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Tips to Make Outdoor Tiling Projects a Success

Guidelines for creating safe, durable outdoor tile features on the first try

Tiling ProjectsTile makes an attractive surface for all kinds of outdoor features, from patios to paths to pools. Whether you want to create a magazine-worthy outdoor living space or simply refresh the appearance of your yard, tile is a top choice. Unfortunately, many people miss out on the benefits of outdoor tile because they make needless mistakes during installation. Successfully completing your outdoor tile project can be easy, however, if you keep the following advice in mind.

Consider Tile Properties

Appearance and price may be the main criteria used to choose indoor tile, but for outdoor tile, the actual tile material and properties are much more important. Choosing tile that is non-slip is critical, even if the tile isn’t being installed near a pool or hot tub. Anything from rain to sprinklers can turn low-friction tile into a disaster waiting to happen. When tile is being installed outdoors, its softness and density should also be evaluated. Tile that is too soft will admit water and crack when temperatures fall below freezing. Stress tests of how a material performs during freezing and thawing can indicate whether it is a smart choice for the climate.

Start With a Strong Foundation

If a foundation is weak or poorly made, any overlaid tiling will likely be unstable or unattractive. If you plan to use an existing concrete slab as the foundation for a tile patio or walkway, make sure it is at least 3 inches thick and in good condition. Before placing the tiling, you will need to remove any paint and fill in cracks or holes with new concrete. If the concrete is crumbling entirely, it may not be suitable to use, and you may need to pour a new foundation.

Leave Space for Movement

One of the biggest mistakes people make when placing outdoor tiles is forgetting that the tile must be able to move. Movement occurs because the tile and underlying foundation expand and contract at different rates in response to heat. When you are planning the tile layout, make sure to designate expansion or movement joints. These are simply spaces between tiles filled with a non-rigid sealant, such as urethane, polysulfide, or silicone. If you don’t place expansion joints, grout will crack and tiles may even pop out of place. To be most effective, an expansion joint should be placed every 8 to 16 feet in each direction, according to the Tile Council of North America.

Take Advantage of Expert Help

If you intend to handle the full installation independently, you should incorporate as much expert advice as possible. The staff at Mission Tile West has experience working with all kinds of tile products to create almost any imaginable home project. When you stop into a showroom, Mission Tile West’s specialists will be ready to help you pick out the ideal tile for whatever outdoor purpose you have in mind.