Get 10% OFF on your first order by subscribing to our newsletter.

5 Most Essential Considerations When Selecting Outdoor Tiles

5 Most Essential Considerations When Selecting Outdoor Tiles

Choosing outdoor tiles can be a daunting task for you, especially with the myriad of available options. The process can be overwhelming, from selecting the proper shape, size, and color to finding the most suitable ones for your outdoor space.

The challenge is even greater for online shoppers who have to deal with issues like inaccurate representation, limited stocks, shipping costs, and damages, to name a few.

A February 2023 research reveals that online shopping—especially during the previous pandemic—is “no longer a behavior to meet primary needs, but it is also thought to be carried out as a form of coping strategy to reduce perceived stress.” However, it's proven detrimental when shopping for tiles online since buyers can't see the real thing unless they order a tile sample.

But worry not! By considering these five essential considerations, you can make the right decision and transform your outdoor space into a beautiful and functional area you’ve always desired.


General Considerations for Outdoor Tiles

Outdoor tiles can be used in various areas, such as patios, backyards or gardens, outdoor walls, kitchens, footpaths, entryways, and pools. Each area has specific requirements that should be considered when choosing your tiles.

When it comes to outdoor tiles, porcelain is often the best choice. It’s durable, easy to maintain, and comes in various designs. However, other materials like ceramic, stone, and concrete have pros and cons. For instance, ceramic tiles are less expensive but less durable than porcelain, while stone tiles offer a natural look but require more maintenance.

A photo of Start White Outdoor Porcelain Tile by Eleganza, a durable and elegant tile for outdoor spaces. The tile is installed in a garden surrounded by white pebbles, creating a contrast of textures and colors.A photo of Start White Outdoor Porcelain Tile by Eleganza, a durable and elegant tile for outdoor spaces. The tile is installed in a garden surrounded by white pebbles, creating a contrast of textures and colors.
Start Outdoor Porcelain Tile by Eleganza
Porcelain Pavers blend contemporary aesthetics with unparalleled resilience, establishing an ambiance conducive to serene tranquility or vibrant social gatherings.Porcelain Pavers blend contemporary aesthetics with unparalleled resilience, establishing an ambiance conducive to serene tranquility or vibrant social gatherings.
Grey Exterior Paver Outdoor Porcelain Tile from the Nominee Collection


Technical Aspects of Outdoor Tiles

Understanding the technical aspects of your outdoor tiles is crucial in making your own informed decision. Here are some key factors to consider:

Thickness

The thickness of your outdoor tiles is an essential factor to consider. Thicker tiles are generally more durable and withstand heavy foot traffic and harsh weather conditions.

Porosity or Water Absorption Rates

The water absorption rate of a tile is your key indicator of its suitability for outdoor use. Tiles with low water absorption rates are less likely to crack due to freezing and thawing cycles. Typically, a water absorption rate of less than 0.5 means that the material in question absorbs a relatively small amount of water when exposed to it. Water absorption rate is a measure of how much water a material can absorb, typically expressed as a percentage.

More so, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) identifies the following spaces below as “wet areas” for your tile consideration:

“Tile surfaces that are either soaked, saturated, or subjected to moisture or liquids (usually water) such as in gang showers, tub enclosures, showers, floors adjacent to curbless showers, laundries, saunas, steam rooms, swimming pools, or exterior areas.”  

You can check your tiles’ product specifications on your preferred online store. Furthermore, you can even look at their PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating—and request information from their manufacturer(s) or seller(s) or perform a water absorption test with them with a tile sample—to determine your tiles’ water absorption rate.

Temperature Tolerance

Porcelain tile shows the highest thermal expansion coefficient among wall and floor tiles, ranging from 8.0 to 9.0 x10-6 °C-1.

This means porcelain tiles can withstand temperature changes without cracking, making them ideal for outdoor use. Taking into consideration that a tile's coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) is of fundamental importance,

Load-bearing Capacity

The load-bearing capacity of a tile refers to how much weight it can support without breaking. On average, a typical tile can hold significant weight, with porcelain tiles topping the rest of the flooring tiles in strength. A porcelain tile with a thickness ranging from 3/8 to 1/2 inch can endure pressures in the range of 200 to 300 pounds per square inch.

