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How to Choose the Right Outdoor Tile

How to Choose the Right Outdoor Tile

Outdoor spaces are not just limited to patios and gardens anymore. Now more than ever, people are bringing the comforts of their homes to the open-air spaces. These transitional spaces have blurred the lines between indoors and outdoors, which allows the natural surroundings into the home while still enjoying the solace of your living room.

Outdoor tile is an ideal choice for these transitional spaces because of its durability and its resistance to nature's elements. Our quick guide will help you understand how to choose an outdoor tile and the various options available. 

Things to Think About When Choosing Your Tile

two women sitting in their outdoor patio

Not all tiles are created equal. Some tile is naturally tougher than others, and for outdoor spaces, you need durable tile. Kids running around, dishes being dropped, and nature’s elements are just a few of the things impacting your tile on a daily basis.

So what else do you need to think about when choosing your tile?

How Much Grip Do You Need

Since you will be using tile for a transitional space to the outdoors, the first thing to think about is whether your tile will come into contact with water. If you have a pool nearby, then slippery tile may be out of the question.

If you are in an area that doesn’t get much rain or you don’t have to worry about flooding, then this may not be as much of a concern for you.

Make sure to check the rating of the tile to ensure your tile has the appropriate amount of grip and toughness. One is the most fragile and five is the toughest. The outdoor tile you choose should have a rating of four or five.

Style of Your Space

The style of your home and outdoor space can have a big impact on the tile you choose. In a transitional space, you want to match the decor for a cohesive look that flows naturally from indoors to outdoors.

How Much Light Does the Space Get?

Do you get a lot of natural sunlight? Or is the area pretty dark and shady? If the area is dark, you will want a lighter tile to open up the space. Otherwise, if you have a lot of natural sunlight, you can get away with choosing a darker tile.

Types of Outdoor Tile

swimming pool surrounded by tile

Now that you know the basics of what to think about when choosing the perfect tile, let’s go over the different types of outdoor tile and their benefits and downfalls.


Porcelain is a good choice for outdoor spaces because it is versatile and strong. In fact, it is denser than some types of natural stone. It is close to being waterproof because it has such a low water absorption rate. If you have a pool, you may already have porcelain pool tile installed. Furthermore, porcelain is resistant to freezing temperatures making it ideal in many climates. 

Porcelain comes in many styles because it absorbs dye so well. Oftentimes, porcelain can be made to look just like natural stone that would normally cost a lot more money. So if you want the natural stone look without the cost, then porcelain might be a good choice.


When it comes to outdoor spaces, ceramic would serve better on the walls because of how fragile it is. It also should not be used on the floor because of its fragility. Use ceramic tile to create an interesting focal point by adding a splash of color to the walls on your outdoor space. 

Besides the wall of outdoor spaces, ceramic is a popular choice when it comes to swimming pool tiles. Ceramic tiles are popular because of how smooth they are, contemporary in style, and affordable. 


Granite is the strongest and most durable type of stone tile, which also makes it pretty expensive. It is naturally waterproof and resistant to bacteria. Granite is the perfect option for people who have kids or dogs because granite does not chip or crack easily. Use granite tile down to create outdoor pathways or as the floor in your outdoor kitchen.


Travertine is an elegant natural stone that comes in a range of colors from brown to cream. This type of tile is generally used to create a more rustic appearance. 

The natural texture of travertine makes for good outdoor steps or to be used around swimming pools. Besides being sophisticated, the stone can handle extreme temperatures without cracking, so it is ideal for a variety of climates.


Limestone has been used as a building material since ancient times thousands of years ago, so it is easily still a favorite when it comes to tile. Limestone tiles usually come in tan, gray, red, or brown colors. These lighter colors reflect the sunlight so the tile stays cool during heat waves. While these tiles are tough, they can be scratched, so care should be taken if you are thinking of laying them in a high traffic area.


Soapstone is resistant to water, staining, and high heat. Since it is naturally waterproof, soapstone is perfect for outdoor living spaces. This type of tile can handle extreme climates as well. Use soapstone around water features or swimming pools because of its high water resistance.


Slate has a wide range of colors, not just the gray that comes to mind. It can be smoother or have an uneven surface, which is known as a natural cleft finish. Slate is also water-resistant and tough, which makes it a popular choice for outdoor use. Try it to create an outdoor shower, a decorative wall, and patio floors. 

Why Use Tile for Outdoor Spaces

Tile is tough and can handle most of what you throw at it, whether it be kids running around, weather elements, or dropped dishes, and pets. Make sure to choose the right tile for your project with the right grip to create a sophisticated look from indoors to outdoors.

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