Outdoor porcelain tiles look great, last a long time and require minimum maintenance. But to enjoy the benefits of these tiles, you first must lay them in your chosen location.
You need to be clear about how to lay outdoor porcelain tiles before you launch yourself into it. It's not the easiest of tasks for a beginner, but these clear steps should help you achieve the results you're looking for.
1. Your Checklist
Make sure you’ve got all the material and tools for the job:
- Subbase – MOT type 1 gravel
- Priming slurry
- External tile grout
- Spirit level
- Measuring tape
- Tile spacers
- Rubber mallet
- Pointing trowel
and, of course, your outdoor porcelain tiles!
2. Prepare the Foundation
In the same way that you'd lay a stone patio, you must dig out the site and check that it's level and is properly drained.
Lay your subbase to create a firm foundation. You should compact your gravel primer to a depth of 100mm for a patio. For a driveway, it’s 200mm. This subbase must be solid to prevent any movement beneath your tiles, as this could lead to cracking.
3. Add the Mortar
Your mortar is a combination of sharp sand and cement, which you must mix at a ratio of 5:1, sand to cement. Try to lay this as accurately as possible, because you won’t have much wriggle room to tamp down your tiles to achieve a level finish.
4. Prime the Porcelain
Unlike stone, porcelain is non-porous, so you need something that will make them stick to the mortar base. To prime your porcelain tiles, you apply a slurry primer to their reverse side.
This slurry primer creates the bonding bridge to ensure you can fix your tiles securely.
5. Lay Your Tiles
Lay the tiles on the mortar bed. Keep a close eye on levels. The best way to lay each tile is one corner at a time, to place it accurately.
Secure the tile by tapping it gently with the rubber mallet. You want to ensure that the tile surface is in contact fully with the mortar. This will ensure the strongest possible bond.
Make any adjustments to the tile’s position quickly. You won't have this option once the mortar dries.
Use the spirit level to check the tile is level before moving onto the next one.
Keep a gap of at least 5mm between the tiles. You can use spacers to keep this spacing even.
Once you’ve laid the tiles, wipe away any primer from the surface.
6. Apply External Tile Grout
Fill the 5mm spaces between the tiles with your external tile grout. Apply this using the pointing trowel.
After you’ve done this, brush away any excess grout
7. Leave the Tiles to Dry
Your freshly laid porcelain tiles will need at least 24 hours to dry. If you’re expecting wet weather, cover them with tarpaulin.
Porcelain Tiles for Your Outdoor Space