Laying Outdoor Porcelain Tiles: 6 Steps to Success

Laying Outdoor Porcelain Tiles: 6 Steps to Success

In this blog post, we'll share our 6 steps for prepping, planning and laying outdoor porcelain tiles - helping you achieve stylish finishes that will last for many years to come. So if you're looking for a guide that breaks down each step in layman's terms - both easily understandable by DIYers yet supported with helpful professional advice – then read on!

Tools You’ll Need

Installing outdoor tile can be a great way to give any patio, walkway, or deck an upgrade. You will need the right tools if you’re considering taking on this project yourself.
First, a circular saw can help you cut the tile accurately and save time by making all of your cuts at once.

Second, chisels are necessary for removing existing tiles and cleaning up any areas that need to prepare for new ones.

Third, you may also need a levelling system to ensure a uniform pattern throughout your installation process.

Finally, you’ll need a masonry saw with diamond blades specifically designed to make precise cuts in ceramic and stone tiles.

With these essential tools in hand, you’ll be ready to tackle your outdoor tile installation project!

Preparing Your Outdoor Space

Installing outdoor tiles can be a great way to spruce up your outdoor space. Preparing for this process requires thoughtful and careful planning so you get the best results. First, you should evaluate what kind of surface lies beneath the tile. It's important to ensure the surface is sound and even in order for it to properly support your new tiles. This may involve levelling or filling uneven spots. Then you should choose a mortar based on weather conditions and desired adhesion to the surface. Once you have done that, lay down cement backer boards which provide an extra layer of waterproofing and strong support for your tiling project before grouting needs to be applied afterwards.

Choosing the Right Tiles

When it comes to choosing your tiles, there are a few important factors to consider. First and foremost, you'll want to select tiles that are strong and durable enough to withstand the different climatic conditions in your area. You'll also want to make sure they can handle heavy foot traffic, as outdoor areas will likely see much more action than indoor spaces.

Additionally, for aesthetic purposes, be sure to choose tiles that complement whatever design you're going for. With so many options out there, it's important to take the time and find something that will look great and stand up well over time.

How to Lay Outdoor Porcelain Tiles

1. Preparing the Subfloor and Base Structures

Preparing the subfloor and base structures for installing outdoor porcelain tiles is an important part of a successful tile installation project. Whether it's on a patio, pool deck, or walkway area, making sure the base is in proper condition is essential as the porcelain tile is heavier and more durable than natural stone pavers. Before installing, it's essential to fill any low spots with concrete and level it out, as well as make sure no water can get underneath the tiles by applying sealers or membranes to the substrate. Failing to properly prepare the subfloor can lead to cracking tile and create health risks from mould due to trapped moisture. Taking the time to ensure a solid foundation sets up your outdoor area for beautiful porcelain tiles that will last for years with proper maintenance.

2. Creating a Mixing Station for Mortar

Creating a mixing station to install outdoor porcelain tiles is an important part of the process. A simple mortar mixer and four-wheelbarrow workstation ensure that all batches of the mixture are even and consistent, leading to a more successful installation. First, put together the mortar in a bucket with exactly-measured materials, ensuring there are no lumps or dry blocks of material. Once thoroughly mixed together, pour it into the wheelbarrow and ensure its level.

Finally, connect a garden hose from a nearby water spigot and use it to add water to reach your desired consistency. With the perfect mix of mortar and a sturdy wheelbarrow station set up, you'll have everything ready for an easier installation and better results in the end.

3. Spreading and Applying the Mortar Layer

Installing outdoor porcelain tiles requires an extra degree of careful preparation, the most important of which is to ensure the substrate that will support them is secure and level. A good place to start is by spreading a mortar layer so that you have an even foundation for the tiling itself. This process involves first mixing together sand, cement, and water until a liquid mortar is formed, before spreading it properly across the substrate with a flat-edged trowel. It's also worth laying out all of your materials ahead of time - in particular, make sure you have enough tiles and mortar to complete the job - as this makes the whole process go much more smoothly. With proper technique and patience, spreading and applying a mortar layer can be made easier for any weekend DIYer looking to install porcelain tiles outdoors.

4. Laying Out The Porcelain Tiles Properly

Laying out the porcelain tiles for your project can seem intimidating; however, it need not be. With the right knowledge and a little patience, you can make sure your tiles are laid correctly and uniformly. Begin by measuring and marking out an area that corresponds to the size of the tile required. Consider the pattern you plan to lay out beforehand – this will ensure you don't accidentally place tiles haphazardly. Additionally, stagger each joint so they don't line up perfectly in each row; this prevents structural weakness.

Finally, allow a small amount of space between the wall and tiles when placing them - this extra room helps products expand as necessary without putting stress on the adhesive bond between them.

5. Sealing Joints Between the Tiles with Grout

Sealing joints between tiles with grout is one of the most important steps in tiling projects. This process helps make the surface look great, prevents water damage, and preserves the integrity of the tile. The right grout should be carefully selected to match the tiles being used, both in colour and composition. After installation and it is recommended that sealing is applied to further protect against moisture penetration. Applying sealer can be a time-consuming but necessary task to maximise your project's longevity and keep it looking perfect for years to come.

