tile tips for outdoor living

by clé tile | published: May 17, 2019

an outdoor patio with clé tile cement squares in arc on the floor.
an outdoor patio with clé tile cement squares in arc on the floor.

it’s that time of year again — spring is in full bloom and our attention is turned to the outdoors.

looking for more living space? why not experience the newest trend by expanding your interior living space into your exterior? if you are lucky enough to have space that flows into your out-of-doors, clé has a whole host of offerings to make this transitional area as tasteful as it is useful.

when shopping for tiles to use outdoors, there are a few factors at play. here are 3 key reminders to consider when choosing a tile for a patio or exterior project:

1) some tiles are more slip resistant than others. because you’re out in the elements, you want to be sure that what’s below your feet offers as much resistance to moisture as possible. pretty much any unglazed tile can endure the wet outdoors when set and treated properly. the key is to only install above grade, and when possible beneath a covered patio. it is also important to seal tiles with sealant that not only offers water-proofing but also heightens the slip-resistance.

glazed tiles on the other hand are a little more tricky as the glaze is what makes them slippery outdoors. while we don’t necessarily recommend these tiles for outdoors, if you are set on using a glazed tile, opt for one that is four inches or less in size so you have enough grout to create slip resistance. then be sure to seal your grout joints, accordingly. this is also the general rule for using glazed tiles on a shower floor. (a final note about slip resistance- nearly any surface can become slippery under shampoo, lotions, or water soaked shoe soles. it is always best to take care when walking on any outdoor finishes.)

2) check your tile for uv resistance. this primarily applies to our cement tiles but uv can be tough on a lot of surfaces. we suggest sticking with neutral colors for the outdoors that are prone to less fading. but if you insist on some of our amazingly colored cement patterns -no, problem- just keep them under the canopy!

here’s a roundup of our tiles that are suitable for exterior exposure and can easily transition from indoor flooring to outdoor patio tile.

cement tiles

clé cement tiles come in a wide range of colors and patterns, and work wonders indoors and out. the coefficient of friction (slip-resistant for you non-professionals) is rated for outdoor areas including wet areas. where the temperature is hot, we recommend neutral colors to resist sun fading. in particular, avoid colors and patterns that have blue, green, and violet as these are most prone to fading. for cement in colder climates, use tile sealed with waterproof sealants and shielded under a bit of flashing. cement tiles can be used on the floor but also on vertical walls and taken from your inside wall through to the outside to seamlessly connect with a terrace wall.

an outdoor shower featuring clé tile cement pattern squares in peabody.


clé slate is sustainable, natural, highly durable and comes in shades of black and grey. it is an all-round weather friendly surface and it has natural slip-resistance due to it’s cleft texture when split on the natural grain. this tile is ideal for hard working areas like entryways and outdoor patios. like most natural stone, slate requires sealing to prevent staining and help with repelling water. sealing slate will also enhance the deep dark grey tones found in this natural stone. we recommend using a penetrating sealant before and after grouting: specific recommendations differ based on the location of the installation, so please consult our slate material guidelines before you seal your tile.

outdoor with clé tile slate square 12x12 on the floor
clé tile slate squares on a patio floor.


this European outdoor staple, either new or antique, gives any home a boost of authentic, primal earthiness like no other tile. once properly sealed, terracotta can be used outdoors in sunny climates. we at clé offer a range of terracotta tiles – from antique tiles procured from centuries-old European structures to modern Italian interpretations from acclaimed tile producer fornace brioni and designer cristina celestino.

clé tile belgian reproduction tile in star and cross bundle on a mudroom floor.