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The Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Outdoor Tile

Patios are one of the outdoor living spaces that add the most value to your home. But before you can start setting up your furniture, water features, or fire pits, you need to install the tile floor first. Deciding on the right type of floor can be a daunting process if you don’t know what you should be looking for. That’s why we’ve put together a complete guide to choosing the best outdoor tile for your exterior tile installation below.

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What’s the Difference Between Indoor Tile and Outdoor Tile?

outdoor tile

Indoor tile and outdoor tile differ from each other in two main ways: design and durability.

Here’s what we mean by that.

Outdoor tiles often have the appearance of stones, pavement, concrete, decking, or other outdoor elements. Moreover, outdoor tiles are designed with a more textured surface compared to indoor tiles. This creates a slip-resistant surface that’ll give you, your pets, and your patio furniture traction.

Outdoor tile is also much more durable than indoor tile. It can withstand direct sunlight and harsh weather conditions without getting damaged.

Before you start laying tile in your patio, make sure you have outdoor tile. Otherwise, your hard work won’t last very long.

Tips for Choosing the Right Outdoor Tile for Your Home

When faced with numerous outdoor tile options, the decision-making process can feel overwhelming. To simplify your selection, consider the following tips aimed at helping you choose the best outdoor tile for your home.

1. What’s Your Budget?

outdoor tile

The first thing you have to think about when buying outdoor tile is your budget. This may limit the selection you can choose from.

For example, if you can’t spend more than $12 per square foot of material, things like high-quality natural stone tile will be out of the question.

Decide on a budget first. You’ll be more likely to remember it and stick to it if you see it in writing.

Don’t let yourself get fooled by “cheap” prices. Spending $20 per square foot might not seem like much, but it can add up fast.  “A well-designed patio is one that offers lots of functionality for your favorite activities. Before you begin building or redesigning your space, sit down with a piece of paper, and write out how you want to use your patio. If you have a family that you share the space with, talk to them about outdoor activities they might be interested in doing at home if they had space. Do this early on in the design or renovation phase. That way you can craft a space that really works with clear objectives in mind.” says Isabella Caprario on her article  How to Create an Indoor/Outdoor Space That’s Fun and Functional

2. Where and How Will You Use The Tiles?

While all outdoor tiles can withstand the elements, they aren’t all built the same.

Some outdoor tiles are tougher than others. That means some outdoor tile is prone to scratches, cracks, and other damage. Make sure you get an outdoor tile that can last in your area.

You should also think about how you plan to use your tile. Do you plan to use it on a wall? Are you installing in on the ground? The answer to this question might affect the type of tile you need.

Some outdoor tile works better on walls. Other outdoor tile works better when you install it on the ground. Make sure you get the right type for your project.

3. What’s the Weather Like in Your Area?

outdoor tile

Do you live in an area with mild weather conditions? Do you get snow in the winter? Rain in the spring? Record high heat in the summer?

You should always look for outdoor tile that can handle your specific weather requirements. A tile that can hold up to heat may not do well with snow or ice. If you get a lot of rain, your tile might need an extra grip.

Base your tile search off of the type of weather your area gets.

4. How Much Light Do You Get?

Dark tile colors can make a shady area feel dank and gloomy. Similarly, light tile colors can make a sunny area feel washed out.

To get the best visual effect, always install light colored tile in places that don’t get a lot of sun. If your patio gets a lot of direct sunlight, use darker tile instead.

5. What Is the Current Style and Color of Your Home?

Don’t choose a tile style that’ll clash with the design of the rest of your home. For example, rustic outdoor tile will look odd and out of place with a sleek, modern home. Find something that’ll complement your style rather than detract from it.

You should also think about the color. Do you want your outdoor tile to match the color of your home? If not, make sure you pick a color that will blend in with the rest of your aesthetics.

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Popular Types of Outdoor Tile

Now that you have some tips for choosing the ideal outdoor tile for your home, let’s explore various options available to you. Below is a brief list highlighting some of the most popular choices for outdoor tiles.

Ceramic Tile

ceramic outdoor tile

Ceramic can handle mild weather conditions and light outdoor use, but it isn’t as strong as other types of outdoor tile. Because of this, you should only pick ceramic for covered patios or patios that don’t see a lot of extreme weather changes.

