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Top tips for laying outdoor tiles

With the rise in popularity of outdoor tiles and the introduction of our Evish range, we thought it would be useful to provide our customers with an overview of the best tips for laying outdoor tiles. Of course, there are a variety of factors which will determine the best way to lay outdoor tiles such as the substrate and the tiles themselves, but we hope the following tips will help to guide you towards an excellent finish.


1) Create a supportive substrate


In general, it is recommended that outdoor tiles are laid on a 50mm thick substrate of either cement sand screed or concrete, so that the area can effectively support the various loads that may be applied. It is also important to create falls within the sub-floor, so that water can flow away from the property. The concrete should then be left to fully dry for 6 weeks, before a damp proof membrane is applied on top of the concrete, which should be keyed prior to applying tile adhesive.


If tiles are being laid on an existing concrete bed, it is important to ensure the area is level and free from cracks. A self-levelling compound can be used to create an even area, with specialist caulking products used to fill minor cracks. If the area has a large number of cracks, it may be necessary to install an isolation membrane, which will stop any cracks in the surface from showing up in your newly tiled surface.


2) Practice your tile layout


Before you start the job, always make sure you have the layout planned and enough tiles to actually finish the project. By dry laying tiles across the area, you can plan cuts for awkward angles and the placement of expansion joints, so that mistakes are avoided when you begin laying the tiles. After all, the larger the tile, the harder it will be to move if you do make a mistake.


3) Apply your adhesive


Once your layout is planned, mix your adhesive according to the instructions and apply to the substrate in areas of up to 1m2. This will ensure that you have enough time to lay the tiles without the adhesive drying prematurely. Then, use a trowel to create the grooves needed to ensure the tiles are able to adhere to the surface.


The adhesive should then be back-buttered to the underside of the tile, before gently pressing the tile into the freshly laid adhesive. Once complete, the drying time will largely depend on the weather conditions, with anywhere from 12 to 48 hours possible.


4) Use a tile levelling system


It is important to ensure tiles are evenly spaced and level, and the best way to do this quickly and accurately is with a tile levelling system. These act as both spacers between the tiles and levellers and there are a variety of options available, including Forte, LevTec and the Quick Level Spin System which are available with tall clips suitable for outdoor tiling.


In general, we recommend using a 3mm spacer to create even grout lines. Once the adhesive is set, the spacers can be removed and a tool can be used to remove excess adhesive which may have squeezed through the grout lines.


5) Use a high-quality tiling grout


Although most grouts can be used outdoors, we always recommend choosing a high-quality grout which is specifically designed for external use. Work in small areas across the surface using a grout float to evenly spread the grout between the tiles, with a damp sponge used to remove the majority of grout from tiles after 10-15 minutes of drying time.


Once the grout is completely dry, a profiling tool can be used to remove excess grout between the lines, with a clean damp cloth then used to remove the last of the excess grout from the tiles themselves. However, it is important to avoid using too much water as this can lead to discolouration of the grout.


Navarro Tiles – Wholesale suppliers of outdoor tiles


Although installing outdoor tiles is a labour-intensive process, the results are stunning and we hope these quick tips will help you to complete the project with ease. Here at Navarro Tiles, we are proud to be one of the leading wholesale suppliers of tiles throughout the UK and Ireland. To find out more about any of our products, please contact

our sales team today and we will be happy to help.

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