Many of us will already have embraced the wonders of tiles in our homes as a practical, hardwearing and stylish decor choice. But, this wonderful wall and flooring solution isn’t limited to use indoors - far from it!
Outdoor tiles offer a stunning solution for an easy-to-maintain, sophisticated and contemporary look that isn’t just suitable for warmer climates like the Mediterranean. Even in the UK, where our beautiful isle often throws up some volatile weather conditions, it’s entirely possible to achieve a sleek and stylish exterior with the use of versatile garden tiles.
Before you dive in, though, tiling your decking, barbecue area or patio with any old type of tile, there are a few careful considerations to bear in mind. With exposure to the elements - sun, wind, rain, frost and even snow - choosing a suitable outdoor tile is essential if you want to pull off an outdoor space you can enjoy for years to come. It goes without saying that installing tiles that aren’t suitable for use outdoors could deliver disappointing results, with a greater chance of damage occurring.
We want your home to look beautiful from the inside out, so, to avoid any disasters, read on as we explain exactly what you should be looking for when it comes to choosing the perfect outdoor tile. From material types, essential properties and where to use them to tips on how to install patio tiles, style ideas and much more, you’ll find everything you need to know when it comes to designing stunning exterior tiled areas right here.
Why choose outdoor tiles?
There are plenty of material options available when it comes to designing outdoor spaces. In principle, you can use all types of tiles outside your property - be that ceramic, porcelain, concrete or natural stone. However, each material comes with its own unique properties that can make it more or less suited for use in an outdoor environment.
For instance, some natural stones or ceramic tiles can be perfectly suited in moderate, dry climates because the softer material isn’t as affected by moisture and extreme temperature changes. But, with a higher level of porousness, these materials are more likely to absorb water, which gets into the tile during the freezing and thawing process - causing garden tiles to crack and blow.
So, if you want to give gardens, patios, driveways and more a touch of style and practicality, our selection of exterior tiles could be the perfect solution.
With practical perks built in as standard, garden tiles can give you peace of mind your outdoor tiled areas are designed to last. These include:
- Durability: manufactured from 20mm thick porcelain to deliver a strong, durable and weather-resistant solution for use outdoors that can withstand impacts, footfall and extreme temperature fluctuations
- Practicality: featuring anti-slip properties, our exteriors tiles come with R-rated finishes to help give better grip underfoot, even when wet - giving you a practical, safe surface for outdoor use
- Sustainability: combine the natural materials like clay and stone used to produce tiles with their robustness and you have a long-lasting and sustainable solution for hardscaping outdoors, be that tiled patios, garden walkways or balconies
- Water-resistance: boasting exceptional resistance to water and low water absorption levels, exterior tiles whisk water away from the surface helping to retain their pristine finish
- Low maintenance: all these properties contribute to a low-maintenance outdoor tile that’s easy to clean, although certain materials like natural stone may require a little extra upkeep to keep them looking their best
Exterior tile material options
To make sure you find your dream garden tile, at Tiles Direct, you can shop a variety of material options.
Let’s take a closer look at some of our most popular exterior tile materials:
- Slate: beautiful, strong and 100% natural, slate garden tiles deliver a sleek yet rugged look that’s right at home in luxury and rustic gardens. From hard-wearing patios to winding pathways, slate exterior tiles add a wonderful texture and rustic finish for outdoor landscaping. It’s worth noting that natural stone can be a more labour-intensive option, though, as sealants need to be applied regularly to fully protect the surface from moisture and dirt. But, for an authentic stone look, they’re always worth the effort
- Porcelain: a lower maintenance choice could be porcelain outdoor tiles. These may be the better option for a UK climate that sees its fair share of rainfall. Made from finer and denser ceramic clay, porcelain is fired at a higher temperature and pressure to deliver an incredibly non-porous, hard-wearing and strong outdoor tile. Generally impervious to harsh weather conditions, porcelain patio tiles are less likely to crack and break. Plus, they don’t require additional sealing to keep them looking pristine in the long term, and are available in a broad spectrum of styles and finishes
- Quarry: hard-wearing quarry tiles are made from ground minerals and a similar manufacturing process to bricks to deliver robust tiles for outdoor use. Non-porous, non-slip, incredibly strong and versatile, quarry tiles come in a variety of colours and sizes. This makes them ideal for recreating a traditional, decorative look in period property outdoor entrance ways, garden patios and walkways
Garden tile designs for every home
We realise that home design isn’t a one style fits all, especially when it comes to outdoor spaces.
