Tile is a beautiful, durable surface in many settings, including the outdoors. However, there are several important considerations to keep in mind when installing tile where it will be exposed to various weather extremes. Creating a tiled outdoor path is a wonderful way to bring color and style to your garden, but there are a few tips that you should keep in mind before beginning an outdoor tile project.
1. Know Your Tile
Tile is made of many different types of materials, and it is produced in varying grades of quality as well. The most common type of tile is made of ceramic, but porcelain, natural stone and glass tile are also commonly seen. Ceramic tile is typically not appropriate for outdoor use in most areas, unless it has been vitrified. Because most ceramic tile is porous, it absorbs water. In a climate that experiences winter frost, the moisture inside the tile can freeze and cause the tile to break.
In warm climates where freeze-thaw cycles do not occur, all types of tile are appropriate for outdoor use. However, in a climate with cold winters, you should consider natural stone, porcelain or glass rather than ceramic tile. Manufacturers rate tile for outdoor use, and it is important to adhere to their recommendations.
2. Slippery When Wet
Many types of tile provide a solid, slip-free surface when they are dry, but they become an ice-skating rink when they are wet. Tile manufacturers also rate tile for slip resistance, and this information will provide you with important aspects to consider when creating a tiled outdoor path.
It is a certainty that your tiled path will become wet during a rainstorm or when you are watering your lawn or garden. It is imperative that you choose a tile that is not slippery when it is wet. Mosaic pathways that are made with small pieces of tile or glass are naturally slip-free, as the grout lines add texture to the surface.
3. Proper Installation
Installing tile outdoors is similar to installing the floor of a bathroom shower; the surface needs to be impervious to water and heat. The adhesives used to install tile vary greatly in quality, and they are also specifically made for different types of tile and installation locations. For outdoor installations, you will want to use a high-quality thinset that is rated for outdoor use, and it also needs to be appropriate for the type of tile materials you are installing.
Tile is a beautiful and practical material for outdoor paths, but it is important to pay close attention to the type of tile, the climate and the installation materials. A hasty installation may look nice for a short period of time, but it will not provide a lasting tiled outdoor path for your garden space.