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How to lay a patio
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="704"] New Stone White Outdoor Tile[/caption] Patios may be a pain to lay out BUT they are well worth it come the summer months and you want to entertain family and friends. And, where once patios were a walk on the boring side, today, thanks to the wonders of modern tiling technology, you can now take the indoors outdoors and with our great selection of outdoor tiles make your patio an extension of your home. Plus, once installed, patios are relatively low maintenance, hard wearing and thanks to the latest in anti-slip technology, safe for all ages all year round.

Why it is important to plan out your patio

Once you’ve identified where you’d like your patio to go, it’s always advisable to draw out a plan. Make sure you include all the relevant measurements and mark down any permanent features such as your house, fences etc in your design. Having planned your patio, you should ‘dry lay’ the slabs out in your preferred design. This is a great way of visualising how your patio is going to look while double checking that your measurements are correct. If your patio is going to be next to your house, then don’t forget that the patio surface needs to sit 150mm below the damp proof course of the house.

What tools do I need for laying a patio?

What tiles are suitable for outdoor use?

When it comes to laying a patio it’s important to understand the types of tiles that are suitable for outdoor use.

Ceramic tiles

While it might be tempting to use ceramic tiles outdoors, they are simply not frost proof and will crack in cold weather. Why? There is too much moisture left in the tile during the manufacturing process which then expands when it freezes causing the ceramic tile to ‘pop’ as they say.

Porcelain tiles

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="637"] Caliope Beige Outdoor Tile[/caption]   Porcelain tiles are the ideal choice for your garden. They are a lot more durable than their ceramic counterparts, and are generally impervious to frost, mould and staining, making them perfect for use all year round. What’s more, if you select a porcelain tile with a high slip resistance, this will ensure they are safe to walk on whatever the weather. It is worth noting that not all porcelain tiles are created equal. For instance, a 1cm porcelain tile will have to be laid onto a cement screed while a 2cm porcelain tile, such as those listed here, are specially designed to be used outdoors allowing you to fix the tiles in various ways whether that be on grass, gravel, pedestals, or a cement screed.

What substrate should I use for outdoor tiles?

Preparation is the key when it comes to tiling and we would recommend using a concrete or cement sand screen with a thickness of at least 50mm as the basis on which to lay your outdoor tiles. This way it will ensure that your substrate can support both the weight of the tile but also additional loads (i.e., family, friends or furniture).

How to lay your patio

Step 1
Just like a floor or wall in your house, the first tile that you lay is always the most important, as it provides a guide for the other tiles to follow. So, take your time and make sure that it is positioned correctly and sat level. However, unlike your floor or wall, the best starting position for outdoor tiles is in the corner at the highest point of the patio.
Step 2
Once you’ve found your starting point, dampen the underside of the tile with a brush and lay it down. Then gently tap the tile with your rubber mallet to bed it in.
Step 3
Once you’ve cracked the first slab (so to speak), laying the rest should be relatively easy. Most people tend to work row by row to keep thing simple. Remember to leave gaps between the tiles (as you would do if you were tiling indoors) using tile spacers. Ideally these gaps should be 5mm.
Step 4
We would always recommend using your spirit level to regularly check your tiles are level as they all need to lie flat so they can bed into the mortar properly. Now that’s done you can breathe out, relax and enjoy what’s left of your day while you wait for your tiles to dry. We’d recommend leaving your tiles for up to 48 hours. They always say to cover your tiles if you think it’s going to rain. But this being the UK, and the general likelihood it will rain, especially in summer, we say cover them straightaway!

How to point a patio

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="551"] Riven Graphite Outdoor Tile[/caption] It’s time to apply the finishing touches before you can use your patio, namely filling those gaps between your tiles. If you’ve left a space of up to 5m between your tiles we would recommend using a soft brush to sweep kiln-dried sand into the joints. However, if they are anything between 5 – 10mm then a dry mortar mix is best. The combination of one part sand to one part cement creates a firmer mixture that will set natural as it absorbs moisture from the ground. To apply gradually fill the gaps using a soft brush, compressing the mix as you go along until it is full. Make sure to sweep off any cement mix from the tile to avoid possible staining. A wet mortar mix is suitable more than 10mm wide. To create your mix four parts sand and one part cement in a bucket and add sufficient water to create a smooth consistency. Then work the mortal into the gaps with a trowel, smoothing as you go along. Carefully brush away any excess before it has a chance to stain and then leave to dry. We would recommend a minimum of 24 hours for all three methods before inviting your family and friends over for a BBQ.

Need more information?

If you have any questions regarding selecting the right tiles for your home, then feel free to contact our Customer Services team using our web chat facility.

Recommended reads

If this has whetted your appetite to learn more about all things tiles, then why not check out these related advice articles: What are the best tiles to use for a patio How to clean outdoor tiles
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What are the best tiles to use outside
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Manhattan Grey Outdoor Tile[/caption] Thinking of giving your garden a makeover? Whichever style you are thinking of going for, whether it’s cool and contemporary or more meandering cottage style, it’s always advisable to factor in a patio to act as a focal point for entertaining family and friends during the summer months (as well as the occasional sunbathing session when you’ve got a minute to yourself). But it’s important before you order any tiles to know which ones are best suited for outdoor use as outdoor tiles have to put up with a lot more than their counterparts inside your home, especially in terms of extremes of temperature. Chose the wrong tile and you could find yourself with cracked tiles as soon as the first frost hits.