So, whether you have a small backyard or a huge garden, we’ve put together a collection of outdoor tiles that offers endless styling opportunities to suit every home.
Within our porcelain outdoor tiles range you can choose from some gorgeous designs that give you the look of real stone with added practicality:
- Travertine: keep the look soft, light and soothing for pathways and patios with beautiful travertine-effect garden tiles. They’ll give you the striking features of this pretty natural stone without the related maintenance
- Marble: right at home in luxury garden designs, keep your theme simple and classic with exterior tiles that feature a marble-effect finish. From plush pool areas to elegant al fresco dining spaces, these tiles bring a timeless style
- Granite: enjoy the striking speckled features of granite with a porcelain exterior tile replica that mimics the beauty of the real stone. Minimal upkeep necessary
- Slate: explore a choice of slate-effect garden tiles that will give you all the natural shades and markings of stone in the form of a hard, non-porous porcelain tile
- Cobblestones: our choice of cobblestone patio tiles and patchwork designs lend a rustic touch to outdoor terraces and pathways for added authenticity and character
- Patterns: make your outdoor areas the star of the show by adding decorative outdoor tiles. Just like inside your home, you can use the power of patterns to add interest to outdoor spaces and blur the lines between inside and outside living
Outdoor tile colours galore
Choosing the right colour for your outdoor tiles is just as important as when you’re decorating inside your home.
At Tiles Direct, we have a diverse selection of colours to give you inspiration for reinventing the exterior of your property.
From dramatic dark hues to pale tones, you can create the perfect ambience with classic colours that complement natural surroundings:
- Beige: from light sandy tones to darker brown shades, beige garden tiles have an earthy quality that’s perfect for a rustic, natural colour palette
- Black: create striking contrasts with black garden tiles that provide a dark and dramatic backdrop for lighter landscaping and rich green fauna
- Cream: cream hues can offer the ideal contrast to rich brown, grey and green hues in your garden, creating a soft and soothing space primed for relaxation
- Dark grey: effortlessly versatile and eye-catching, dark grey exterior tiles make a practical and stylish choice for busy pathways and patios
- Light grey: light grey hues work wonderfully with an array of garden design themes. From ultra-modern designs with large, tropical foliage to pretty and colourful floral displays found in country cottages, light grey hues are effortlessly versatile
Outdoor tiling project ideas
When it comes to where and how to use outdoor tiles, the most obvious placement is as a flooring solution.
Their unrivalled strength, durability and weather resistance makes them the perfect material for creating fashionable and functional outdoor areas.
To help you find a little extra inspiration, here are some popular ways you can incorporate outdoor tiles into your garden design:
- Perfect patios: whether you want to create the perfect sun trap or a stylish outdoor dining space, a classic tiled patio could be the ideal solution for curating a comfortable and contemporary outdoor area in your garden for relaxation and socialising. Plus, they’re easy to clean and have built-in slip resistance - perfect for creating an enviable outdoor patio area
- Wonderful walkways: from front steps to pathways, you can give these practical thoroughfares an elegant finish with a timeless garden tile that will last for years
- Beautiful balconies and terraces: sif you want to spruce up a raised terrace or balcony, a tiled floor offers a sleek and stylish finish. Plus, they need minimal care to stay looking fabulous
- Transterior spaces: if you love the idea of ‘transterior’ design (where the lines between the inside and outside of your home are seamlessly blurred), try incorporating garden tiles in coordinated colours in nearby indoor and outdoor areas. Perfect for homes with patios or bi-folding doors, the symmetry between the two different areas will ensure a flawless flow from the inside out
- Flexible zones: modern garden design often puts focus on creating outdoor spaces that offer flexibility. Using different materials like outdoor tiles can be an effective zoning technique for beautifully landscaped spaces. Whether you use different colours to define specific areas within your garden or simply create a distinctive contrast between the outside and inside of your home, cleverly styled zones can be highly effective at evoking a variety of moods. This is sure to make your garden a place you love spending time in
- Decorative flourishes: outdoor tiles have potential that goes far beyond mere flooring solutions, offering scope to give your home’s exterior a decorative touch. From tiled exterior walls and benches to bars, barbecues and even flower beds, the world is your oyster when it comes to getting creative with outdoor tiles. This could even include using the same tiles from floor areas to clad raised flower beds, box planters or decorative wall areas
However you choose to use garden tiles in your home, their introduction to less conventional areas will add class and character. Plus, they’ll provide an extra protective layer to exposed surfaces, ensuring your latest renovations remain in mint condition for years to come.