For instance, a porcelain tile may have a breaking strength of > 400 lbs. This indicates that the material's breaking strength is greater than 400 pounds. This measurement tells the material's ability to withstand applied force or pressure before breaking or failing. In this context, a breaking strength exceeding 400 pounds suggests that the material is relatively strong and can withstand significant loads or pressure.

Knowing the load-bearing capacity of your tiles is essential, especially for areas with heavy furniture or high foot traffic. In this regard, it is always a great advantage for you as a homeowner, property developer, or simply just an outdoor enthusiast if you always consider your tiles’ load-bearing capacity.

Why? They can beautify your outdoor space without breaking since they have been designed for high-traffic areas.

Most tile online stores have Technical Specification Charts you can check to ensure your tile’s applicability. Here’s an example chart:


Functional and Aesthetic Considerations

Selecting your outdoor tiles is akin to a ballet dance—where every step is carefully coordinated and executed to create a harmonious performance. Similarly, the functional and aesthetic aspects of your outdoor tiles need to be in sync with your area’s overall design to create a beautiful and practical outdoor space.

Let’s discuss the practical or functional considerations when choosing outdoor tiles.

Climate

When choosing your outdoor tiles, consider the climate of your area. Tiles should be able to withstand your local weather conditions. These include extreme temperatures—extreme coldness (winter) and extreme hotness (summer)—not to mention the sudden or abrupt weather changes in your climate (from rapid hotness in the day to quick coldness in the night).

Why? Continuous or repetitive sudden weather changes might break your tiles—just like hot water poured over a glass of cold water abruptly (Yes, it will surely break!).

Lighting

The lighting of the area also plays a crucial role. Light-colored tiles can brighten up your dark space, while dark-colored tiles can add depth to your well-lit area. In a word, these kinds of tiles that contrast with the design of your outdoor space surely enhance the latter's main features.

Purpose 

The purpose of the area will also dictate your choice. For instance, pool areas require slip-resistant tiles, while patios may need durable tiles to handle heavy furniture. So, as a piece of advice, always remember why you are putting this kind of tile or that in your outdoor area.=

Foot Traffic

Lastly, consider the foot traffic in your outdoor space. High-traffic areas require durable and wear-resistant tiles. These include your ground floor, kitchen, swimming pool area, patios, pathways, and garden. Let’s turn to the other aesthetic aspects of choosing an outdoor tile.

Color

The color of your tiles can set the mood of your outdoor space. Neutral colors can create a calm and relaxing atmosphere, while vibrant colors can make your area lively and energetic. Consequently, choosing the right color of your tiles dramatically affects the look you want for your outdoor space.

Texture and Finish

The texture and finish of your tiles can add character and depth to your outdoor space. Smooth tiles can give you a modern and sleek look, while textured tiles provide a rustic and natural feel.

Size and Layout

Lastly, the size and layout of your tiles can influence the perception of your space. Large-format tiles can make your small area appear larger, while small tiles can add detail to your large area. It only shows how your space appears to you, primarily based on your tiles' size and layout.

A photo of White Xterior Paver from the Rekindle Collection, a versatile and slip-resistant paver for outdoor areas. The paver is shown on a pool deck, creating a clean and modern look with its smooth surface and bright color.A photo of White Xterior Paver from the Rekindle Collection, a versatile and slip-resistant paver for outdoor areas. The paver is shown on a pool deck, creating a clean and modern look with its smooth surface and bright color.
White Xterior Paver from the Rekindle Collection.
A photo of Fog Rectangle Grey Stone-look Porcelain Tile from the Calgary Collection, a realistic and elegant tile that mimics natural stone. The tile is installed in a pool walkway surrounded by trees and greeneries, creating a harmonious and relaxing atmA photo of Fog Rectangle Grey Stone-look Porcelain Tile from the Calgary Collection, a realistic and elegant tile that mimics natural stone. The tile is installed in a pool walkway surrounded by trees and greeneries, creating a harmonious and relaxing atm
Fog Rectangle Grey Stone-look Porcelain Tile from the Calgary Collection

Trends and Innovations

Keeping up with the latest trends and innovations in outdoor living this 2024 can help you personalize your space to align with your tastes and preferences. If you want to revitalize your outdoor space this year, here are some trends to look out for.