6. Curing, Sealing, and Cleaning after Installing Porcelain Tiles Outdoors

Once you've successfully installed porcelain tiles outdoors, the next step is to make sure that they're properly sealed and cured. This process should begin a few days after the installation is finished so that the grout and adhesive have time to set and properly dry. The curing process helps protect against excess moisture absorption and dirt since it creates an invisible layer of protection over the tile. After curing, sealing ensures that any substance - from dirt to oils - that's absorbed by the grout won't damage it. Finally, once these steps are completed, you'll want to clean your tiles on a regular basis with non-abrasive cleaning supplies. Cleaning will help keep them looking like new for years!

Maintenance Tips For Taking Care of Your Outdoor Tiles

If you want to keep your outdoor tiles looking their best, maintaining tiles on a regular basis is required. To start, sweep any loose dirt away from tile surfaces as needed and use a power washer to clear away any tough stains and debris. Spend some time each year filling in any cracks or chipped tiles using grout that is specifically addressed for outdoor use. Finally, routine sealant application will help protect them from water damage, sun fading or discolouration, and other wear and tear. This preventative care can save you money in the long run and ensure you get the most out of your investment!

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Outdoor Porcelain Tile Installation

Installing outdoor porcelain tile is a decorative and stylish way to protect and improve the look of your exterior space. However, it’s not always straightforward, as poor preparation and incorrect techniques can lead to common issues. Knowing how to assess and address potential problems is key to a successful installation. Making sure the surface is clean, dry and completely flat before beginning will help prevent the tiles from shifting. Purchasing high-grade ceramic mortar that has adequate flexibility will help ensure the bond between tile and substrate remains intact despite any temperature fluctuations or moisture issues. Grout choice also plays a critical role in avoiding problematic cracking or gaps between tiles. Choosing a grout that offers superior waterproofing allows for better protection against harsh climates as well as filling any spaces to prevent staining. Taking the time with each step of the installation process can go a long way in troubleshooting common issues with outdoor porcelain tile installation.


Do you need a concrete base for porcelain tiles?

Laying porcelain tiles can be a difficult task if you don't take the time to properly prepare your foundation. While many tiles can simply be attached over existing surfaces like linoleum, when it comes to porcelain tiles, it's highly recommended that you lay them down on top of a concrete base. This will provide greater support for your installation and ensure that your porcelain tiles last for many years to come. If done improperly, the tiles may come loose or crack unexpectedly due to the extra weight applied by foot traffic. Invest the time in doing your groundwork correctly and you'll be rewarded with stunning results that last!

Should you hire a professional?

When it comes to laying porcelain tiles, there are obvious advantages to hiring a professional for the job. Not only do professionals have the experience and know-how to get the job done right and make sure that all components stay in perfect order, but they can also save you time and money. They will be able to quickly lay out the tiles with precision and expert detail, as well as provide advice on what types of adhesive products work best. Porcelain tile is notorious for cracking or becoming loose over time when not secured properly so having a professional handle it can ensure your tiles will last for years. Additionally, if anything goes wrong during installation, the professional has the wherewithal to fix it up quickly and correctly so you won't have to worry about any costly repairs later on down the line.

What is the best base to lay porcelain tiles?

When laying porcelain tiles, the base is just as important as tiling itself; it serves to provide stability and long-term durability to prevent sagging or cracking of tiles. The best base on which to lay porcelain tiles is a concrete slab or mortar bed. Concrete or mortar beds provide a stable and level surface that helps keep the tiles uniform, prevents crumbling over time, and ensures there are no moisture issues. Laying tiles directly on a wooden subfloor isn't advisable either, since wooden surfaces can flex over time causing cracks and other damage to the tile; however, concrete backer boards can be useful in this instance as they provide more stiffness than other materials such as plywood. As long as you adhere to these considerations with any surface preparation prior to tiling porcelain, your results are sure to be efficient and of superior quality for years to come.

Do you need to prime outdoor porcelain tiles?

Preparing an outdoor surface for the installation of porcelain tile can be a challenging task. In some cases, homeowners may need to apply Primer to an outdoor surface under certain circumstances. Primer is usually necessary when the outdoor surface is porous and likely to absorb liquids, such as concrete, brick and cement board. Primer helps protect the subfloor material by sealing it off so that no moisture seeps through it.

Not only will it protect the underlying material, but also ensure a good bond between the existing floor and newly installed porcelain tiles. Applying primer on an external area prior to tiling will help guarantee higher quality results, a longer-lasting installation and a better value over time.

How thick should the mortar be for a porcelain patio?

When installing a porcelain patio, being mindful of the mortar thickness is a crucial step to ensuring a level, secure and successful project. Generally speaking, the ideal mortar mix for porcelain should be somewhere between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch thick when laid out. To measure the thickness accurately, lay out two measuring tapes that are parallel and use them to ensure the mortar is at an even depth throughout your patio. Although many people double up on their mortar batches so they don't have to continually remix batches as they work, this generally results in inconsistencies in thickness which can compromise the stability of your bricks and tiles once finished. Taking your time to properly measure the ideal consistency can help you create a long-lasting patio that looks great and will stand up to any weather elements.


By following the right steps and taking the necessary precautions, you can lay outdoor porcelain tiles successfully. As with any DIY project, be sure to do your research before getting started. And if you run into any problems along the way, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a professional. With a little time and effort, you can create a beautiful outdoor space that you and your family will enjoy for years to come. We stock Britain’s greatest range of outdoor porcelain tiles. Shop for your new tiles today and give your outdoor space the attention it deserves.

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