Spending time outdoors has incredible benefits for your mental and physical health. And what could be nicer than creating your own outdoor oasis (complete with gorgeous tile, of course!) where you can sip your morning coffee, enjoy meals with your family, or simply sit and bask in the surrounding nature? In this blog post, we’ll discuss considerations to keep in mind, talk about the best patio tile materials, and share our favorite picks for outdoor tile.
The Best Patio Tile Materials
Let’s start off by discussing the materials you should consider for outdoor patio tile!
Porcelain is an excellent tile material to use outdoors because it’s strong, dense, and durable. You might be surprised to learn that most porcelain tiles rated for indoor flooring use are also hardy enough for patio applications! The key is to look for porcelain tiles with a matte or textured finish. Polished porcelain isn’t a good choice for the outdoors because it can become quite slippery when wet.
Another reason that porcelain is well-suited for outdoor use is that it doesn’t absorb water. Thanks to this characteristic, porcelain tiles do well even in areas that experience freeze/thaw cycles. Some other materials that do absorb water are prone to cracking and can only be used in very consistently temperate climates.
As if you weren’t sold on porcelain already, this material comes in tons of colors, shapes, designs, and patterns. It can even replicate the appearance of other materials, like natural stone. Plus, it’s low-maintenance and doesn’t require much upkeep. All that's necessary is to sweep up debris and wash the tile with a suitable cleaning solution once in a while. Even spraying down porcelain tile with a hose is often enough to keep it looking great.
Quarry tile is made from dense, unglazed clay. It’s extremely strong and does very well on patios–which isn’t too shocking, considering this type of tile was initially created for outdoor use. You can find quarry tile in a limited color range that includes gray, brown, and red; it has a Mediterranean aesthetic.
One of the nice things about quarry tile is that it has a texture that prevents it from becoming slippery, even when wet. It’s also highly resistant to water. Something to keep in mind is that quarry tile is easy to stain and doesn’t do as well in climates that experience freezing temperatures during the winter.
Ceramic is another option for patio tile, but do note that it’s not as strong as other material choices. Generally, ceramic is only recommended for light-use patios and mild weather conditions, and ceramic wall tiles will not be sturdy enough for patio use. You’ll need to look for ceramic tile with a high PEI rating of 4 or 5 to ensure it can handle outdoor applications.
If you’re looking to tile a covered patio or a patio that doesn’t experience extreme weather changes, then ceramic may be a great option. It’s very affordable and comes in tons of colors, shapes, patterns, and designs. Like porcelain, it can also imitate the look of other materials and is a low-cost alternative to genuine stone.
If you love natural stone, consider using slate for your patio tile. Slate is a metamorphic rock formed through intense pressure and heat. Because of this, it’s very hard, durable, and water-resistant. It has a natural texture that keeps it from becoming slippery. Plus, it’s available in a variety of color choices.
Concrete tile is another fantastic choice for patios because of its strength and durability. Although you may think of concrete tile as being plain, it can be given various colors and textures to resemble the look of natural stone and high-end ceramic tile.
Soapstone is a natural stone with a silky-smooth, nonporous texture. It’s resistant to water, stains, and heat, and is often preferred for use around swimming pools. It even performs well in climates that are very cold and wet.
Our final pick for the best outdoor patio tile materials is plastic. Plastic tile is durable, perforated for water drainage, and easy to remove, making it a nice temporary solution for a patio upgrade. You can find some plastic tiles with interlocking edges on the market, and although they aren’t the most aesthetically-pleasing choice, they’re inexpensive and can be installed as a DIY project.
Factors to Think About When Choosing Outdoor Tile
Here are the main things to keep in mind as you choose the perfect outdoor tile!
Strength and Durability of the Tile
Tiles used for indoor floors and walls don’t need to be particularly strong or durable, but those used outside have to withstand changing temperatures and weather conditions. You’ll also need to think about the amount of use the tile will get. For example, a family with active children will likely need a more durable tile than a retired couple.
Texture and Slip Resistance
The tile’s texture and slipperiness are also key to consider. The last thing you want is to slip and fall on your newly tiled patio! Opt for tile that is at least matte, but preferably textured, so that it has plenty of grip.
Of course, your budget should also play a part in your decision. Luxury tile like natural stone is typically much more expensive than options like ceramic and concrete. Remember that the lower-cost options can often replicate the appearance of high-end choices, so there’s often a way to get the look you want for less!
You’ll want your tiled patio to mesh well with the rest of the surrounding landscape, as well as your home’s architectural features. Try to select textures, colors, and designs that are consistent with the area’s overall look.
If you live in an area with a freeze/thaw cycle, be sure to select an outdoor tile that’s built to handle extreme temperature changes. Sandstone, for example, is porous. If it absorbs water and that water freezes, the sandstone may crack, or the joints between the tiles can break. Porcelain, however, has a low water absorption rate and is better at weathering temperature changes.
The amount of sunlight your patio gets should also play a role in your tile choice. If you have a bright, sunny patio area, a light, reflective color may make it too bright. A very dark color may absorb heat and become hot to the touch. You’ll want to find a happy medium. Meanwhile, if your patio area is dim and shady, a lighter-colored tile can make the space seem brighter.
Create Your Outdoor Oasis with Tilezz.com!
Here at Tilezz.com, we have thousands of options for all of your tile needs. Our selection features natural stone, porcelain, ceramic, and glass in all shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. Plus, we offer fast delivery, insured shipments, and easy returns with every order. Check out everything we have to offer here! And while you’re there, stop by our blog for more fun posts like this one.