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Flooring

11 min read

The Unique Look of Outdoor Tiles

Flooring

11 min read

The Unique Look of Outdoor Tiles

FlooringThe Unique Look of Outdoor Tiles

Tiles suit just about every surface, from kitchen to bathroom, floor to ceiling. Nowadays, they’re also a popular choice for backyards. To achieve a clean, refined look, tiles can be used to embellish porches, surround pools, and revamp flat roofs to design a scenic rooftop terrace.

As far as current trends are concerned, outdoor ceramic tiles are used to stylishly revamp backyards. After years spent admiring Mediterranean courtyards from afar, you can now tile your yard with materials specifically designed to withstand our harsh Canadian winters. 

The Different Types of Outdoor Tiles

outdoor tiles

Source: Canva

Natural stone, porcelain, faux wood…outdoor tiles are available in countless shapes, all of which are aesthetically pleasing. With the myriad of options out there, one can go about designing the exact setting they had in mind. Tiles, with their distinctive looks, suit just about any and all architectural styles. So, without further ado, here’s a selection of outdoor tiles to consider. 

Outdoor Porcelain Tiles

This type of tile is quickly becoming the go-to product favoured by high-end outdoor setting industry experts who, with reason, consider porcelain tiles the best option for their clients seeking a unique look, yet refuse to cut corners in terms of design. These tiles are luxurious and comfortable to tread on barefoot, conveying an absolutely contemporary look, thus swiftly transforming outdoor living spaces.

Noteworthy: MSI Stone ULC Niagara Frost floor tiles. These 12-inch x 12-inch tiles can be laid on walls and floors, and adequately resist frost.

What’s the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

While outdoor ceramic tiles are much talked about, the majority of tiles laid in backyards are made with porcelain. They’re much more solid compared to ceramic tiles, considering they’re baked at higher temperatures, and made with sandstone, ceramic, and clay. Therefore, they’re more resistant to harsh weather conditions. For these reasons, they might just be the best option in terms of outdoor tiles. Not only can porcelain tiles withstand Canada’s harsh weather, but such tiles offer near-endless possibilities where pavers once had limitations. 

Faux Wood Outdoor Tiles 

outdoor tiles

Source: Canva

Faux wood tiles are perfect to convey a Scandinavian- and rustic-inspired setting, while also suiting a Zen vibe for undeniable appeal. Glazed stoneware tiles are rather great in terms of value for money while also being low maintenance. These tiles are also available in a natural stone-like finish. 

Noteworthy: The Treverkview Collection, made in Italy, captures the timeless appeal of oak in four classic shades. These tiles perfectly replicate the effect of wood flooring due to its length-wise shape and realistic veining to convey a natural and cozy look. Retails for $7.99 per sq. ft.

Natural Stone Tiles

Natural stone tiles have a raw granite finish which isn’t likely to wear anytime soon. Ideally used in high foot traffic areas, they can withstand scratches and are low maintenance. 

Noteworthy: Enigma tiles, more specifically Artic Marble, with its polished finish conveying a standout outdoor living space. Retails for $10.05 per sq. ft.

Slate Tiles

We especially appreciate the appeal of slate due to its rich, golden, rust-coloured, green, or blue shades. Slate is timeless, always worthwhile, and valued as flooring, but also for outdoor fireplaces. Its use opens the door to a lot of possibilities and adds indescribable appeal to just about any architectural style. Its natural look withstands wear and seamlessly blends in with any patio furniture colour.

Noteworthy: MSI tiles since they’re particularly easy to install, interlocking seamlessly. This type of quality tile allows for a professional-looking, super-refined result. We especially like its natural-like, split-face finish that reveals subtle, varied shades. Retails for $12.48 per sq. ft.

Also noteworthy: Slate Montauk tiles. This collection of Brazilian slate is available in several tile formats, with a texture that’s both subtle and elegant. Retail starts at $6.99 per sq. ft.

Wall Tiles

outdoor tiles

Source: Canva

Wall tiles are a new alternative to conventional wall treatments. They’re easy to clean, with a ton of options when it comes to finishes and colours, which is undeniably contributing to its success.

