How to Choose the Perfect Tiles for Your Outdoor Patio

Choosing the perfect patio tiles for your outdoor space is one of the most important decisions when designing this space. The tiles you select need to be durable enough to withstand the elements while also complementing your home’s exterior aesthetic. Investing time upfront to weigh your options will pay off for years to come.

This guide will provide a brief overview of the different patio tile materials, styles, colors, and textures available. We’ll also discuss important factors to consider like durability, maintenance, slip resistance, and budget. With the right information, you can confidently choose tiles that will look beautiful on your patio while standing up to foot traffic and weather. Our goal at International Bath and Tile is to help you find the ideal tiles that reflect your personal style while being practical enough for outdoor use.

Understanding Your Outdoor Space

When choosing tiles for your outdoor patio, the first step is to accurately measure the size and layout of the area you want to cover. This will determine how many tiles you need to purchase.

Use a tape measure to get the length and width of the patio surface. For irregularly shaped patios, you may need to break the area down into rectangles and triangles to calculate the total square footage. Make sure to account for any built-in benches, steps, planting beds, or other features in your measurements.

Also, consider if your patio has a border or edge that won’t be tiled. This will affect the dimensions of the inner tiled area. Measure this border width as well. For patios attached to a house, measure out from the exterior walls, being careful to account for any overhangs or trim.

Having detailed measurements ahead of time will ensure you buy enough tiles to complete the project with minimal cuts or waste. It will also help you visualize how the tile layout will cover the entire patio.

Effects on Tile Materials

High-humidity climates, like in San Diego CA can grow mold or mildew on porous tile materials. Using a sealer and proper installation with a water barrier beneath tiles helps prevent this.

Consider how your climate may impact specific tile materials:

  • Ceramic or natural stone may crack from freeze-thaw cycles or temperature swings.
  • Concrete pavers are prone to efflorescence (white salt deposits) in humid areas.
  • Porcelain resists moisture, humidity, and temperature changes.
  • Wood-look porcelain provides traction but can fade or discolor over time from sun exposure.
  • Rubber tiles expand and contract with temperature changes.

Selecting patio tiles suited for the conditions in your region will help ensure their long-lasting durability and aesthetic appeal.

How Will You Use the Patio?

The way you plan to use your patio will help determine the best type of tile. Here are some key considerations:

Entertaining and Dining

If you’ll use your patio mainly for entertaining guests and outdoor dining, choose tiles that can withstand frequent foot traffic and the movement of patio furniture. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are very durable options. Stay away from smooth, slippery tiles to prevent falls.

For dining areas, use tiles with a matte or lightly textured finish to avoid glare from sunlight. Neutral earth tones like beige or gray make a patio feel welcoming and clean.

Relaxation and Lounging

Using your patio as an outdoor living space for relaxing? Prioritize comfort underfoot. Natural stone like slate or travertine stays cooler than ceramic or porcelain. The texture also provides traction for bare feet.

To enhance the relaxed vibe, pick soothing colors like light blue, sage green, or terra cotta. Avoid high-gloss finishes that can feel sticky on bare skin when hot.

High Traffic Areas

For paths, stairs, and other high-foot traffic zones, select the most durable and slip-resistant tiles. Textured porcelain or ceramic tiles provide excellent grip. Smaller tiles with grout lines also help prevent slips and falls compared to large tiles.

Stay away from natural stone in heavy traffic areas since it can crack and chip over time. Save those luxurious but delicate surfaces for accent areas.

Durability and Weather Resistance

When choosing tiles for your outdoor patio, durability is a key factor to consider. The tiles will be exposed to the elements and need to stand up to your local weather and climate. Areas with moisture and heat require tiles that won’t crack, fade, or deteriorate. Hot, sunny climates also demand tiles that won’t fade or discolor over time.

patio tiles

Your Patio Look

Outdoor living spaces like patios have become increasingly popular in recent years. Homeowners are looking to extend their living areas and enjoy the fresh air in their own backyards. Tiling your patio can provide a beautiful, durable, and low-maintenance surface.

