What kind of tile can be used outdoors?

Written by amanda stovall
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What kind of tile can be used outdoors?
Tile intended for outdoor use must be weather and temperature resistant. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Outdoor tile can be used to create walkways, stepping stones, patios, ornate decorations on walls and mantels, or to line the sides of a swimming pool. Tiles used in any of these capacities must be more durable and weather resistant than tiles typically used for indoor construction; they must be able to withstand extreme heat, cold, moisture, and pressure.

Stone Tile

Stone tiles are well suited to outdoor use because they are strong and durable. Real stone tiles are cut from rocks, so they are naturally rough and weather resistant. Rough tiles provide better traction for walking on, which is important in an area that is susceptible to rain. Stone tile may also be treated with a weather sealant to ensure a longer lifespan. These tiles can be used to line walkways, create large stepping stones, or line outdoor water features, among other uses. The most commonly used types of stone tile include slate, sandstone, and travertine.

Terra Cotta Tiles

Terra cotta tiles are typically found on roofs, but they can also be used on patios and can be arched or flat. These tiles date back to the 1500s in the United States, and are often used in Mediterranean and Spanish style architecture. These smooth tiles can last for hundreds of years, repelling rain and hail and other elements of the weather. The tiles can break, however, and sometimes require maintenance or replacement.

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are naturally water resistant, and thus an excellent option for outdoor landscaping and construction. These tiles are also hard and durable, and can be manufactured to have a non-slip surface, making them safe as an outdoor option. Porcelain tiles can chip, though, and it is important to use a full body tile, as this ensures that the colour of the tile runs all the way through.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tiles are a durable outdoor tile option, but they must be artificially sealed and treated to be made weather resistant. Their smooth surface enables them to be cleaned easily, but this can be dangerous if they become slippery. These tiles must be maintained with weather treating every other year to prevent cracks and damage.

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