The nice weather tempts us to spend as much time outside as possible. No matter if you like sipping coffee by the pool, reading a book on your patio or cooking dinner in your outdoor kitchen, you deserve a stable floor to step on. Choosing the best tiles for your outdoor facilities is a tough task and there is no right or wrong decision, since it is quite personal. It depends on the style you like, the budget you have, the space where you are going to use exterior tiles, and even on things that are beyond your control like the weather conditions.
We can summarize that the three most important features that you should be looking for in outdoor tiles are: durability, as less water absorption as possible and having a non-slip surface. Price and quality and the ratio between them is also of great importance. Choosing the material from a reliable brand and buying it from a shop, that you personally visit or an online store, that offers help and advice is by all means a good move.
The most important thing related to choosing the best outdoor tiles, however, is having the ability to make an informed decision. You need to know the different types of tiles available on the market and their main features, so that you can decide which ones meet all or most of your criteria. Therefore, today we are going to briefly present you some of the most popular outdoor tiles in an attempt to ease your decision.
Outdoor natural stone tiles
When it comes to outdoor projects the ultimate solution is to opt for natural stone tiles. They have many advantages but most notably they are durable, beautiful and versatile. Since there is a great variety of natural stones it means that you can find the right one for your outdoor job. The good thing is that most of the stone tiles are universal and can be used for almost every project both outside and inside. Natural stone tiles are ideal if you would like to have consistency between your internal house décor and your garden facilities. Since most stones also come in many various shades, it means that you can pick up your favourite stone and play with its nuances or different finishes in order to achieve a melange outlook. Below you will find a list of the top 5 stones that are suitable for almost any outdoor project:
- Granite tiles - granite is the strongest of all natural stones and is perfect for outdoor usage. It is extremely durable, waterproof and resistant to bacteria and scratches. Granite tiles are suitable for areas with heavy usage since the stone won't chip or crack and it is easy to clean and maintain. Its main colour is grey, however you can find it in different shades from pale to dark and even come across pink and black granite. Granite tiles are among the most expensive on the market.
- Travertine tiles - this is one of the most luxury looking outdoor type of tiles that you can get. Due to its subtle brownish to creamy colours, travertine matches easily with almost any outdoor décor. The natural surface of the stone is uneven and covered in small pits which makes it non-slippery. Of you prefer, however, these small holes can be filled. Travertine is excellent for wet areas such as the pool and also good for covering steps, patios or any other walking areas. One of its amazing qualities is that it stays cool even in quite hot weather and walking barefooted on it is quite pleasant. Travertine also withstands cold and doesn't crack in freezing temperatures.
- Limestone tiles - this is one of the builder's preferred material since Ancient times because it is both easy to cut and form while strong and durable. Limestone comes in various shades of grey, tan, brown and red and is symbolic of the rustic atmosphere it creates no matter if used indoors or outdoors. It is very suitable for places with hot weather since the stone tiles reflect the sun and keep cool even when it is warm outside. The stone is quite porous and can be scratched or damaged by acids, therefore it should be properly sealed. Limestone tiles are easy to clean and maintain.
- Slate tiles - this stone is often used outdoors due to its uneven slip resistant surface and water resistance. One of the main colours associated with slate is grey, however the stone can be found in different shades from orange to black. Slate is good in wet conditions and is often used as wall and floor tiles for outdoor showers. When you install the tiles you should take into account that they may vary in thickness so the surface formed by them may not be even. Slate can scratch or stain if not properly sealed and enhanced and is not good for places with freezing temperatures;
- Marble tiles - marble is one of the most popular stones used for flooring indoors and can also be an interesting solution as exterior tiles. While you are free to choose any colour that best matches your design ideas, steer clear from polished tiles. Polished stones, and especially marble, are very slippery and not suitable for outdoor usage. You should opt for tumbled or sandblasted marble. High quality marble tiles will be an excellent addition for any outdoor construction – from the pool area to the outdoor shower and kitchen.
- Other – there are some other natural stones, which are also popular for outdoor usage like sandstone, soapstone or flagstone. They might not be among the top five choices, however being a strong natural material with excellent aesthetic qualities makes them worth considering.
Concrete outdoor tiles
Concrete is a budget-friendly solution for those who like the look of natural stones but cannot afford them at the moment. During its manufacturing concrete tiles can be made in different shapes by using molds. Concrete tiles can even be made to resemble wooden tiles. It is even possible to make your own concrete tiles if you are fond of DIY projects. You need to purchase concrete and molds and some cement colouring dye to make the tiles look as real as possible. Concrete tiles can withstand high traffic but should be properly sealed and treated to prevent it from stains, mildew and moisture.
