How to Choose Outdoor Tiles – 3 Top Tips from Flooring Specialist

This time of year our focus naturally gravitates toward our outdoor spaces, where the allure of a stunning patio area or an attractive garden path can truly elevate the garden. Ben Willis, flooring specialist at Willis & Stone, offers his insights into the essential considerations for embarking on such a project. Read on and discover 3 top tips on how to choose outdoor tiles.

Matching Inside & Outside

Choosing matching tiles for both the interior and garden remains a popular choice for homeowners, particularly for those who have bi-fold, sliding, or large patio doors. The continuity in the floor design helps blur the boundaries between the inside and the out, making the overall living space feel much larger. This is even the case when the doors are closed, as the room appears to continue outside. It can also make it easier to continue your interior design style outside, making the garden feel like a natural extension of the home interior. This also works from a functional viewpoint for spring and summer entertaining, allowing guests to move freely between the house and the garden.

Hamlet Limestone Interior & Exterior Limestone tiles by Ca'Pietra and Willis & Stone, 3 Design Tips for Choosing the Outdoor Tiles, Matching Inside & Outside,
 Hamlet Limestone Interior & Exterior Tiles by Ca’Pietra

When choosing tiles to achieve this look, bear in mind that you cannot simply use interior tiles outside. Exterior tiles will generally be thicker than interior tiles and you will need to choose a suitable material such as natural stone or porcelain to ensure they can withstand the elements, such as sunlight and temperature fluctuations. Outdoor tiles will also need to have a textured finish to prevent people slipping on them when they’re wet, so this needs to be considered for inside too if you wish to maintain a consistent look.

Related Article – How to Design Outdoor Living and Dining Rooms

Down the Garden Path

Gorse Crown Sandstone by Willis & Stone, Down the Garden Path, How to Choose Outdoor Tiles - 3 Top Tips from Flooring Specialist,
Gorse Crown Sandstone 

For garden paving, limestone or sandstone tiles are a practical and beautiful choice, offering a natural, earthy appearance that will complement many different styles of garden design. With subtle variations in color and texture, the tiles add visual interest to garden spaces without overpowering the surrounding landscape. As the appearance of natural stone often improves with age, they are a great investment too, sure to stand the test of time and enhance the overall charm of your outdoor environment.

Roman Farmhouse Limestone by Willis & Stone,
Roman Farmhouse Limestone 
Moorland Farmhouse Sandstone by Willis & Stone, 3 Design Tips for Choosing the Outdoor Tiles,
Moorland Farmhouse Sandstone 

For a sleek and contemporary style, opt for large-format tiles, arranged in a linear or staggered pattern. This approach lends itself to a minimalist design with crisp lines and seamless edges, creating a polished and modern look. Neutral colors are ideal for achieving a contemporary style, and with the correct maintenance, will enhance any outdoor space for years to come. Maintenance primarily involves regular cleaning to remove any build-up of dirt, algae, and other debris that can accumulate over time, and periodic sealing to preserve the appearance and protective properties of the tiles.

Shoreline Ivory Sandstone by Willis & Stone, Garden Tiles,
Shoreline Ivory Sandstone
Rustic Crown Sandstone by Willis & Stone, Outdoor Tiling Ideas,
Rustic Crown Sandstone

Related Post – 20 Outdoor Spaces Created by Designers – Photo Ideas

Laying Your Outdoor Tiles

While some may opt to hire a professional for laying outdoor tiles, enthusiastic and capable DIYers can complete the task themselves, although they will need certain tools. If you are planning to give it a go, begin by meticulously planning the area to be paved, ensuring the patio has a slight slope for proper drainage (about 2.5cm for every 1.5cm).

Transfer your plans onto the ground using the builder’s string, pegs, and a builder’s square, marking the pegs to indicate the final depth of the hardcore, bedding mortar, and patio slabs. Dig down to approximately 150mm and add a layer of hardcore across the entire area to a depth of 80mm, leveling out any bumps before compacting it with a whacker.

Denham Limestone Seasoned from Ca' Pietra and Willis & Stone, Laying Your Outdoor Tiles,
Denham Limestone Seasoned from Ca’ Pietra

Next, apply a layer of bedding mortar, double-checking that your string lines are still square. Now, carefully lay your first slab, ensuring accurate positioning and gently tapping it down with a rubber mallet. Repeat this process for the remaining slabs, using a spirit level to verify alignment. After completion, allow 24 hours for the slabs to set before filling the gaps between them. Before sealing the tiles, ensure that all salt has evaporated from the cement used in the mortar bed and pointing compound.

Neranjo Limestone Tumbled from Ca' Pietra and Willis & Stone, How to Choose Outdoor Tiles - 3 Top Tips from Flooring Specialist,
Neranjo Limestone Tumbled from Ca’ Pietra

Whether you choose to embark on a DIY endeavor or entrust the task to professionals, with a bit of careful planning and research, the result will be something you can enjoy for many years and will help enhance the look of both your garden and house.

Text and Photos – Willis & Stone Press / Bay Tree PR

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By Danica Maričić

Interior Designer and Integrated Marketing Communications Pro, Loving Writing and Photography, Passionate about Life & Style, “True Blue” Mediterranean Girl, Curious Traveller & Designer