How to Buy Ceramic Tiles for Outdoors

Written by tonya goodspeed
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Ceramic tile is versatile enough to enhance your home indoors and outdoors, provided you buy the right type. You will need to buy ceramic tile that is designed for outdoor use whether you live in a warmer or colder climate because air temperature and moisture are what you must protect the tile from if you want your tiled outdoor area to last.

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Frost-proof, moisture-resistant ceramic tile with PEI between Class 3 and 5

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    Buying Outdoor Ceramic Tile

  1. 1

    Measure the area (length and width) you plan to install ceramic tile on, then add 15 per cent in case you make mistakes. If you need exactly 160 square feet to tile your outdoor patio, buy at least 184 square feet so you'll have extra in case you drop any or make inaccurate cuts.

  2. 2

    Shop for ceramic tiles that are labelled either vitrified, meaning the water absorption is low, between 0.5 and 3 per cent, or impervious, meaning the water absorption rate drops to 0.0 to 0.5 per cent. These two categories also mean the ceramic tile is frost-proof and won't crack after sudden drops in temperature. Outdoor ceramic tile also needs a PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute rating abrasion test) of Class 3, 4 or 5, with Class 4 and 5 being the most durable.

  3. 3

    Purchase outdoor ceramic tile that is dense, preferably 1/2 inch thick to prevent cracking under impact and foot traffic, and outdoor ceramic tile that has a nonslip surface (an invisible coating of grit on the tile's surface to provide traction) so that if the tile gets wet, people are less likely to slip and fall.

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