Can I use porcelain tiles outside?

Porcelain is definitely the go-to tile for use in the garden. Porcelain is routinely lauded for its durability, looks and ad (as well as looks) inside the home. And the same goes for the garden, where porcelain is equally in its element. If you are thinking of going for porcelain then make sure to go for the right type of porcelain tile, one preferably that is at least 20mm thick and with a high slip resistance to make them safe for the family in all weather. Vitrified porcelain is best as it’s impervious to frost, mould and staining making it a great low maintenance option for many years to come. It’s also ensures your tiles won’t fade or scratched through regular use.

Porcelain tiles come in a variety of styles

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="598"] Merlot Bone Outdoor Tile[/caption] One of the other benefits of using porcelain tiles outside is that they come in a variety of styles. This means you can keep things nice and minimal with a cement or concrete effect or alternatively go for something altogether more extravagant such as marble or stone. Outdoor porcelain tiles can also warm up in direct sunlight so if you’ve created a patio in a suntrap, it might be worth choosing a lighter finish to reflect light rather than a darker finish which is more likely to absorb light (and with it heat).

Can you use ceramic tiles outside?

Contrary to what some might say ceramic tiles are simply not frost proof and if used outside will ‘pop’ and crack in the cold weather. Unlike porcelain tiles, there is too much moisture left in ceramic tiles during the manufacturing process. This leaves room for moisture to expand when it freezes resulting in the aforementioned cracks.

Taking the indoors outdoors

Porcelain is also a highly affordable choice for extending the look from the inside of your home outside. If you are thinking of going for this look, then make sure you select internal porcelain tiles that are also suitable for outdoor use. And try avoiding gloss finish porcelain tiles wherever possible when being used outdoors as they can become very slippery when wet. Opt instead for textured, matt finish tiles. If you’re sold on outdoor porcelain tiles then why not take a look at our selection of highly affordable, easy to install outdoor tiles. They are absolutely perfect for glamming up your garden this summer.

Need more information?

If you have any questions regarding selecting the right tiles for your home, then feel free to contact our Customer Services team using our web chat facility.

Recommended reads

If this has whetted your appetite to learn more about all things tiles, then why not check out these related advice articles: Best way to clean outdoor tiles
Read more
How to clean your outdoor tiles
The summer is almost upon us which means having family and friends over for at the weekend for a BBQ in the sunshine. So, why not take the opportunity to give your outdoor tiles a good clean beforehand so that your patio is looking as good as new when everyone arrives. The great thing about outdoor tiles is that they are not only extremely durable, but they are also extremely low maintenance – which is good news in our book.

What tools do you need to clean outdoor tiles?

  • Soft bristled brush
  • Stiff bristled brush
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Cleaning products
  • Gloves
Before you get down and dirty to so speak cleaning your tiles, we’d always advise giving them a good sweep with a hard bristled brush to remove any surface debris that might have built up over the previous months.

What are the best products for cleaning outdoor tiles?

Once you’ve removed all the leaves it’s time to tackle things such as moss etc. While you can resort to good old fashioned elbow grease to remove them, you’ll find life a lot easier if you use a product such as Fila Deterdek Pro. It’s a powerful detergent designed to remove algae, moss etc from tiles without damaging them. Simply wash down your tiles with a hose or a watering can then dilute your Fila Deterdek Pro into a bucket to the required ratio (it’s usually 1 litre to 5 or 10 litres of water) and apply your solution onto your tiles a few square metres at a time. Once you’ve covered all the tiles, pop on the kettle for a brew and leave it to do its work for a few minutes. By the time you’ve finished your drink, your tiles will be ready for you to scrub with a hard bristled brush before rinsing off with plenty of water. If you find that some stains haven’t gone, repeat this process just with a higher concentration and that should do the trick.

Don’t forget to clean your grout lines at the same time!

Sadly, grout lines often get overlooked when cleaning outdoor tiles. Don’t let the side down. Instead use a product such as Fila Fuga Proof. It’s great for removing dirt, mould and even stains from your grout lines without damaging your tiles. And, applying it is even easier. Simply spray into the grout lines, leave for a few minutes, and then work it into the grout lines with a stiff bristled brush until you are happy. Then wash away with clean, cold water and it’s not only your tiles that will sparkling when your family and friends arrive. The last thing you need to do, after you’ve put everything away, is have a quick shower, get changed, fire up the BBQ and get ready for a night on the tiles!

Need more information?

If you have any questions regarding selecting the right tiles for your home, then feel free to contact our Customer Services team using our web chat facility.

Recommended reads

If this has whetted your appetite to learn more about all things tiles, then why not check out these related advice articles: The best tiles to use outside  
Read more