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porcelain outdoor tiles with grass, sunflowers and wooden furntiure

A Guide To Outdoor Tiling: What Tiles Are Best For Outdoor Use?

Outdoor tiles have to cope with whatever extremes the Great British weather can throw at them to stand the test of time and be effective. And they have to look good while doing it.

Garden tiles are available in ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone. Each material has its own unique characteristics and advantages, but where they are laid and their intended use also affects how you choose the best outdoor tile for you.

In this guide, we're here to explain the ins and outs of outdoor tiles while giving you the tools to make the best choices for your outdoor tile journey.  

What makes a great outdoor tile?

To answer that question, you need to figure out what conditions your outdoor tiles will face by asking:

  1. Where are you going to use them? - Wall, floor, or both? High foot traffic areas, occasional garden use, and/ or child-friendly spaces? 
  2. Will they be supporting heavy loads? 
  3. Will they be in sunny spots or shady nooks? 

Once you have the answers to those questions, you can determine which outdoor tile properties you need. More on that below.

As a general rule, outdoor tiles have to withstand a variety of tests and meet a range of standards to stand up to your outdoor space. This means they are:

  • Stain-proof: outdoor porcelain tiles are non-porous so have no microscopic crevices that dirt can get trapped in to make your patio tiles look grubby. Just clean with warm soapy water to keep them looking awesome.
  • Thick: outdoor tiles tend to be between 9mm and 20mm thick. The 10mm is usually more decorative and patterned whereas the 20mm is great for higher foot traffic.
  • Slip-resistant: the R9-R13 rating range is given to each tile so you know whether it offers little to no slip-resistance (R9) all the way up to high slip-resistance for heavy foot traffic (R13). You should be able to find this information in the individual outdoor tile's product details. 
  • Frost-resistant: as they are non-porous, water doesn't get absorbed into the tile, meaning it won't freeze and crack when the temperature drops. 
  • Scratch and fade resistant: porcelain outdoor tiles are ridiculously durable because of how they are made; blasted with over 1000 degrees in a kiln. This process hardens them, making them difficult to scratch, and also seals in the colour so they are resistant to UV damage.
  • PEI rated: PEI is about visible abrasion resistance (so how susceptible something is to visible wear and tear) and helps you decide which outdoor material/ tile would be best for your intended use. 1 is the low end of the scale and 5 is the high, with PEI 3 tiles being great for residential use.

What about natural stone tiles?

As we've already said, each material has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages and natural stone is a great example of this.

Natural stone tiles are very popular choices and can add elegance to your outdoor area, but they wear over time and can require more maintenance to keep them looking their best.

Yet, porcelain outdoor tiles are digitally printed (precisely replicating natural stone) and are glazed, meaning they are sealed against the elements so easier to clean and maintain without compromising on nature's timeless design. 

Can I use ceramic tiles outside?

Yes, but to be completely honest, porcelain is where it's at because it scores best in all of the above categories. 

If you do want to go down the ceramic route, make sure you choose ones specifically for outdoor use, as they usually have extra glazes to better protect them against the elements and are thicker. Consider ones with a good PEI and anti-slip rating too. 

45x45cm Forest Natural floor tile in golden wood colour with marquetry design

 Forest Natural floor tile | 45x45cm Ceramic | Peronda —

We love the intricate wooden design details on this ceramic Forest Natural tile. And because it is specifically indoor outdoor with decent anti-slip and PEI ratings, can be used as garden flooring.

Just to clarify, even though you can use ceramic tiles outside, the best outdoor tiles are porcelain because of their durability, ease of installation, and use.

Taking all the above into consideration, we'll now walk you through the best tiles for specific garden areas, starting with...

Best tiles for patio

As patios take a lot of pounding, we would recommend patio tiles with a PEI rating of 4 or above and an anti-slip rating of at least R11. But those aren't the only considerations to make; there are also the fun ones of colour, shape, and size.

Luckily for you, we have an amazing variety of porcelain garden slabs in many shades available for you to choose from.

