Using tiles in your outdoor spaces creates a trim and neat aesthetic while also allowing you to get creative with colours and patterns for a personal and unique touch. Other exciting benefits of using tiles outdoors is that they provide a simple to clean surface finish that is also safe to walk on, especially in wet environments where muddy yards can be an issue. There are several different material options available to choose from, each with its own range of benefits as well as cleaning techniques, from decorative ceramic tile to sturdy porcelain as well as natural stone and concrete outdoor tile options. It is crucial to understand the key differences between each material when choosing outdoor tiles while also paying attention to the material’s most suitable application and the recommended maintenance advice in order to ensure a selection that will best suit your lifestyle and needs.
TYPES OF OUTDOOR TILES
When selecting your new outdoor tiles, it is essential to take note of the many different tile materials available and their most suitable applications. Each different tile material will also require different cleaning and care techniques in order to ensure the product’s longevity in your outdoor design which is another key factor to take into consideration when making your final tile selections.
Ceramic Tiles: Ceramic tiles are often softer and thinner than other options, making them an excellent choice for wall use instead of as a floor finish.
Ornate, decorative ceramic wall tiles such as our Archaic collection have traditionally been used as a colourful feature element in covered outdoor spaces. Although these tiles should not be exposed to the elements, they can still be used as a decorative touch in a covered outdoor area to add character to your overall design scheme.
Although you may find some collections of ceramic tiles available for outdoor use, these are often restricted for applications that are undercover and not exposed to the elements. These tiles are ideal as a decorative feature wall tile, making them an excellent choice for covered outdoor kitchen, dining or living spaces to add a touch of colour and pattern to your overall design scheme.
Porcelain Tiles: You will find an extensive range of porcelain tile options that are suitable for outdoor use with designs offering near perfect replicas of concrete or natural stone products, as well as timber. These tiles are thick and durable, making them an excellent fit as a flooring option. Porcelain tiles that are specifically designed for outdoor use will also feature a slip resistant surface finish, making them ideal for outdoor areas to ensure safety.
Designed to create a realistic timber finish for outdoor spaces, our Woodtech porcelain tiles are incredibly durable and long lasting: the perfect alternative to traditional timber decking!
Glass Tiles: Glass tiles are available in an astonishing range of colours and shapes; the selections available are absolutely endless! These sleek, non-porous tiles can often be used as pool tiles, being strong and durable enough to be completely submerged in water while also providing bold colour choices and patterns for the home. Although not suitable as a floor tile (especially outdoors!) glass tiles make for a stylish and timeless feature element both in pools as well as outdoor garden wall applications, allowing you to create completely custom and highly detailed designs such as patterns or murals in a wide combination of colours.
Bisazza Blends 20 includes a range of stylish, glimmering glass mosaic pool tiles in a versatile 20 x 20mm size. These stunning tiles use Bisazza’s unique hotmelt mounting system to ensure absolute tile adhesion to your outdoor pool’s flooring and walls for a lifetime of use.
Natural Stone Tiles: Natural stone tiles that are suitable for outdoor use often include options in granite, travertine, slate, soapstone, limestone and sandstone. These can usually be used as a flooring solution, making for a luxurious and long lasting surface finish in outdoor patios, walkways and living spaces. As these materials are all porous however, they do require regular sealing to ensure they are properly protected. Furthermore, they are best avoided in climates where your outdoor space will be prone to freezing conditions as moisture can make its way into the pores of the tiles, freeze solid and then thaw out, which can result in cracking and instability within the tile’s structure.
Terracotta Tiles: Similar to natural stone tiles, terracotta tiles are also porous and will require sealing. These tiles too should best be avoided in climates that are prone to freezing in order to ensure a quality finish over time. In more moderate climates however, terracotta tiles have always been a popular choice, providing a strong sense of warmth and colour with their earthy and rustic charm.
Hand made using traditional techniques in Mexico, the Prato Terracotta tiles are available in a range of exciting shapes. Each piece is unique to the next, offering an authentic charm and warm aesthetic to your outdoor spaces.
Concrete Tiles: A popular tile solution for outdoor spaces, concrete tiles are available in a vast range of options from sleek and modern deep charcoal tones and greys that show the material’s raw form to more traditional colourfully patterned tile options (often referred to as encaustic tiles). Again, similar to natural stone tiles, these too are a porous material that will require sealing and is best avoided in climates that experience freezing temperatures. Their timeless charm and elegant beauty ensure that concrete tiles have remained a favourite option though in more moderate climates, being used to decorate walkways, patios and outdoor living spaces for a warm and elegant look.
HOW TO CLEAN OUTDOOR TILES
Your outdoor tiles will experience rain, hail and hot direct sunlight, so making sure they are well maintained is a must. Depending on which material you have selected to use in your outdoor setting, different cleaning methods are required. You will find detailed information specific to each tile’s material in our Resources Page.
Porcelain tiles for example are non-porous so will not require sealing while porous materials such as natural stone, terracotta and concrete will. You can easily maintain your outdoor tiles by simply rinsing them off with water and tile cleansers that are specific to the tile’s material (our showroom consultants will be able to recommend the most suitable cleansers for your tile selections).
It should be noted though that as our outdoor spaces are exposed to the elements, extra care should be taken to avoid damage to any tile material. After rain, water that has pooled on the surface of your outdoor floor tiles should be swept away to avoid damage to the tiles and grout. Garden debris (fallen leaves, etc.) should also be swept off the surface of your outdoor floor tiles to avoid any potential staining, marking or discolouration as should animal dropping which can damage the tile’s sealant and colour.
When selecting your new outdoor tiles, taking note of the tile’s material and recommended application is the best way to narrow down your options and find that perfect look! Our design consultants can assist you in the creation of the perfect design scheme and colour palette for your outdoor renovation project with a wide range of solutions available for outdoor walkways, kitchens, living spaces and pool areas. Visit out tiles showroom in Richmond or shop for tiles online with our free virtual design consultation service!