the corner, now is the time to cultivate your green space. Whether you are looking to spruce up your patio, deck or walkway, outdoor tile elevates both the aesthetic and function of outdoor space. An outdoor space is an extension of your home. Outdoor tiles are authentic floor coverings in landscaping, tying the natural setting to your home design. They are also versatile, easy to install and can withstand outdoor elements.
Using a blend of outdoor tiles, gravel or rocks, and landscaping, you can design a beautifully dynamic, multi-purpose space.But how do you know what tile will withstand those elements? First, purchase tiles designed for outdoor use. Second, consider the following factors when selecting tile for outdoor projects.
Location and Purpose
Some materials can withstand elements and traffic better than others. Thus knowing how and where you plan to use the tile is essential to selecting a durable material. Additionally, if you are building a seating area complete with furniture, you need to choose materials with a level surface. However, if you do not need to place furniture atop the tile, a textured tile offers a rustic look and feel.
Natural, earthy materials make the most sense in outdoor environments. Examples include quartzite, sandstone, slate, limestone and some travertines. These tiles perfectly blend nature with elegance.
Weather and Exposure Considerations
Not only do natural, earthen materials look more authenticate in outdoor environments than others, they are also much more durable and can withstand harsher elements. Be sure to consider the area where the tile will be going in. What are the lighting conditions? Is it in direct sunlight or bright lights at night? Perhaps the area is well-shaded? These factors can guide you as you select color palettes. In brighter spaces, a darker earth hue will better accentuate the space. In more shaded areas, a lighter tile will brighten the space.
You’ll also need to consider the climate in your area. If you experience frequent freezes (and subsequent thaws) or excessive temperatures, you’ll need to consider the tile choice in relation. A climate that will produce wet conditions requires a material that absorbs little water — like slate, granite and porcelain — to increase durability. Should you opt for a tile with a higher rate of water absorption —like sandstone, concrete or limestone — you risk cracking during a freeze.
Outdoor tiles are larger and have less grout than indoor tiles which means that they have more surface area and less traction. Slip resistance is of high importance when considering floor tiles, especially on projects involving water components like pools, fountains or uncovered areas susceptible to slickness during rainy periods. Ideally, opt for an abrasively textured tile with grit to increase traction when wet.
As you design your outdoor aesthetic, think about your spaces as an extension of your home. If your home has pops of color, mimic this with neutral tiles and colorful accents like plants, vases, pillows or mosaic tiles. Contrast is very appealing to the eye and will break up monotonous neutral colors. One popular option is mosaic accent tiles which instantly lend character and contrast to a space. These can be installed as accents in floor or wall tile or even on furniture like an outdoor table.
Once you’ve picked your tile, be sure to seal the area properly to protect tile and maximize performance. If you are preparing the project layout and undertaking installation yourself, make sure to follow a guideline of laying outdoor tiles. When you select a tile after giving these considerations thought, your patio can be functional and low maintenance for quite a few years.