The addition of outdoor tiles can turn any outdoor space into a colorful and lush environment. The available selection of outdoor tiles is just as diverse as indoor varieties. These tiles are many of many different materials including red clay, ceramics, wood, porcelain and marble (most expensive). Bland concrete slabs are the most commonly transformed locations for homeowners, and it can be quite easy to do.
Select An Area
Outdoor tile has countless uses outdoors. You can place tile underneath an outdoor dining area with colors matching your furniture. Accenting walkways, door entrances and even stairs is also widely done. Tile is both durable and beautiful, presenting many options for decorating. The entire floor does not have to be tiled. For example, tile can be set in a circular or square pattern to serve as a base for a patio seating area.
Prepare The Area
The floor should be flat and level (preferably concrete). If the floor has bumps or depressions, the tile will roll back and forth when stepped on, most likely breaking the piece. Fill in depressions with concrete filler and sand smooth. Bumps can be chipped away or sanded. Next, it is very important that the concrete be cleaned. You can use a chemical called Tri-Sodium Phosphate (a popular cleaning solution) or a brand name product such as Krud Kutter. Using a scrub brush, liberally apply the cleaning solution and scrub generously in circular motions. Wash clean with water and let it dry completely before proceeding. Optional: To help the tile stick to the floor, you can apply concrete paint. This should be done after the floor has dried. Don't worry about what color the sealer is, as it will be covered up by the tile later on. This paint is also known as garage floor coating or garage floor sealer.
Plan The Layout
Your floor is ready for tile, but you first need to figure out how much
you will need to buy. Using a piece of white chalk, draw a rough sketch of the area you wish to cover. Next, take a measuring tape and run it along the sides of the area to be covered. Multiply two sides joined at an edge to determine the square footage of the area. This measurement will not be exact, but don't worry. You will be adding some extra tile to your "grocery list" to account for broken and cut pieces, as well as unexpected changes in your plan. A general rule is to add 10% more tile than you need. Each tile has a certain square footage (example: 0.25 SF). To determine how many tiles you'll need, simply divide the SF of the area to be tiled by the SF of a single tile. Don't forget to add 10% more tile to that number.
Laying The Outdoor Tiles
Hopefully you picked up some unmixed grout and mortar at the store. If not, run back and get some. You'll also want a tile spacer and possibly tile cutter for this next procedure. Starting at one end of the area, spread a small amount of mixed mortar onto the ground using a painter's spatula. Only do a small area at a time, as the mortar has a
tendency to dry quickly. Instructions on the mortar package should tell you exactly how thick to spread the grout. Lie down your tiles in a row along the far wall/end of the area. Use the tile spacer to ensure that each piece is exactly the same distance apart. Tiles are not placed right next to each other, rather they have a small distance between them which is filled with grout. As you proceed, wash the top of each tile with a wet rag, removing any excess mortar. It can be a pain to remove it once dry. Continue making rows until you reach the end of the room.
Complications can arise when you have an obstruction in the middle of the area, such as a built in grill or table. You may find that the tiles don't match up right and will not fit properly. In this case, the tile will need to be cut. This can be done with a simple, non-powered tool like the one shown on the right. Tiles are placed in the tool and the handle is drawn over it, cleanly slicing it. Always use the spacer to leave a gap between the walls/ends of area and the tile.
It's Grout Time
At this point your outdoor floor should be covered with precisely laid outdoor tiles. An equal space should be between each one on all sides. Before you go mixing the grout, you should buy a grout float. Grout floats are used to work the grout into the cracks, as well as smooth the grout at an equal depth. Get the grout into the cracks and use the float to ensure that there are no low spots. Wipe off excess grout as you go, but don't worry if the outdoor floor tiles look a bit cloudy. This will be removed later. After the grout has set, repeat the process with the grout float, removing excess grout from the face of the tile.
After the grout has dried completely, use a wet rag to wash the entire surface. If haze remains, take a damp cloth and go over the floor one more time. When satisfied, apply a grout sealer to protect your new floor and prevent mold from forming in the grout and underneath the outdoor tiles.
- If you are remodeling, you are invited to ask questions and take advantage of the resources on www.continuous-home-improvement-help.com , where guidance, information and support are always available to help homeowners make better decisions.