Picking a Tile for Outdoor
June 13, 2014

It’s no secret: as the weather gets warmer, outdoor home improvement projects dreamed up in the dark recesses of winter start to take shape and become a reality. Gardens are almost in bloom, lawns begin to grow, and outdoor entertaining becomes an option. A patio becomes so much more welcoming when it’s given custom touches to make it feel more like a home and less like an appendage onto the house. Tile is a perfect choice for an outdoor space, as many varieties are durable, frost proof, and slip-resistant.

Durable tile comes in so many designs that it’s easy to get that perfect look. But what factors should determine whether a tile is suitable for a patio? Here are some tips on picking the right product.

Make sure it’s suitable to your climate. Ceramic and porcelain tiles differ in the amount of harsh weather they can stand. In milder climates, either ceramic or porcelain will do- it’s entirely dependent on your taste. In extreme climes, however, porcelain is denser and more impervious, making it frost resistant. When choosing the flooring for your space, think carefully about where it will be installed and the weather it will be exposed to. Your design options are not limited, as both materials offer a wide range of looks.

Check for a high PEI rating. A tile’s PEI rating determines how well the glaze will stand up to dirt and wear. The higher the rating, the more scratch-resistant the tile. For patio installations that will be getting foot traffic, we recommend a tile with a PEI rating no lower than IV- this is a good way to ensure it can withstand the dirt and foot traffic standard (consider the possibility of pets, kids, and guests) for an outdoor application.

Research slip resistance. Depending on where this tile will be installed, slip resistance can be a huge factor in your decision. Assuming there will be slippery conditions outside (rain, a pool, spilled margaritas), it’s important that you set up a space that’s safe for you and your guests.

Pick one that suits your style! Are you going for a rustic or natural look? Or something sleek and modern? Through tile, any look is possible. Whether you’re building an outdoor retaining wall, lining a pool, or using this as a major focal point and social center for your home, loving your tile is of utmost importance! Tile lasts a long time (possibly centuries) so if you’re not absolutely positive it’s for you, keep looking. It’s imperative to love your home- from the ground up.