Mistakes to Avoid When Installing Outdoor Porcelain Tiles

Thanks to their durability, endless design options and a host of other advantages, outdoor porcelain tiles are becoming one of the most popular hardscaping materials around. Especially ideal for the harsh Canadian climate, hardscapers from coast to coast are recommending outdoor porcelain tiles to their clients regularly for decks, patios, rooftop environments and even driveways. 

One of the easiest products to install, outdoor porcelain tile hardscapes are not just limited to contractors but are suitable for DIY’ers too. Still, as with any new hardscaping project or outdoor renovation, proper installation techniques must be followed to ensure the best results. We’ve put together the three most common mistakes people make when installing outdoor porcelain tiles. If you can avoid making these mistakes, you can be sure of high-quality, long-lasting results, getting you the most from your efforts. 

Mistake #1. Poor Surface Preparation

Proper preparation is key, whether you’re hardscaping, baking or undergoing any new project. You’ll benefit from having everything in its place when and where you need it, ensuring easy, straightforward progress and the best result. 

When preparing your outdoor porcelain tile hardscape project, clean the surface where your tiles will be laid. Clear away any debris, sweep and even mop if applicable. Make sure the surface below your new project is not uneven or sloping. While this can be the biggest hassle of your project, there are easy ways to overcome uneven surfaces and slopes. Consider using an adjustable pedestal system for mounting your outdoor porcelain tiles. Pedestals can help you create a level surface for your tiles hassle-free. They also offer a variety of other benefits to help you build your raised floor in a matter of hours. 

Mistake #2. Not Laying Out Your Tiles Beforehand

Outdoor porcelain tiles offer nearly unlimited design options, including the opportunity to rotate or arrange them to create unique patterns. If your tiles will be placed in a pattern or even have subtle details, they should be laid out prior to installation. This allows you to experiment with different arrangements and ensure things are oriented in the right direction ahead of time. Other issues you may circumvent by laying out your tiles beforehand include discovering colour graduations that work better than others or even some edges that line up better. You’ll reduce errors and avoid having to reinstall tiles once mistakes are discovered.

Laying out your tiles beforehand is a smart idea, regardless of how you install them. However, if you are using a pedestal system for your installation, you’ll have a much easier time rearranging or substituting tiles should you discover a mistake. Simply lift the tile and remove/replace it. Pedestal systems make things much easier than older, more traditional methods.

Mistake #3. Forgetting to Check for Loose Tiles

Once your installation has been completed, you must ensure everything is in its place. If your project involves replacing existing paver trays with new porcelain tiles, you will need to make sure none of the existing tiles are loose. Loose tiles may compromise the structural integrity of your new outdoor porcelain tiles. To test, gently hit them with any handy tool. If they give off a hollow sound, it indicates that your tiles have not adhered properly to the surface below. Unfortunately, this will require removing and re-levelling things. However, if you’re using a pedestal system, this is a quick and easy fix. Instead of hitting the tile, just walk across the entire surface of your completed project. Should a tile seem to wobble, simply lift the affected tile, and adjust the pedestal below. Whether you’re a DIY’er or a professional contractor, pedestal systems make installing outdoor porcelain tiles easier than you’d imagine. Regardless, preparing your surface, laying out your tiles beforehand and checking for loose tiles are critical things that must be addressed to ensure high-quality and long-lasting results. To learn more about the advantages of using a pedestal system with your outdoor porcelain tiles, visit StoneDeck.ca for expert advice for installers of all skill levels.