Installing Tile Outside on a Concrete Porch or Patio

The biggest difference between indoor and outdoor tile installations is that outdoors your installation will be subject to mother nature – in other words, the unexpected. For that reason, it’s critical that you properly take into consideration mandatory expansion joints, moisture considerations, and thermal demands. If you don’t, you will encounter failures.

Given how much variation is possible – based on the project, the location and the materials used – this do it yourself or how to section will highlight what you need to consider so you don’t encounter installation issues. You’ll find an explanation and images highlighting the most common failures below.

As always, follow the Manufacturers’ recommendations for all the products you plan to use in exterior tiling projects.

What Can Happen When You Install Tile Outdoors Improperly

When you don’t take into account expansion joints in an outdoor tile installation, disaster can happen! In this section, we share with you examples of what can happen when you install tile outdoors improperly. All of the images below are of real failures.

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Patio Tiles

Tile is the ideal way to make your outdoor living spaces truly special. Whether remodeling an old landscape or creating a new one from scratch, there are so many types of tile and manufacturers that making a final choice can be more difficult than anticipated. This is why it’s important to use a landscape designer who understands tile and can guide you in selecting the right one for your unique set of criteria.

The most commonly used patio tiles are made of unglazed clay. The better fired it is the harder and more dense the result. Red clay is the most common and others of similar character may be made of white, gray and black clay.

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Instructional Video About Installing Tile Outside on a Concrete Porch or Patio

Installing Tile Outside on a Concrete Porch or Patio

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Expert Tiling Tips

It might look easy, but anyone who does his job professionally should make it look easy. If you slap tile up on the wall, that’s the look you’ll get—slapped up on the wall. People we know who have tried to do it themselves say to us, “It started off okay, but then it started to get away from me and turned ugly. I’ll never lay tile myself again.”

Last comes the grout. Your beautiful tile has been laid, vacuumed, and cleaned, and you are so happy with your tile choice. Then the masons smear grout all over the tile, and if it’s a dark-colored grout, it can look really bad. But by the end of the day all will be clean again, your tile and grout will be beautiful, and the mess will be gone for good. Your plumber can come now and set your fixtures.

As you wave good-bye to your friendly tile contractor, let’s hope you feel good about your tile choice. After all, you will have to look at it for at least the next 20 years. Which leads to our last piece of advice: Take your time and make sure that you are happy with your choices. Give yourself at least a couple of days to make your choices, and remember that you will have to live with your decision for a very long time.

Tiling Tips

Our top 10 list might not be as good as Letterman’s, but here goes:

10. What kind of sealer and cleaner can I use?

We prefer the Glaze and Seal brands of both. For an area that gets a lot of water, like a shower or a tub surround, you want to use a penetrating sealer. For other areas, like a floor or a kitchen counter, you should use an acrylic water-based sealer. Apply often—usually four times a year. Make sure the area is clean and dry before reapplying a sealer. For a cleaner, don’t buy over-the-counter products. These products clean primarily by acid and are eating your grout every time you use them. Instead, go to your local tile store and buy a neutral cleaner. There is a certain amount of maintenance with tile, but if you keep it clean it will look beautiful for many years.

9. What’s the difference between cement board and mortar bed application?

Cement board is made from aggregated slurry with a layer of fiberglass mesh embedded into each side. It acts like a single unit and is screwed or nailed down. If the walls or the floor it’s being attached to are uneven or out of level or plumb, then the tile work will be out of line by the same amount. A mortar bed application is a solid unit of sand and cement mix that allows you to level out floors or plumb up walls so you can install the tile on a flat, true surface. A mortar bed is a far superior application.

8. What’s the difference between sanded and nonsanded grout?

Nonsanded grout is a cement cream used for tight joints not bigger than 1/8 inch. Sanded grout has an aggregate added to it for larger joints, usually 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch.

7. How can I drill a hole in ceramic tile?

You need to use a masonry bit on your drill. Make sure to triple check where you want the hole because should you misplace it, it will be difficult to reinstall the tile.

6. Is ceramic tile very cold?

Ceramic tile reflects the room temperature and holds on to that temperature for a long time. At times it can be cold. There are products out there that can be installed prior to tile installation that can warm up a floor.

5. Is ceramic tile waterproof?

This is a HUGE misconception. Tile itself is water tolerant and does not decay in water. The glaze on a tile is waterproof. However, the grout joints connecting the tile do allow water transmission. This is where an improper installation can result in a structural problem and a costly replacement. The best thing to do for the grout is to seal it and keep any cracks caulked. Simple maintenance will give your tile long life.

4. Is gloss tile very slippery?

Yes, most anything that is glossy is slippery when wet. You need to bear that in mind if you are putting gloss tile in your bathroom. Also, most gloss tile scratches, so it’s not a good choice for counters or for kitchen or bathroom floors.

3. Do you like my choice of tile and grout?

People ask us this question when they are not quite sure of the choices they made. Remember, you will be looking at the tile for many years to come. If it is already purchased before we get to the job, of course we love it!

2. How much money will it cost?

That depends on several factors: type of installation, type of tile, layout of tile, and type of grout used.

1. When can you start and when will you be done?

If your job is the only job we are doing this year, then right away. But in the real life of construction, there are many factors that affect a job before we even get to the site. Time frames are in constant adjustment. Patience with your tile contractor will make your job go more smoothly.

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Tiling Tips and More

Tiling Tips: Prevent Bathroom Tiles from Tenting

Floors expand and contract with changes in moisture, heat and season. This movement can pull tiles apart creating cracks or push them together so that they pop up or ‘tent’. Proper planning and preparation of the subflooring will help to prevent tenting and cracks in tiled bathroom floors.

Tiling Tips

Don’t couple all the membranes underneath the tile. Leaving membranes uncoupled will allow for expansion and movement.

If your bathroom gets a lot of direct sunlight, use lighter, smaller tiles. Large, darkly colored tiles absorb more heat and this causes more movement. More grouting with smaller tiles also allow for movement without cracking or tenting. Read more…

Most Common Tiling Problems

Tiling is not as easy as it seems. Using inferior or incorrect tiling products, lack of tiling experience and price cutting just to get the job, frequently leads to tiling problems that emerge weeks or months later. The result – tiles falling off the wall, buckling floor tiles, cracks, water and moifture accumulating behind the tiles, cracking grout, hollow sound under the tiles and many more symptoms of a botched job.

We have listed some of the most common mistakes made on tiling jobs by inexperienced tiling contractors. Read more…

VIDEO: How to Plan the Layout of a Shower

Factors That Affect Tiling Costs

Like many other building and renovation jobs, tiling costs depend on several factors. On the average, tiling jobs in Australia are priced at $50 per square metre, but this is just a rough estimate. Quick and easy kitchen tiling jobs cost only $42 per square metre, while complicated floor tiling jobs with premium rates can add up to a total of over $2300.

Knowing what goes into the computation of your tiling job can help you understand and evaluate quotes much better. Here are some of the major factors that affect tiling costs. Read more…

Advantages Of Tiling Your Kitchen Flooring

In case you’re planning a complete kitchen renovation, then one of your biggest concerns is what flooring to select. Hardware floors have always been a good choice for the kitchen, especially since you can select a type of solid or engineered wood to match your counters. While undoubtedly a stylish choice, hardwood flooring is rather expensive; keep in mind that you’ll need to hire a professional for the installation.

If you spend most of your budget on flooring, you’ll have little left for acquiring fashionable and functional countertops. If your renovation project is on a tight budget, then installing tile flooring in the kitchen is a far better alternative. Read more…

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