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How to Tile Outdoor Steps

The look of outdoor steps can be dramatically improved by adding tile. Choose your tile carefully to make sure it will withstand abuse from the rain and snow. Natural stone like slate works well outdoors as does tile formed from concrete. You also want to choose a tile in a size that will reduce the amount of cuts. The tile should be eight inches by eight inches or larger so that you won’t need multiple tiles to cover the rise of the step.

Measure and cut the tiles to fit along the front and top of the steps. Measure the tile and mark a line for the cut with a pencil. Cut each tile with a tile cutter and mark the back of each to indicate where it will be placed on the steps.

Start at the face of the bottom step. This will create a solid foundation for the rest of the tile moving up the steps. Spread adhesive along the face of the step with a trowel.

Set the tiles firmly in place. Use spacers between each tile to keep the tiles equally spaced. Place shims or a piece of two by four along the front of the tile to support the weight and keep the tile from shifting.

Spread tile adhesive along the top of the bottom step. Set the tiles in place.

Continue setting tiles, working your way up the steps until all of the tiles are set. Allow the adhesive to dry overnight.

Remove the spacers by popping them out of the adhesive with a screwdriver. Work grout into the spaces between tiles with a grout float. Move the float back and forth over the tiles to push down the grout and eliminate air pockets.

Clean all the grout from the tops of the tiles with a wet sponge. Remove grout film from the tile surface. Allow the grout to set for 48 hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Tile adhesive
  • Shims or lumber
  • Trowel
  • Tile
  • Spacers
  • Tile cutter
  • Screwdriver
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
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About the Author

Lisa East Hunter is a consultant and freelance writer in Phoenix. Her background in marketing and technology led her to explore all avenues of writing. She is currently dividing her time between freelance writing and her consulting business. Hunter has a Bachelor of Science in management information systems and marketing.