How To Choose Outdoor Tile For Your Porch Or Patio

Tile made from porcelain, ceramic, concrete or natural stone can be a great addition to any space thanks to its natural strength and durability, low maintenance and versatility. These features also make tile a solid choice for outdoor spaces, such as porches, patios and other areas designed for outdoor living. Of course, not every indoor tile will work outdoors, and choosing the wrong tile could mean ugly cracks and stains as well as dangerously slippery surfaces for family and visitors. While many different tile materials can be used outdoors, the following guidelines can help you balance safety, maintenance and durability for exterior tile applications.

Density and Hardness

The harder and denser a tile is, the better it will hold up against wear and tear from kids, scraping patio chairs or falling tree branches. In general, glazed porcelain tiles are harder and denser than ceramic, making them a better choice for outdoors. For even more toughness from your tiles, pick stones such as granite or slate, but avoid softer stone tiles made from limestone, marble or travertine. While a solid tile with no glaze, such as a high-quality granite, will hide chips and cracks better than glazed tiles, you can reduce the risk of chipped surfaces by looking for tougher glazes. You can compare glazes based on the MOHS rating, where higher ratings equal tougher, more durable top layers. 

Slip Resistance

Outdoor tiles are subject to rain, snow, spills and splashes, which can make them slippery and dangerous. Reduce the risk of slips and falls by choosing tiles rated with a higher coefficient of friction. The higher the COF, the better traction the tiles provide. While it's very subjective what level of COF is the safest, the Americans with Disabilities Act specifies a rating of 0.6, which can serve as a useful starting point for homeowners.

Porosity

The most important factor to consider when choosing outdoor tile is how likely the tile is to absorb water. Tiles with a porous surface not only absorb moisture, which can lead to freezing and cracking, but also are more likely to soak up stains and collect dirt and dust. To find the right tile for outdoor use, pay close attention to tile descriptions when comparing products. Tiles rated as non-vitreous are the most porous and a poor choice for outside applications. Instead, stick to impervious tiles, which are non-absorbent to resist both moisture and stains.  

For further assistance, contact a local outlet, such as Diamond Contract Flooring LLC.

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