So, pass your peepers over these: 

Outdoor tiles Bizancio Blue Porcelain Patio Pack 20mm in a patio setting with BBQ on it leadin out from kitchen area with bi-fold doors

Bizancio Blue 20mm Porcelain mix Patio Pack | outdoor floor tiles —

The Bizancio range comes in a handy patio pack meaning you can play with its different tile sizes to create the tile layout of your dreams. Or follow the instructions. You do you. And as this characterful aged slate design comes in bluesilver and ivory, it's the perfect solution for any garden colour scheme.

But wait, there's more... 

Bizancio Rust 20mm Porcelain Paving Slab 60x90cm outdoor floor tile —

If you love the large rectangular porcelain tile look, they've got you. And they've even added another colour (rust) to go with silverivory and blue 

Outdoor Porcelain tiles 60x60cm Lisbon White in garden patio setting. with house back wall, sun lounger, garden set and french doors

 Lisbon White Porcelain Paving Slab | 60x60cm outdoor floor tile —

A gentle, naturally textured tile, Lisbon will deliver the wow factor to your garden. This range also includes slip-stop technology, so it's smooth when dry, but rough and non slip when wet. And it comes in anthracite, cream, and grey so the world is your oyster. 

Veneto Grey 20mm Porcelain Paving Slab | 60x60cm outdoor floor tile —

This stone effect tile is not only pleasing to the eye, but also functional as it doesn't require sealing, is easy to install and it’s one of the best for withstanding various weather conditions. Its three natural tile shades will skilfully blend in with the landscape.

Best tiles for seating area

When it comes to selecting tiles for a seating area, you'll want to consider both functionality and aesthetics. As outdoor porcelain tiles come in a variety of modern and classic designs to suit any style, we're sure you'll find what you're looking for. 

Here are a few of our faves to give you some ideas:  

Outdoor Porcelain tile 60x120cm Hailes Anthracite in a garden seating setting with rattan sofa and coffee table next to a vase of flowers

Hailes Anthracite 20mm Porcelain 60x120cm outdoor tile —

Picture yourself relaxing on some lovely rattan furniture during a lazy summer's afternoon, drink in hand, while admiring the textures and tones of your statement large format tiles. The flagstone shape is perfect for sizeable areas; lay stacked for a modern finish, or staggered for a more traditional look. Also available in silver and taupe.
Outdoor Porcelain tile 60x90cm Natural stone Anthracite in a raised seating area with a canopy, , hammock and bench style seating

 Natural stone Anthracite 20mm Porcelain Paving Slab | 60x90cm outdoor tile —

Raise your lounging game by tiling a garden plinth with Natural stone. Perfect for creating a stylish, minimalist look in your garden, Natural stone comes in four neutral shades, reminiscent of cool concrete. The understated tones and clean landscape lines of Natural stone make it ideal for creating your own oasis of tranquillity. 

If warmer hues are more your thing, Natural stone also comes in beige.

But the fun doesn't have to stop with the floor...

17x52cm 3D Splitface Grey tile in a garden seating areas with a cactus and deck chair

3D Splitface Gris tile tile by Ecoceramic | 17x52cm porcelain wall tile —

Achieve panache perfection for your seating area by kitting out your walls. We're thinking hacienda-esque chic with outdoor textured tiles to create a chilled-out mood for late-night outdoor socials. 

Outdoor Porcelain tile 30x120cm Arbour Natural Wood Paving in a garden seating setting underneath rattan garden furniture with trees and potted plants.

Porcelain Paving 30x120cm Arbour Natural Wood effect outdoor tile —

Wood effect outdoor tiles are ideal for creating a natural and rustic look in your garden. Whether you're looking to transform your outdoor seating area into a natural retreat or create a sleek and modern look, our wood effect outdoor tiles are the perfect choice.

Best tiles for outdoor kitchen

An outdoor kitchen can be a fantastic addition to your home, providing you with a space to entertain guests or prepare meals for your family. As they become increasingly popular, so more styles become available to create the cuisine of your dreams with simmering symmetry. 

For a more in-depth look at outdoor kitchens, check out our How to Choose The Right Tiles For Your Outdoor Kitchen blog.

What tiles are not suitable for outdoors?

While tiles can be used outdoors, some may not be suitable because of their composition or durability. Unless specifically stated as outdoor compatible, ceramic tiles are unfortunately not suitable for outdoors. They don't tend to be as strong as porcelain tiles and may not withstand the outdoor elements, meaning they may crack or chip over time.



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