ASK AN EXPERT
Q- WHAT KIND OF TILE IS BEST FOR OUTDOOR USE/WHAT TILES ARE SUITABLE FOR OUTDOORS?
A- Mandarin Stone offer a wide range of natural stone and porcelain tiles which have been specifically sourced for external use. They are normally thicker (20, 30 or 50mm) than those for internal use so that they are more robust against the wear and tear that goes hand in hand with fixing externally in the UK. Outdoor tiles often have more texture to the surface in order to help increase grip when wet or frosty. The increased thickness of the tiles allows them to be fixed in the more traditional ‘sand/cement’ method without needing to pour costly concrete slabs.
Q- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INDOOR AND OUTDOOR TILES?
A- Before installation, the most obvious difference is the thickness, outdoor tiles are thicker to make them more resilient to weathering and to allow them to be installed onto a compacted sub-base with a sand/cement mix, rather than having to spend additional time and money on the preparation required to fix 10mm thick tiles externally. External tiles both in stone and porcelain tend to have more textured surfaces to increase grip. With stone this takes the form of ‘antique’ surfaces such as ‘tumbled’ or ‘riven’ finishes, porcelains often have an increased texture which is pressed into the tile’s surface.
Q- ARE OUTDOOR TILES SLIPPERY?
A- If clean and dry outdoor tiles shouldn’t be slippery as they are designed for outdoor use. There are external factors that can affect the surface grip of your external tiles, such as water, ice and leaf litter from overhanging or surrounding vegetation.
Q- DO OUTDOOR TILES NEED SEALING?
A- This debate about whether or not to seal outdoor stone tiles is one that remains ongoing and doesn’t necessarily have a right or wrong answer. All natural stone is naturally porous to varying degrees depending on the type of stone. Sealing will prevent moisture getting into the stone and extend the time that weathering takes to affect the stone, however this could lead to water sitting on the surface of the tiles which can freeze in winter and cause issues of its own. Not sealing will mean that the stone will weather more quickly and more naturally and lead to a beautiful, lived-in look. Porcelain tiles have a very low porosity so it is very difficult to ‘stain’ the tiles themselves, however the increased surface texture of outdoor porcelain tiles can ‘hold on’ to dirt particles so they can be sealed with Fila Stop Dirt which is a topical surface sealant which makes routine cleaning of these tiles less arduous.
Q- HOW DO I CLEAN OUTDOOR TILES?
A- Normal sweeping of your outdoor tiles should be enough but all settings are unique and there are many factors that can dictate the cleaning routine required. Occasional cleaning with either Fila Cleaner Pro or Fila PS87 Pro may be required every now and then. Vegetation, animals and normal foot traffic can all leave their mark on your tiles but there are nearly always remedies to anything that flora and fauna can throw at your outdoor tiles.
Q- HOW DO I CHOOSE OUTDOOR WALL TILES?
A- Most porcelain tiles are frost-proof so can be used on external walls externally, although some glazes may weather over time. Ceramic tiles tend to be more porous and so are better suited to sheltered areas, while natural stone wall tiles require sealing to protect them from the elements. These are perfect for outdoor kitchens which are a growing popular trend at the moment.
If you have a question that’s not been answered here, visit one of our 14 UK showrooms or get in touch where our experts are on-hand to help.