Wondering what's the difference between indoor and outdoor tile? Not sure what kind to use where? Read on to learn what the difference is between indoor and outdoor tiles and which ones you should be using for your home improvement projects.
What is the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Tile?
Tile is a very popular decorating tool these days, and it's being used in various rooms in the house as well as outside. Love the look of some indoor tile and are thinking that they might work out on the deck too? Well, before you get your renovation plans going, you should know a bit more about the difference between indoor and outdoor tile. In some cases they may look similar but they are not.
Though contractors often go to manufacturers it's a good idea for you to have some insight on materials and options before you plan a reno.
What tiles can be used outdoors?
Durability is the main difference between the kinds of tiles. Any tile product that is intended for outside use has to withstand a lot more than indoor products. Not only is there heavier traffic use, your tiles have to stand up to weather as well. Sunlight can fade and make some materials brittle, and there is stress put on the tiles during the cold winter weather. Ground movement when the frost sets in is more powerful than you might think.
What tiles should you use on a patio?
There can also be a much greater likelihood of heavy items (like tools or equipment) being dropped outside, though that can depend on your lifestyle. For whatever specific reason, outside tiles have to be tougher. Consider cement or brick tiles for your patio.
Can you use outdoor tiles in a bathroom?
Indoor tiles are typically smooth and glazed to make them easier to clean and so they do not absorb water. On the other hand, outside tiles are seldom glazed and usually have a rough surface. There are 2 main reasons for this. The glazed coating that makes tile so smooth is not strong enough to withstand the temperature changes you typically get outside, and the tiles would be cracked as soon as the seasons start to change. Also, having a large outdoor area that gets slick in the rain is very dangerous. It's bad enough in the bathroom, let alone on the walkway outside. Outdoor tiles can however be used in your bathroom.
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Can you use interior tiles outdoors?
Actually, this is one area that sees little difference between the two types of tile. Glass and vinyl are not used for outside tile, but you will find all the other usual materials like ceramic, slate, limestone and even marble. These natural stone products are ideal for outside use because they are strong and can withstand anything nature throws at them.
This isn't a huge factor and may not even be a concern, depending on the type of tiles you are looking at. But indoor tiles are offered in a huge range of colors as people try to get them to match existing decor. This isn't as big an issue for outside areas, and there may be a smaller pallette of basic neutrals to choose from.
One key thing to remember is that even though there are differences between the kinds of tile, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to limit your uses. While indoor tiles shouldn't be used for exterior projects, there can be lots of ways to use outdoor tiles in the house if you want a new look.
How are you decorating with tile these days? Let me know in the comments!