Outdoor tiling installation tips and accessories
Naturally, laying outdoor tiles comes with a few more complexities and challenges than installing them inside your home.
First and foremost, when it comes to the question of how to install patio tiles, they must be specifically designed for outdoor use - otherwise, they’ll be ill-equipped to face the elements.
Secondly, you’ll need to make sure you have the right adhesive, grout and other outdoor tile installation tools like levelling systems to get the job done right.
With the right tiling accessories ready to go, it’s time to focus on laying outdoor tiles:
- Find your level: successful garden tile installation needs a flat, level surface and a solid base for the tiles to rest on. With flooring projects, this could be an existing patio or decked area, or it may be that you actually need to create a custom-made concrete base. The latter will obviously be a bit more labour-intensive to make sure that it’s structurally sound, so it’s worth seeking professional advice when it comes to this process
- Plan your layout: with a solid base in place, it’s time to plan your layout and decide on your aspirations for the finished look. With a variety of tile patterns, you can create a spectrum of different looks - from clean and classic using symmetrical patterns, to brick lay or herringbone for a more unique and characterful finish. You can even incorporate different shapes and sizes to replicate a natural stone formation. Be sure to carefully calculate how many patio tiles are needed to cover the area, and the number of cuts required
- Install your tiles: as with indoor areas, it’s recommended to mix and lay adhesive in small batches, laying a few garden tiles at a time. This will prevent them from drying out and ensuring the tiles line up as they should. Once all the tiles are laid, the adhesive must be allowed to dry fully before applying the grout. Use tile spacers and a levelling system with a spirit level to achieve a flat surface (or a suitable gradient for drainage if required)
- Seal with grout: grouting is essential for sealing and protecting your garden tiles, preventing water and dirt from getting between the joints. Most grouts are suitable for interior and exterior use, but check with a professional retailer or tiler in advance that yours is suitable for use when laying garden tiles for optimal protection
- Apply additional sealant (optional): for added protection, you can also apply grout sealant along the tile joints to prevent dirt from embedding into the grout lines. If you’re particularly keen to keep any dirt that does gather remain invisible to the naked eye, we’d recommend going with a dark-coloured grout. With a wide variety of shades on offer, you’re sure to find a colour that matches your patio tiles and suits your maintenance needs
Understanding anti-slip ratings
On each product page, you’ll see that every outdoor tile is allocated an anti-slip rating - also known as an ‘R’ rating. This is used to indicate the level of resistance against slipping offered by each tile.
Understanding this system is incredibly simple - the higher the R rating, the more slip-resistant a tile is. While tiles with lower R ratings will still provide adequate slip-resistance around the home, for outdoor tiles and exterior environments, look to use tiles with a R10 marking and above - as these will offer the best resistance against the unreliable British weather!
Why choose Tiles Direct?
When it comes to investing in home renovations, you’ll want to be completely confident in a quality finish that is, quite simply, worth the money it costs. With Tiles Direct, you can enjoy exactly that - thanks to our winning combination of high-end products and pocket-friendly prices.
Whatever your personal tastes, our premium outdoor tiles are made for the job. From pale, travertine-style patio tiles to dark, matt porcelain options, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect garden tiles to bring your outdoor space to life.
If you’re still deciding on the best colour scheme or tile finish, why not take advantage of our tile sample service? For just £1.99, we’ll send you a sample of your chosen garden tile, giving you a chance to get a feel for the look and texture of the product before you buy in bulk.
Are you ready to get started on designing your dream garden or patio? Shop with us today and we’ll arrange for your gorgeous garden tiles to be delivered direct to your door - with free UK delivery on all orders over £499.
For any more information on any of our outdoor tile products, simply give us a call on 0113 253 0005 and our friendly, knowledgeable team of tiling experts will be happy to help!