The catalog of tile shapes, sizes and materials is extensive and growing. Did you know that tile outdoors is a creative design option in Madison WI? Patios, porches and pool surrounds are more popular than ever. With study and research you can find the perfect tile to enhance the beauty and versatility of your outdoor living space. Couple professional installation with the right grout and sealant and tile will withstand even Wisconsin’s winters.
As the annual freeze/thaw process works throughout the season, tile expands and contracts. It will crack of you choose the wrong kind or install it poorly. Outdoor installation pose special challenges – but they are not impossible. Not only does outdoor tile have to withstand extreme temperature changes, it is exposed to sun, wind, rain, foot traffic, yard chemicals and dirt. People, furniture, planters and tools add abrasion risks.
Would an accent of decorative tile make your patio or covered porch really shine? First step: review potential tiles to see if they’re stand up to winter extremes. Frost resistance is measured by an official ASTM standard – ASTM C1026 – that tells how it stands up to the freeze/thaw cycle. In short, it says a tile with a porosity of 3% or less is preferred. Definitely avoid anything greater than a 5% rating. The more porous a tile is the more moisture it absorbs. That moisture freezes and the tile cracks when temperatures plunge.
As you plan an outdoor installation, these steps are simple but easily overlooked:
- Check tile rating for a low porosity – it will be on the packaging or documentation
- Use tile rated for exterior use – logical, but not all tiles work outdoors and dozens of projects are redone because of this simple slip-up
- Work with a tile professional to select quality outdoor tile from a reputable manufacturer
Popular Choices For Tile Outdoors
The selection of tiles for outdoor settings ranges from natural stone to man-made materials – check our tile shop Madison WI. Among the most popular tiles for inside and outside are:
- Porcelain tile – used outdoors it has restrictions. It is slippery when wet. Not ideal on floors, it is however fine on walls of outdoor kitchens, countertops, etc.
- Natural stone – when rated for freezing temperatures stone and brick tiles work well as accents on walls, etc. Natural stone needs to be sealed and resealed often.
- Slate – slate tile looks great, but it takes study to find a version that is safe to use outdoors. There are a few forms that will withstand freezing temperatures. As other with other natural stones slate needs sealing regularly.
The challenge of using tile for outdoor projects in Wisconsin goes beyond picking the nicest looking pieces. No project is successful without appropriate site preparation. There are three basic components for a successful tile installation outdoors:
- Substrate, the foundation— preparation begins on the ground, wall, countertop or wherever the tile will go. Applying waterproofing material and crack isolation membranes reduces cracks. Expansion joints are a must – providing room to move over anti-fracture membranes.
- The right mortar— the right mortar is extremely important. There are polymer-modified thin set mortars that include antifreeze and thaw-resistant additives. Coverage of at least 95% is mandatory to ensure solid bonding. Not all mortars are alike – use a mortar that’s compatible with your tile.
- Grouts and Sealants— polymer-modified grouts are designed for lower water absorption. Additives can make grout stronger, denser and more resistant to temperature swings and water penetration while increasing flexibility. Sealants protect exposed surfaces reducing moisture absorption and protecting against stains, etc.
Tap Professional Services For Tile Outdoors
Installing tile anywhere in the home has become a popular do-it-yourself project for hundreds of homeowners. In many cases, with tips from the professionals and a few basic tools it makes sense. But, with the complications of extreme temperatures and moisture outdoors exterior installation are best left to skilled, experienced hands. If you want to tackle an outdoor project, Molony Tile is your resource for the right tile, tools, grouts, sealants and professional counsel.
In its extensive showroom, Molony Tile features unique, durable and elegant tile solutions for your indoor and outdoor living areas. You’ll find no greater tile selection or source of expert advice. For more than 70 years Molony’s skilled craftsmen have provided expertise for jobs throughout the Madison area. Our staff is ready to assist any way it can.
Call 608-268-8453 or email us to make an appointment to visit the region’s most complete tile showroom. We’re here when you’re ready to get serious about installing tile outdoors in Madison WI.