The Year of the Eclectic Outdoor Space

2024 is the year of the eclectic outdoor space. Eclectic design involves the thoughtful combination of various styles to create a cohesive and harmonious look. Global influences, cultural fusion, technological integration, and a return to the Bohemian vibe drive this trend.

To understand this better, choose tiles that are trendsetters this 2024—since globalization is much felt this year than ever before in the previous decades, especially with the high impact of technology and social media in the daily lives of human beings.

2024 is Greener than Ever

In 2024, gardens are embracing a maximalist approach with the “abundance is key” philosophy. This includes opulent monochromatic arrangements featuring various shades of green and vibrant, impressionist-inspired landscapes adorned with flowering pollinator plants and herbs.

To keep up with this trend, choose outdoor tiles with a natural or earthy look—such as stone, terracotta, or wood. These tiles will enhance your outdoor space for that relaxing "greener than ever" vibe you’ve always wanted.

On the other hand, you can also use colorful or patterned tiles to add a splash of color and interest to your outdoor space. For a sleek and sophisticated feel, choose modern or minimalist tiles. Tiles like these are made from concrete, porcelain, or metal materials to ensure durability.

A Turn to the Bold and Beautiful

This 2024 trend focuses on the use of bold designs and materials. Large-format tiles, large furniture, and a mix of rattan, wicker, wood, metal, and ceramics add depth and dimension to your outdoor space.

Textured textiles like velvet, silk, and linen on cushions and upholstery enhance your tactile experience. To follow this trend in 2024, consider using colorful and patterned tiles, mosaic tiles, multicolored porcelain tiles, geometric designs, and large format tiles.

Maintenance and Tile Cost

If you were to ask how long these outdoor tiles would last, the answer is that they typically last for several years—depending on their material and maintenance. On the other hand, if you would ask how to prevent your outdoor tiles from being slippery, consider using slip-resistant tiles or applying an anti-slip coating. That is the best solution to your concern.

And yet, if your concern is protecting your outdoor tiles over time, you can safeguard them by cleaning them regularly and sealing them if necessary.

When it comes to tile cost, however, prices can vary widely—especially in California. It’s always a good idea to order a sample before purchasing. Our online store at Otile makes it easy to order samples, allowing you to see and feel the tiles before making your own decision.


Wrapping Things Up

As you reach the end of the road of this blog, you have two key takeaways that you’ll always have to bear in mind when selecting your outdoor tiles for your area:

Firstly, always consider the importance of your tiles' technical and aesthetic aspects. These factors are thickness, water absorption rates, temperature tolerance, load-bearing capacity, color, texture, and size.

Secondly, the latest trends in outdoor living spaces continue to influence buyers' tile selection in 2024. Considering this recommendation makes you a trendy or up-to-date outdoor space owner and a wise, decisive, and adaptable one—especially in an ever-changing world, particularly of tile design.

Similarly, you’ve further learned the significance of tile maintenance and cost considerations; they must be noticed.

Overall, sharing this article with your fellow homeowners, property developers, and outdoor enthusiasts not only helps them to make informed decisions when selecting their outdoor tiles but also enables both of you to evaluate with each other which outdoor tiles available in the market are the best ones to install in one’s outdoor area this 2024.

Written by:

Ali Eftekhari 

Results-driven MBA Professional with 15+ years in the stone, slab, and tile industry.
Expert in strategy, operations, and global relations. Extensive international experience in Brazil, China, India, Turkey, Peru, and the USA.

View LinkedIn Profile

Linked Socmed Icon Reddit Socmed Icon Quora Socmed Icon Pinterest Socmed Icon FB Socmed Icon Instagram Socmed Icon
Previous Can I Use Large Tiles for a Kitchen Backsplash?
Next The Pros and Cons of Wood-Look Porcelain Tiles + Your Expert Buying Tips

Related Posts

The Pros and Cons of Wood-Look Porcelain Tiles + Your Expert Buying Tips
21
Dec
A Beginner's Guide to Concrete-look Porcelain Tiles
18
Dec
Large-Format Porcelain Tiles: Things to Know Before You Buy
11
Dec
How to Choose the Right Flooring Tiles for Your Living Room
28
Nov
Floor Tile Trends to Watch Out for in 2024
20
Nov