Remember, not all ceramic tile is made the same. Some types are weaker or stronger than others, so make sure you pick a durable option. Depending on what you buy, ceramic can be an affordable choice, but there is a lot of flexibility in the price range.


Porcelain Tile

porcelain outdoor tile

Porcelain tile is dense and strong, which makes it a good choice for outdoor use. Make sure you find porcelain tile rated for the outdoors.

Indoor porcelain tile often has a glossy surface that will become very slippery if it gets wet so consider getting porcelain tiles with a textured surface.


Quarry Tile

quarry outdoor tile

Quarry tile might not be suitable if you reside in an area with severe winters. It tends to deteriorate in freezing conditions and when exposed to ice.

On the bright side, rain poses no issue. Quarry tiles are water-resistant and maintain their grip even when wet. However, caution is necessary with other liquids, as this tile type is prone to staining.

In warm climates, quarry tile can be one of the best outdoor tile options for your home.


Slate Tile

Slate is a type of natural stone (which we will see more of on this list). Slate tile is durable and strong, and it also has a natural surface texture. This means it will be slip-resistant without you having to do anything else to it.

You can find slate in a variety of colors, including dark colors like black and grey and brighter colors like green or orange.

Granite Tile

granite outdoor tile

Granite, another natural stone, makes beautiful indoor countertops, but it doesn’t hold up as well outside.

Apart from being slippery, granite is also a porous material. In other words, it will absorb moisture, causing stains and other damage if you don’t seal it every few years.


Concrete Tile

Concrete tile gives you a cheaper way to get a “natural stone” outdoor floor. Manufacturers mold the concrete tiles into the right texture and color them to make them look like natural stone. This gives your home a high-end look for a fraction of the cost.

Concrete tile is durable and can withstand harsh weather and heavy foot traffic. However, you will have to reseal it every few years.

travertine outdoor tile

Travertine Tile

Travertine is a natural stone that creates beautifully textured and colored tile.

This tile is hard, but it also has a pitted surface that can gather dirt over time. You can avoid this problem by polishing the surface so it’s smooth. However, if you choose to do this, it will become slippery when wet.


Soapstone Tile

Soapstone is a natural stone with a smooth and non-porous quality. This makes it resistant to stains and other types of water damage.

It can also withstand high levels of heat and freezing temperatures. Because of this, soapstone is a good option for almost any climate. If you’re looking for something to surround your pool, you might want to consider soapstone.

Limestone Tile

Limestone is a soft stone, meaning it can scratch and chip easily. You also have to seal this type of tile often to prevent water damage.

Don’t install limestone in your patio unless you live in a dry, mild environment.

Sandstone Tile

While sandstone has a beautiful texture, it is even more fragile than limestone. Since this tile is made from layers of sand compressed together over time, it is soft and prone to scratches, chips, and cracks.

Water can also cause a lot of problems for sandstone. However, if you live in a dry area and seal it often, this tile can make a beautiful addition to your yard.


Choosing the Best Outdoor Tile for Your Project

Now that you know what outdoor tile suites your project best, it’s time to start the installation process. But, before you can get to work, you need the right tools!

Not sure where to find them? Click here to find the tiling tools you can’t work without.

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Website comments

  1. I recently purchase some porceline tiles for my patio, after they were delivered I found that the tiles have some black lines at vriuous areas of most of the tiles, the shop told me that this is part of the tile pattern, I dont agree and it worries me the tiles my have been seconds or have faulty Finnish.
    They are a light grey tile 600 x 660 and now relising the black line may be fault i the tiles, approximately about 50 % of the tiles have what looks like a air line crack rather than a pattern and that I may have been fobbed off with a heaper qulity tile rather than a good quality porceline tile.
    Can I also ask are tiles sold as a package ie 2 tiles per packet or can they be priced as each tile.

    1. Hi Terry. We’ll enswer the easy question first. Tiles are almost always sold in packages, and how many tiles comes in each package depends on the size of the tile.
      Regarding your question about the finish of your tiles, it’s hard for us to give a reliable answer without being able to see the tiles ourselves. We recommend that you call the manufacturer of your tiles to ask this question. The manufacturer will have their name or their logo written on the box that the tiles come in.
      Hope this helps! Good luck!

  2. I would like to remove my decking seating area. What sort of tile would you recommend please. It is a warm position

    1. Hello. For tiling outside, we recommend porcelain. It withstands temperature changes and water very well over long periods of time.

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