Noteworthy: LifeProof wall and floor tiles in Quartzite or Revere Wood finishes. Retail starts at $3.54 per sq. ft.

Anti-Slip Outdoor Tiles

These tiles are 50% more slip-proof than slip-resistant tiles found on the market, which makes for a wise choice for all non-covered outdoor surfaces and those edging around a pound. These tiles are also water-, stain-, and scratch-resistant—they’re perfectly suited for bustling households. They’re also low maintenance. Therefore, you can make the most of their use, without safety concerns. 

Noteworthy: LifeProof range of products given its varied finishes: faux wood, natural stone effect, polished concrete, etc. This quality product is anti-slip, and blends the look of stone, the authenticity of quartzite, and the durability of porcelain. Retail starts at $3.54 per sq. ft.

Especially noteworthy: The stunning hexagonal mosaic tiles with a quartzite finish from LifeProof. Retails for $7.22 per 10-inch x 12-inch tile.

NOTE: Avoid very light shades like beige in especially sun-drenched areas as the tile could have an unpleasant glare.

The Benefits of Backyard Outdoor Tiles

outdoor tiles

Source: Canva

In all honesty, your outdoor space is on display for all to see. For those who are invited into your backyard, it serves as a sneak peek of what your indoor space holds. If you enjoy stunning guests, outdoor tiles are an excellent alternative to conventional landscaping options. 

Here’s a list of outdoor tile benefits:

Designs that transcend one’s imagination

Whether modern, traditional, or rustic in style, and regardless of the aesthetic you’re seeking for your project, outdoor tiles are a great option to consider. These tiles are prestigious and of noteworthy quality, and facilitate a seamless transition between your home and backyard. 

Impressive durability 

Contrary to popular belief, outdoor tiles are far from fragile. Designed to meet stringent manufacturing standards and tailored to their intended environment, these tiles are made with sturdy and resilient materials, effectively withstanding physical impacts and bad weather.

Wear-resistant

Made with durable materials like porcelain and natural stone, outdoor tiles are suited for high foot traffic areas, while also resistant to scratches that may have been caused by patio furniture or furry, four-legged friends. Lastly, the sun has no power over them. These tiles don’t lighten, darken, or fade over time; they maintain their beautiful finish.  

Safe option

outdoor tiles

Source: Canva

Porcelain stoneware is among the most used materials to manufacture outdoor tiles. Not only is it solid, but it also has the added benefit of having a non-slip surface, which limits the risks of accidents. Go for anti-slip (unpolished) tiles. A damp or snow-covered outdoor living space can quickly turn into a makeshift ice rink!

Withstand sudden temperature changes

Tiles intended for outdoor use have to be especially well-suited to the elements. Therefore, choose products that can withstand very cold temperatures, snow build-up, intense sunshine, and sudden temperature changes. Some types of tiles have the added benefit of withstanding even the most extreme weather conditions. 

Surprisingly low maintenance

A lot of outdoor flooring options are rather difficult to upkeep. Some products need to be repainted, while others stain easily. Some will be overrun by weeds, while others will deteriorate as soon as a treatment is delayed or its surface is improperly maintained. 

Outdoor tile surfaces can be easily cleaned and don’t require any particular upkeep. A quick mopping using a bit of soapy water is all that’s needed to restore their gloss.

A long-term investment

At first glance, porcelain tiles exude an air of luxury—evident not only by the looks of them but, at times, by their accompanying price tags. Yet, among the range of products retailed, options cater to all budgets. Also, note that by doing your research, you may be able to benefit from a few worthwhile deals. However, beware of skimping on quality and make sure the product chosen is truly suited for its intended use. 

No matter the product you choose, outdoor tiles are durable, which makes for a worthy investment. 

How to Lay Outdoor Tiles

outdoor tiles

Source: Canva

Step 1: Check the water runoff

Start by ensuring that there’s a 1.5° slope in place, facilitating effective rainwater drainage. 

Step 2: Clean

The section of the yard that will be tiled must be clean and devoid of any irregularities. Preparation may include eventually levelling the ground, applying a layer of bitumen prior to pouring the slab or stabilizing the yard. 