Outdoor porcelain tiles
Outdoor porcelain tiles
Porcelain tiles are extremely versatile and very well fitted for outdoor usage. They have very low water absorption and are considered almost waterproof. Due to the high temperature used for their manufacturing, porcelain tiles are denser and stronger than ceramic tiles and even than some stone. They are also heat and cold resistant and can withstand quite low temperatures. They are easy to maintain since they will not mildew or stain. Porcelain tiles absorb dye easily and can be made in a way to resemble natural stone tiles. Thus you can get the natural look of the stone at a lower price. Porcelain tiles are not slippery and are suitable even in wet conditions, which makes them a good choice for the area around the pool or for steps. If you choose these tiles for your outdoor project you will have beautiful and strong tiles that come in many colours and at good rates.
Ceramic tiles for outdoor usage
Decorative ceramic tiles
Ceramic tiles come in very different shapes, colours and patterns, however their outdoor usage is a bit limited. They are intended for areas with light use and are not as durable as porcelain tiles. Ceramic tiles are an excellent choice for wall decorations and not so much for floors. Make sure to purchase such tiles that are manufactured for outdoor usage. Ceramic tiles are a good way to add some attractive colours or patterns to your outdoor kitchen, for example. You can even opt for handmade tiles that will make your project unique but will most probably add a bit to the overall cost.
Outdoor quarry tiles
Quarry tiles are unglazed clay tiles that are quite durable and suitable for patios. They are stronger than porcelain and ceramic tiles but come in much less shades – mainly red, brown or grey. These nuances, however, are very useful if you would like to recreate the much loved Mediterranean look. They have low water absorption rate and due to the rough unglazed surface quarry tiles are suitable for wet areas and for covering steps. One of their disadvantages is that they are prone to stains and it could be quite hard to clean them.
Outdoor carpet tiles
Most probably this is the most exotic option that you have come up with when looking for outdoor tiles. The carpet is something that we usually choose for indoor decoration. Unlike the standard carpet that comes in rolls, however, the carpet tiles are cut into individual squares. Thus they are very easy to replace with new or change one of it is damaged. You can easily place them or take them out and clean them. The carpet tiles that are specially made for outdoor usage are usually UV resistant, easy to clean and resistant to odors and stains. The way you install them depends on the brand – peel and stick, interlock or by means of adhesive tape. They can be installed over other surfaces and since they are non-slip carpet tiles are ideal for stairs, patios, back porches and outdoor constructions such as working sheds, gazebos or even around the pool.
Outdoor rubber tiles
Rubber tiles are the best solution when you need a non-slippery but softer surface. They can be used as patio tiles covering concrete or deck tiles. Rubber tiles are extremely useful for households with children since they can be placed under swings or in other play areas and prevent kids from injuries when they fall. Rubber tiles are also good for wet areas since water can drain through them so they are ideal for preventing accidents near the pool or on steps. It is pretty easy to install them since they are interlocking and no adhesive or other special tools are needed. Rubber tiles are also suitable for elderly people as walking on them is easier for the back, knees and joints. Since they can also be used inside make sure to specify that you are looking for outdoor rubber tiles when shopping.
Outdoor deck tiles
Outdoor deck tiles are an interlocking option that allows you to recreate a real decking feel on your patio without much effort or high cost. The tiles snap together and you do not need any tools to install them. They can be placed directly over a concrete or any other flat surface. Deck tiles made from authentic wood are a luxury addition near the pool area. You can choose between cherry, teak, acacia, oak, ipe or other wood types. There are even versions made from recycled plastic or stone. The wooden tiles are not only beautiful and coming in various shades but most of them are insect, water and heat resistant, which makes them very suitable for outdoor usage.
Plastic interlocking outdoor tiles
Colourful plastic interlocking tiles
Plastic interlocking outdoor tiles are one of the most popular tiles used for covering patios, balconies, steps and areas near the pool since they have textured grip that prevents from slipping and falling. Besides the tiles are perforated so any water drains away. One of the other advantages is that they are very easy to install and you do not need any special skills, instruments or a professional to do the job. Plastic tiles are made from durable materials and can withstand adverse weather conditions such as heat and freezing cold and a lot of wear and tear. They are also easy to clean and replace if need be.
As a conclusion we will urge you to be bold and take your style outside your house. Select the perfect outdoor tiles for your garden, pool area, patio or gazebo and enjoy the combination of beauty, design and practicality. If you have opted for natural stone tiles, we will be more than glad to give you some additional advice and assist you with the final decision. Give us a call or come and visit us in York if you need some assistance with your outdoor project.