The Best Temperature to Install Ceramic Tile Outside

Updated November 21, 2016

When choosing an outdoor decor for your patio or deck, your options are endless. However, no amount of beauty or style is going to endure over time unless your initial installation is done correctly, which includes installing ceramic tile when the temperature is neither too cold nor too hot. Depending on your project specifications, choosing the right temperature in which to set your tile is very important.

Dry and Warm

Some locations are more prone to freezing and frost troubles than others. Because of this potential for an extreme drop in temperature, it is important to plan your installation during a dry and warm season. High levels of humidity should also be avoided due to the water absorption rate of the tile. Ideally, this absorption rate should be 3 per cent or less to ensure a long life for the tile.

In most places, a dry, late summer day with median temperatures of 20.0 to 22.2 degrees C is the best time to lay ceramic tile outside. This will help retain the ceramic in its original form without cracks or the chance of damage from water. Extreme frost or cold temperatures can crack ceramic tile, damaging them before or after installation. Look for frost-proof tiles that will help prevent this problem.

Grouting and Sealing

Once your tile has been laid and is ready to grout, you should ideally have an additional week or so of clear and dry weather ahead. Thus the importance of a late summer installation, since rain is less likely at this time. You should allow the grout 24 hours to cure before stepping onto it. Ideally, allow the tile an additional seven days to set before sealing. In an outdoor setting, sealing your tile will prevent moisture absorption into the grout and maintain its original colour.

When sealing, be sure the area is dry and free of debris. Allow the sealant seven days to absorb before getting the surface wet. This is where it can be crucial to protect the area from rain, humidity and various temperature fluctuations. With high heat in the midday and a cool, moist night through early morning, tiles can expand and absorb drastically, causing damage to the grout. The sealant will not protect unless conditions remain constant as it is absorbed, especially when laid outdoors.

Climate Concerns

Climate can play a major role in laying ceramic tile outside. In Florida, the spring may be the best time for such a project, as summer can be very humid. Farther west in Arizona, dry air makes it possible to lay tile from April until October. But in certain places of the world, it is nearly impossible to complete an outdoor project that requires a week of dry, 68-degree weather. If you find yourself in an area with temperatures that regularly hover around zero degrees, don't fear. The frost-proof tile is considered perfect for the job. This ceramic tile is rated for colder climates and almost always comes with a warranty ensuring endurance in this area.

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