Choosing tiles can be hard and time consuming, as you need to carefully consider the overall design and the functions of the space before splurging on tiles. This is especially true when you are looking for tiles for your outdoor space. You can’t just install any tile in any colour or finish, for instance, polished finishes are a no-go for open outdoor areas that will get very wet.
If you are thinking of tiling your outdoor space, whether it be your patio floor or even inside your pool, we’ve got you covered. We’ve carefully curated a list of tiles and tips to help you choose the best tile for your outdoor space.
Choose your colour wisely
This might sound so simple, but choosing the right colour is very important. White tiles will show dirt very quickly, which means you will be spending more time cleaning than enjoying your outdoor space. Plus, light colour tiles are very reflective – that is why they work well in small spaces. They allow light to bounce around the room, making it feel more open – but you don’t want that same effect outdoors as it will reflect too much sunlight.
Then, you have your darker colours to consider. Even though black hides dirt more than white, it may not be the best option for your outdoor area because dark colours absorb heat. This means that the floor will get too hot during summer months and will leave you walking around with shoes on even though you don’t want to, otherwise you will burn your feet, which won’t be very pleasant.
Neutral colours such as grey are a good option, as these colours allow enough light to bounce around without being reflective and do not absorb heat like black does. Grey is also great for outdoor areas as it hides dirt very well and looks more natural in the space than the other colours would.
Don’t go for just any ol’ material
Porcelain is a great option and the most preferred too. This does not mean that natural stone is out. In fact some natural stones can be used outdoors, but when we say porcelain is the best, we mean it’s much better than ceramic.
Why is porcelain the better option? Simply because porcelain is a harder material than ceramic, which makes these tiles more durable, so it will last longer outdoors. Porcelain is made to withstand any weather and it is basically maintenance free. An occasional sweep or a high pressure spray down is more than enough to keep the tiles looking as good as new. However, natural stone has stood the test of time proving to be a great outdoor option as it is durable and will increase the value of your home. Not only that, but it is beautiful and you will never get two of the same tiles, which makes it very unique.
Consider the finish
This is a very important part of choosing your outdoor tile to ensure it’s safe. Avoid using polished or semi-polished tiles for your outdoor floor if it is near a pool. In outdoor areas, such as balconies and covered patios, the floor finish is less relevant because it’s not an area you would walk on when the floor is wet. If your aim is to have a polished look we suggest putting the polished tiles on the walls and a tile in the same colour tone or, if available, use the same tile in a different finish on the floor.
So, to get to the real question: Which finishes can you use outdoors?
Firstly, ask yourself this question: Where will the tiles be installed? Around the swimming pool, an open area or a Patio with a roof? Once you know where you want them, it will be easier to choose a finish.
For the pool, the best finish to use is, without a doubt, non-slip. Porcelain tile ranges offer a variety of styles in non-slip finishes. If you choose to go with natural stone, keep in mind that it is a bit more costly than porcelain, but if you want the real deal we say go for it. Almost all natural stones can be made non-slip with special techniques applied to it, such as: Acid wash, sandblasting and flaming. For other outside areas, you can use your discretion as to whether or not you want to go for a specifically non slip tile – keep in mind that non-slip tiles are more difficult to clean than a normal matt tile!
How natural stone tiles are made non-slip:
Granite – the technique used to make granite slip resistant is called flaming. This is done when an intense flame is fired at the granite stone, causing the surface to become rough; making it non-slip. However, by flaming the stone the texture will change and so might the colour. So keep that in mind before requesting your tiles to be flamed.
Marble – marble can go through two processes: acid wash and sandblasting. If you have ever enquired about marble you would know that we suggest keeping acid away from your marble, this includes citrus fruits and household cleaning products. But in this case, the experts use a special acid to make the marble surface slip resistant. This technique will change the texture and it may change the colour of the marble, in some cases the stone will turn a little bit darker. Sandblasting is the same process as flaming, except sand and grit is shot onto the tile at high pressures rather than fire.
Design as a whole
Think about the size and shape: What look and feel do you want to achieve? Do you want to go for a modern sleek look or a rustic charm look? Think of the overall colour scheme – how do you want the colour or pattern to effect the way the eye moves through the space? For instance, a tile with linear lines, all flowing in the same direction will lead your eyes from the one end of the room to the other. Once you have narrowed down a colour scheme and style, choosing a tile won’t be too difficult. Especially considering all the available options.
Below we’ve gathered a few ideas to help inspire your outdoor project.
We love sharing our tips and ideas with you, so if you enjoyed this post or if you have any ideas or tips of your own that we might have missed, please leave a comment below.
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