39 Tips for Using Ceramic Tile Outdoors
Versatility within the “ceramic tile family” (porcelain tile, quarry tile, wall tile, pressed floor tile, and mosaic tile) gives you a wide variety for specifying the appropriate option for your outdoor project. Each of these tile subsets is ceramic tile and thus shares ceramic tile’s general benefits.
For example, ceramic tile is water-resistant, scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, and fade-resistant — ideal for handling weather conditions. Each subset is produced slightly differently and may consequently have additional advantages that lend themselves to specific applications.
Consult a tile professional to choose the best option for your project, including understanding frost-resistant options and the slip-resistance characteristics for your intended use (ever so more important with outdoor surfaces).
Versatility and Style
- A successful outdoor design should flow as a natural extension of the interior footprint. Ceramic tile’s versatility allows you to use the same or similar tile inside and out so that your surface choices create continuity in your design.
- A seemingly endless variety of patterns, shapes, colors, sizes, and textures are available with ceramic tile to answer any aesthetic or functional need.
- Outdoor tile facades are a quick and beautiful way to upgrade a building’s exterior.
- Use ceramic tile patterns in one, two, or multiple colors for a unique look, even with basic tile forms.
- Choose from ceramic tile with traditional outdoor looks such as natural stone, terrazzo, wood, slate, terra cotta, and revamped concrete, or go with a look that contrasts with your outdoor surroundings, such as patterns or bright colors.
- Mosaics, tile fragments, or custom tile printing can create one-of-a-kind outdoor tile murals.
- Countertops in XXL gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs are a particularly popular option for outdoor kitchens and grilling areas because their large size enables them to look like large slabs of natural stone and they can be relied upon to withstand outdoor elements.
- A tile feature wall can enhance the natural beauty of your outdoor living space to give you the opportunity for privacy elements, to upgrade existing structures, and/or to add interest and decorative focus to architectural exteriors.
- Handmade ceramic tile looks give a space an artisanal vibe that looks at home with Mother Nature.
- Create long-lasting oversized planters, benches, desks, tables, and other custom furniture with ceramic tile for your outdoor space.
- 2 cm porcelain pavers can be placed on the ground for a trending grass or stone grid.
- Even in the face of constant exposure to everyday yard debris and weather, outdoor tile will serve you for decades with scratch, dent, stain, scuff, water, fade, and flame resistance.
- If your area has freeze-thaw conditions, choose a tile with the appropriate frost resistance.
- Use tile in an outdoor kitchen for durable protection against weather and cooking stains.
- Tile‘s baked-in color won’t fade from the sun or from pool chemicals.
- Tile on a rooftop terrace provides a durable entertainment space and also extra roof protection.
- Use wood-look ceramic tile for a patio and never worry about restaining or replacing damaged wood in your outdoor space.
- Ceramic tile is flame-resistant for beautiful outdoor fireplaces.
- Historic ceramic tile has withstood centuries of wear in some of our most treasured indoor and outdoor spaces, so you can trust that your outdoor installations will last.
- Properly installed and maintained ceramic tile can form a full waterproof system that protects your construction, including your swimming pool and outdoor water features.
- Cleaning ceramic tile is as easy as water alone; just sweep and wipe down. No harsh chemicals (that could damage surrounding foliage) are necessary.
- Ceramic tile requires very little maintenance, ideal for maintaining vacation homes where you might not be there year-round.
- Ceramic tile can be quickly cleaned for spaces that need fast hygienic turnovers for multiple uses.
- Ceramic tile’s stain, scratch, and fade resistance stands up to the heavy lawn furniture, grills, and falling limbs of outdoor living spaces and still looks beautiful.
Health and Safety
- Choose a tile with a slip-resistant category appropriate for your outdoor space. Ceramic tile is the only surface material that provides these categories to be sure you make a choice appropriate for your use.
- Ceramic tile won’t melt or give off toxic gases when exposed to the heat of the sun or flame from a fire pit.
- Look for ceramic tile product use classification of Exterior Wet (EW) slip resistance for outdoor pool surrounds.
- Ceramic tile’s resistance to mold, mildew, and bacteria helps keep your pool clean and healthy.
- Ceramic tile creates a walkway as beautiful and durable as your inside and outside living areas, plus you can choose the appropriate slip resistance category for your design.
- North American ceramic tile is a safe choice for the planet, having the lowest Global Warming Potential and the lowest Fossil Fuel Resource Depletion as compared to other flooring.
- Because ceramic tile is made of naturally occurring materials, you can build alongside nature without concern of introducing harmful materials and toxins into the earth.
- Building with sustainable ceramic tile can help qualify your structure for LEED and other green building credits.
- The easily recognizable Green Squared Certified® mark helps architects, designers, and consumers choose products that meet a broad range of sustainability criteria. With so many different brands of green today, Green Squared® certification provides authenticity that the product certified is the real deal.
- Using Green Squared Certified® ceramic tile for public outdoor spaces affords you an opportunity to respond to specific government RFP requirements for building green.
Purchasing and Installing
- When calculating a tile quantity for purchase, factor in an additional 10% for extra pieces to match patterns and to go around obstacles.
- Ceramic tile has the lowest life-cycle cost of other flooring options because of its long life and low maintenance.
- Qualified tile installers are important for tile installations that will last a lifetime.
- Use the search tool at the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) to find a ceramic tile showroom in your area for a more individualized one-on-one shopping, design and education experience, or visit a home improvement or flooring retailer.
- Ceramic tile artisans can transform your outdoor spaces into works of art.
Explore more outside tile ideas through our Pinterest collections and then — get outside!
Author: Cynthia Faber Smith
Cynthia Faber Smith is responsible for the design and writing/editing of marketing content at the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), as well as photography and videography for TCNA communications. Cindy also serves as chief editor and art director for WhyTile.com. Prior to joining TCNA in 2018, Cindy served as senior editorial staff for Highlights for Children, Science Magazine, and The White House Executive Office.