Step 3: Tile layout

This step consists of aligning a tile against the wall, and from that point, drawing a parallel line. Then, draw a perpendicular line to that line, at the centre of the wall. Now, proceed to lay your tiles, starting with the first set of tiles lined up against the wall, following the marked angle, and continuing with a second set along the perpendicular line.  

OUR TIP: At the risk of ending up with an irregular linear path, don’t start tiling at one of the corners.

Step 4: Adhesive

Mix the adhesive to obtain a uniform mixture. Carefully lay your tile and secure it with a rubber mallet. Insert tile spacers between each tile to configure the grout joints. This ensures there’s ample space between each tile to accommodate expansion joints for temperature variations.

OUR TIP: Use a premium polymer-modified tile mortar. The latter is both robust and supple, therefore less likely to crack when exposed to bad weather. Tile mortar used for indoor tiling is clearly not made for outdoor use, especially when considering Canada’s harsh climate.

Step 5: Grout joints

Once the tiles are laid, wait a day before grouting. Spread the mortar using a margin float while ensuring the gaps over the entire tile surface are properly filled. Then, clean the surface using a damp sponge. 

PRO TIP: If you’ve chosen rectangular-shaped tiles, there are more options available to you. You can lay your tiles perpendicular or parallel to the house. But you can also offset each tile by half, or you can design an aesthetic edging.  

Outdoor Tiling FAQ

outdoor tiles

Source: Canva

When should you install outdoor tiles?

If you’ve already laid tiles indoors, needless to say, it’s a craft that requires accuracy. Note that installing outdoor tiles happens to be a bit more of a complex undertaking, and since installer rates can be quite steep, you may be tempted toward the DIY route for this one!

Prior to installing the outdoor tiles, you first must ensure the mortar base or structure is solid. Outdoors, one has to account for water infiltration and plan for an appropriate drainage solution. You also have to pick the right day to undertake such a project. 

As Yanick Dupré, of Dupré Carrelage, mentioned, “Outdoor tiling should be done in temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius [for the mortar, Ed.], and shielded from bad weather.”

Furthermore, avoid especially humid or sunny days. Due to the particular makings of adhesive, avoid installing tiles under the beating sun. Favour slightly overcast days since direct sun exposure may have negative repercussions on the adhesive. If working in a shaded area isn’t an option, consider using patio umbrellas or tiling during a period of the day when the sun isn’t beating down as hard.
 

TIP: The more experienced tradesperson will confirm the following: large-format tiles are easier to install compared to small-sized tiles. And, it so happens oversized tiles are all the rage! Look for 24-inch x 24-inch tiles or even 32-inch x 32-inch. 

How should you clean outdoor tiles?

One of the biggest advantages of outdoor tiles is their low maintenance factor. As such, most often, you’ll simply need to clean the tiles using a damp cloth or mop and soapy water.

Over time, your patio may need a deep clean, that is, after a few memorable barbecues or as a result of darkened grout joints. In such cases, opt for specially-made outdoor tile cleaning products. 

Here are several tips to effectively tackle tough stains and prevent dirt from lodging between the tiles.

  1. In a litre of warm water, mix half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of white vinegar. Add a cap of household black soap and scrub the stained areas. Rinse with clean water. 

  2. Use a pressure washer, gently so as to not damage the surface of the tiles.

  3. Add bleach and a cup of salt to the lukewarm water and scrub vigorously. Rinse with clean water.

  4. To bleach the grout joints, add half a litre of warm water, half a cup of white vinegar, and half a cup of lemon juice, then give the surface a good scrubbing.

  5. Mix baking soda with a bit of water to obtain a paste. Apply to the tiles and rinse with clean water. 

  6. To clean an oil stain, pour citric acid on the affected area and allow it to take effect for 30 minutes before cleaning.

  7. To successfully clean a cement stain, use white vinegar. 

  8. To effectively clean a paint or ink stain, soap a cloth in rubbing alcohol and scrub.

  9. For lodged dirt, try pouring potato water onto the surface!

OUR TIP: Avoid cleaning outdoor tiles with strippers or household cleaners with high levels of hydrofluoric acid. Also, steer clear of oily products that could potentially leave a film on the tiles.

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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