It’s a fad which is only going to grow and grow – outdoor tiling with full-bodied porcelain or impervious natural stone to create a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor living.
However, unlike traditional concrete slabs or paving stone, vitrified tiles or impervious natural stone can’t be fixed with traditional paving techniques or materials such as sand and cement.
To counteract this potential stumbling block for indoor-outdoor tiling, adhesive manufacturers such as Dunlop have made great technological strides in recent years to develop adhesives and grouts, which are suitable for fixed-bed, solid-bed outdoor tiling with porcelain or vitrified tiles. This is good news for merchants, as it provides them with greater scope to up-sell their tiling products for more applications.
Special adhesives for large format floor tiles and natural stones are formulated for added flexibility to withstand the stresses and strains associated with outdoor environments such as uneven background, changes in temperature and humidity, movement and vibration.
Frost and water-resistant, these adhesives can be applied to 25mm thick – making them perfect for tiles or slabs of uneven thickness and uneven surfaces.
By using a rapid-setting adhesive, outdoor tiling areas can be grouted in less than no time, sometimes in as little as three hours.
When recommending grout, it is important to consider the joint width and colour. In addition, we always advise recommending a cement-based product that is flexible and hardwearing to protect against everything the British weather will throw at it.
Selling the benefits of outdoor tiling is easy. As well as getting that seamless transition from indoor to outdoor, tiles and grouts come in a huge selection of styles, colours and patterns. They are also easy to clean and maintain – no more unsightly weeds!
Just ensure that outdoor tiles meet slip-resistance requirements, are frost-proof and crucially unglazed.
High quality porcelain tiles have a surface texture that helps make them slip resistant. Many manufacturers make special outdoor tiles, which have slightly gritty surface even when glazed. This invisible grit creates superb traction even when the tile is wet.
While outdoor tiling may seem complicated and stressful, the results are truly outstanding, providing a stunning outdoor area for relaxing or entertaining for your customer’s clients.
Debi Boulton is sales and marketing manager at Dunlop.