Tile Fix Direct Blog

January 2018

How to Install Porcelain Tiles Outside

The last few years have seen a shift in the quality of tiles – from ultra-realistic stone and wood effect to huge slim porcelain panels. Another trend that is gaining momentum is the use of porcelain externally in place of traditional natural stone or slabs. Many paving suppliers are now adding porcelain to their portfolios thanks to the range of benefits it provides. Not only is porcelain extremely hardwearing, but it is also scratch, stain and fade resistant. The non-porous material does not need sealing and is available in a range of finishes including cement, stone and wood effect. External porcelain tends to be thicker than the tiles we’re used to indoors, generally around 18-22mm, to help them withstand outdoor conditions.

So, how do you install these tiles? The material is actually no different to a standard porcelain tile and therefore is treated much the same. We’ve outlined four of the most common installation methods for external porcelain tiles below. For areas that will be subject to commercial or vehicular traffic we recommend using tile adhesive with a solid screed base.

1. Tile adhesive onto a solid base

Essentially this method is the same as internal tiling and can be used for patios and driveways. It does require the concrete base to fully cured and expansion joints will need to be added where necessary. It’s easy to achieve a level and even surface with a solid base but keep in mind that falls will need to be added to help rain water drain away. Ensure you are using a polymer modified cement-based adhesive that is suitable for external use. On a solid base you can install rectified porcelain paving with a narrow joint for a semi-seamless finish.

  • Solid concrete base with suitable adhesive and grout
  • Suitable for patios and driveways
  • Narrow joints can be achieved with rectified tiles

Order tile adhesive online.

2. Wet bed onto prepared sub-base

This method is favoured by landscapers and paving installers, however it does require some extra steps when used with porcelain. Because the tiles are vitrified it makes the material non-porous so it will not adhere to a traditional wet bed. There are two options for helping the tile stick; mix an admix into your sand and cement or apply a primer to the underside of the tiles. If using a primer you need to be very careful to remove this from the surface and sides of the tile immediately. Check falls throughout installation and adjust by tapping the tiles with a rubber mallet. Care must be taken to avoid any voids beneath the tiles as residual moisture can collect and has nowhere to escape.

  • Sand and cement bed with added primer or admix
  • Suitable for patios
  • Narrow joints can be harder to achieve

Order porcelain paving primer online.

3. PorcelQuick Adped adhesive pedestals onto prepared sub-base

This method involves using the PorcelQuick ‘Adped’ rings filled with a mix of sand and cement to create a series of adhesive pedestals. The tiles are then fixed to these using a suitable tile adhesive, and the joints are grouted after Grout Backer Rod is inserted. This method requires a self-draining sub-base beneath it to avoid water pooling, and is only suitable for foot traffic. Material requirement is around 80% less than solid or wet bed methods which also lowers the carbon footprint for the project and means a lot less material to move.

  • Cement ‘pedestals’ with suitable adhesive and grout
  • Suitable for patios
  • Narrow joints can be achieved with rectified tiles

Order PorcelQuick Adpeds online.

4. Eterno Ivica self-levelling pedestals on roof terraces & balconies

Adjustable pedestals are perfect for use on balconies and terraces. Each pedestal has a self-levelling head and can be adjusted slightly once the tiles are installed. Available in a range of heights which can be adjusted from 10mm up to 215mm using extension pieces. This is a ‘dry’ installation method as no adhesives or grouts are required and the joints are left open, allowing for easy drainage and removal of the tiles.

  • Plastic self-levelling pedestals
  • Suitable for roof terraces and balconies
  • Pedestals feature spacer tabs and joints are left open

Order Eterno Ivica pedestals online.

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