The trend is toward using larger format tiles on outdoor patios. 12 x 24-inch tiles are common, as are rectangular plank tiles. Wood-look porcelain tiles are also popular since they provide the visual appeal of real wood with more durability. Mixing materials is a big trend too – pairing porcelain or ceramic tiles with natural stone accents. Using different colors, patterns, textures, and sizes of tiles together creates visual interest.

Tiling your patio has many benefits beyond aesthetics. Tile stands up to exposure and resists cracking, chipping, and breaking compared to concrete or stamped concrete. The surface won’t fade or stain like some decking or pavers can. Tiles are easy to clean and won’t promote mold growth like wood. A tiled patio also increases your home’s value by providing an attractive outdoor living space for you to enjoy for years to come.

Maintenance and Longevity

Installing tiles on an outdoor patio can add beauty and style to your outdoor living space. When choosing patio tiles, there are a few key factors to consider regarding maintenance, longevity, and aesthetics. Properly selecting and caring for your patio tiles will ensure they stand the test of time and enhance your outdoor area for years to come.

With proper sealing and routine cleaning, patio tiles will retain their beauty with very little maintenance needed. Their resistance to staining, scratching, and wear makes porcelain an ideal choice for low-maintenance outdoor floors.

Tile Sealing

Sealing outdoor tiles is critical for longevity and ease of maintenance. There are a few main types of sealers to consider:

Penetrating Sealers

Penetrating sealers soak into the surface of natural stone, concrete, and some ceramic tiles. They prevent staining by providing an invisible barrier that repels water and oil-based products. Penetrating sealers don’t alter the appearance of tiles. They typically need to be reapplied every 1-3 years.

Topical Sealers

Topical sealers sit on top of the tile surface. They create a protective layer that repels stains. Topical sealers can enhance color and provide a glossy look. However, the coating can get worn down over time, especially in high-traffic areas. Reapplication is needed every 1-2 years.

Enhancing Sealers

Enhancing sealers provide a wet look that intensifies the color and markings of tiles like natural stone, concrete, and saltillo. They also offer stain protection. Enhancing sealers must be reapplied the most often – usually every 6 months to 1 year.

Proper reapplication of sealers according to manufacturer guidelines is key for lasting protection. Weather exposure, traffic patterns, and the quality of the original application impact how often resealing is needed. An annual inspection of outdoor tile is recommended to check if reapplication is required.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Keeping your outdoor tiles looking their best requires regular cleaning and maintenance. Here are some tips:

Preventing Stains

  • Wipe up spills as soon as they happen. The longer a spill sits, the more likely it is to stain the tile.
  • Use coasters under potted plants to prevent water runoff stains.
  • Reapply sealant every 1-2 years to protect against stains. Sealing tiles makes them less porous.
  • Sweep debris like leaves or dirt regularly to prevent buildup.

Power Washing

  • About once a year, power wash tiles to remove built-up dirt, mildew, and stains.
  • Use a pressure washer on a low setting to avoid damaging grout or tiles. Test in an inconspicuous spot first.
  • Allow tiles to fully dry after power washing before walking on them.


  • Outdoor tiles need to be resealed every 1-2 years to renew stain protection.
  • Use a tile sealer specifically designed for exterior use. Apply.

Outdoor living spaces like patios have become increasingly popular in recent years. A survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects found that over 90% of homeowners said having an outdoor living space was important in their choice of home. With more time spent entertaining and relaxing outdoors, the patio has gone from an afterthought to a highly valued extension of the home.

Choosing the perfect tiles is one of the most exciting parts of designing your patio. The tiles we carry at International Bath and Tile will set the aesthetic tone and greatly impact the functionality and durability of the space. With so many options to consider from material to color to pattern, it can feel overwhelming trying to select the ideal tiles. Stop in our showroom in San Diego, CA and we will help you pick the perfect patio tile for your outdoor living space.

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