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What You Need to Know About Tiling Outdoor Spaces

We’re in the midst of a huge, pandemic-fueled trend in home décor that’s all about the exterior. That’s right, it’s not interior decorating we’re focused on lately, it’s exterior decorating…and it’s time for a revolution.

Extending your living space outside is nothing new, people have been enjoying decks and patios for a very long time. Cooking and eating outside is also old hat. What’s turning the traditional backyard BBQ area into a game-changer is the approach to outdoor living—it’s gone luxe and includes high-end touches that are on par with your interior.

COVID definitely played some part in this trend while housing prices may have had a hand in it, too. No matter the reasons for the push, we’re absolutely in love with some of the fantastic outdoor spaces we’ve seen. One of the biggest movements in exterior decorating is moving beyond concrete and elevating outdoor floor space with tiles. It’s a big move and it makes a huge impact. 

Tips for Tiling Outside
The problem is, not all tiles are suitable for outdoor use. At A&S, we’re tile experts and, as a third-generation business, we’ve had a lot of experience in this field. We want to share our knowledge and some outdoor tile tips so you get the long-term results you’re looking for.

Basilea Marengo Outdoor Patio Tile
  • Consider the climate. An Arizona backyard and a Minnesota one are going to have vastly different weather conditions that play into tiling decisions. In Virginia, we get a taste of just about everything Mother Nature can concoct and that needs to be considered when selecting tile. For example, porous tiles, like sandstone, are fine in arid climates but in freezing conditions they’re prone to cracking. Look for tiles that are best suited for your weather.
  • Purpose is important. Will you be lounging solo in luxe patio furniture enjoying a nightcap or your morning coffee? Or is your outdoor space going to be used for cooking and large gatherings? The more use and abuse the space gets should also play a role in your tile choice. An outdoor kitchen is one of the biggest transitional space trends, but that means more stains and spills, which makes stain-resistant tile a priority. If you have children, you might also want to explore scratch-resistant tiles.
  • Texture and slipping. In most situations, your outdoor tiles will be exposed to quite a bit of moisture, from torrential downpours to morning dew…or even just a spilled cocktail. Not only do you want tile that can deal with moisture, but you also want to make sure it doesn’t become more slippery than a freshly Zamboni-ed ice rink. When it comes to safety, this is your most important consideration.
  • Light exposure. Sunlight plays into your tile decision in a couple of ways. Will the tile fade due to sun exposure? If it does, will it be an all-over fade or are some areas more shaded, leaving you with mismatched tiles? Will the tile get too hot for bare feet? Too much sun on light-colored tile can create a disturbingly bright reflection while a shaded area with dark tile feels dank and enclosed.
  • Tile thickness. Typically, indoor tile is thin, around a quarter inch. Outdoor tile works better and is more durable if it’s thicker. The downfall is that thickness can add to the expense of your project, but in the long run, it can also increase longevity.
  • Aesthetics. To create a truly successful transitional area that melds the inside and the outside of your home requires an eye for aesthetics. The good news is there are so many furniture options available for outdoor spaces that it’s become much easier to blur the line between inside and out.
  • Budget. Knowing how much square footage you want to tile is the first step in creating a reasonable budget for your project. Tiles come with a wide range of price points, so having a budget in mind can instantly help you narrow the field.

Outdoor Tile Options
Now that you’ve got a better idea of what to consider when selecting tile for your outdoor space, let’s look at some of the most popular and most practical options.

  • Granite. Granite is super durable and resilient to the elements, making it a great choice for many backyard projects.
  • Marble. Marble isn’t as durable as granite and will most likely need regular sealing but it’s certainly a dramatic choice that instantly adds elegance.
  • Slate. Slate is a lovely, earthy-toned tile that easily slides into an outdoor aesthetic as though it was always meant to be there.
  • Limestone. This is a softer tile that’s very porous, so it’s not typically recommended for regions that experience a cold winter unless you’re willing to do routine sealing. 
  • Porcelain. Perfect in a moist bathroom, porcelain is actually a great option for many outdoor spaces. It’s durable, non-porous, fade-resistant, and you can opt for a slip-resistant finish.
  • Wood tiles. Wood is a classic for decks and now there are tiles made of hardwood that give you an elevated approach to that traditional look. 

Are you ready to start on your exterior decorating project? If so, we’re ready to help you make that dream a reality. Call, email, or stop by our showroom to get an in-person feel for your outdoor tile options. Talking about tile is one thing, but we believe you need to see, touch, and maybe even stand on them to really know what you like and what you want in your home.

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