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tile tips for outdoor living

photography: anthropologie 


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 the 3 key things to consider when choosing tile before you embark on a patio or exterior project:

1) slip resistance:  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, or if there’s dirt, vegetation or similar on the tile surface. it is always best to take care when walking on any outdoor finishes.)

2) sun and uv exposure: this primarily applies to our cement tiles, as well as to painted (watermark) and printed (lithography) 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!

3) freeze-thaw: if you live in an area prone to frost, your tiles will have to be sealed to prevent water from getting into the pores of the tile (once water penetrates a tile then freezes, it can expand and break the body of the tiles.) check out our list of freeze- thaw friendly tiles

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 are not only lovely, they also work 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.

shop cement tiles


glazed and unglazed brick tile are another winning surface to clad the walls of your home inside and out and clé glazed brick tiles are amongst the few bricks that are high-fired for a truly freeze/thaw finish that can weather the low temperatures and clear through to the highs. using glazed or unglazed bricks on your exterior walls will give you long lasting, easily cleaned outdoor surfaces- and using unglazed bricks on the floors will give you a hardy and slip resistant surface. 

shop brick tiles


think mediterranean. this european outdoor staple, either new or antique gives any home — modern or traditional — a boost of authentic, primal earthiness like no other tile. terracotta once properly sealed, can be used outdoors in sunnier climates. 

shop terracotta tiles


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 miracle 511 porous plus before grouting the tile, and after.

shop slate tile

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