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Tile Patterns: The Ultimate Quick Read Beginner’s Guide, Including Secrets of Tile Professionals Revealed!

Tile Patterns: The Ultimate Quick Read Beginner’s Guide, Including Secrets of Tile Professionals Revealed!

Tile Patterns

Tile patterns can dramatically enhance the look and feel of any space. They each offer something truly different. Yet many only work in certain places and for a specific purpose. So you’ll need to know the basics of each if you want to get outstanding results.

This tile pattern guide is your short cut to success. The following info will be sure to save you time, money, and frustration. We’ve included not just the basics but all the extra tips and secrets needed to help you choose the perfect layout for your space and make sure it looks its best.

Tile Patterns

 

The Straight Lay Tile Pattern

This is the most basic layout of them all. Of course it also happens to be the easiest to install. These features make the straight lay the most commonly used and seen pattern around the world for both square and rectangular tiles.

As you could probably guess, the tiles are set in a straight line. They are installed so that the corners of each tile are lined up with each other. This creates a grid-like look that is simple, clean, and at the same time modern.

The straight lay tiling pattern is the most versatile layout option. And it can be used in just about any room or space where you’d like to add tile both indoors and out. It is often used on the floor, wall, countertop, backsplash, and patio just to name a few. This is a quick and easy choice that’s always reliable.

Tile Patterns

 

Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

– You don’t always need something complicated; simple can go a really long way. Most people are surprised at just how stylish the straight lay can be. In fact, with the right material, color, and size tile it can be absolutely stunning. Colored grout can also be used to add interest to your layout as well.

– While this is a basic pattern by using tiles that have decorative designs and motifs or bright and bold colors you can make it really stand out if you’d like.

Tile Patterns

– This is one of the only tiling patterns that can be used successfully in rooms that already have more complicated layouts, designs, or colors but need that need a tiled surface. That’s because it won’t compete or clash with them. (Solid-colored tiles will usually work best for this).

– On the floor you can use the fact that this is a straight tile pattern with long grout lines to your advantage. Since the eye naturally follows these lines you can install your layout so that it leads the eye of the viewer to where you want it to go. This could be through the room, to an adjoining area, a prominent feature, or an impressive outdoor view you’d like to highlight.

Tile Patterns

– The straight lay is not usually the best floor tile pattern for extremely narrow rooms. The long grout lines parallel to the walls can actually make narrow spaces seem even smaller than they are which may not be what you want.

– If you’d like to do the job on your own and are a complete beginner this is the smartest layout to start with. It will help you to both build basic tiling skills and save money on installation.

Tile Patterns

 

The Running Bond Tile Pattern

This layout goes by a few names. While most often it is known as the running bond, it is also called the brick or brickwork layout because it is the pattern that’s almost always used when installing bricks as well.

The running bond pattern can be used with square tiles but if you want that signature brick wall look you’ll need to use rectangular ones. When installing them each tile will need to be set so that it starts at the center of the tile below it.

This is without a doubt one of the most popular backsplash tile patterns for both kitchens and bathrooms. And it is famous for how good looking it can be when used with subway tiles. While it is usually installed on walls and backsplashes it’s quite versatile and can also be used on indoor floors and outdoor patios and walkways.

Tile Patterns

 

Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

– Even though it’s considered to be one of the easier tile layout patterns to install you will want to make sure that the tiles line up as well as possible. If they don’t, it might only become apparent after you have already tiled much further down the line.

– The running bond tile pattern is a secret tool you can use to keep things like uneven surfaces, crooked walls, small differences in tile sizes, along with other imperfections hidden from view.

Tile Patterns

– Since it is a staggered tile layout the edges of the tiles don’t line up in a straight line. And this tricks the eye by taking the focus off of individual tiles. Instead, the focus is on the pattern as a whole cohesive image which makes it almost impossible to spot flaws in the space where it is installed.

– When it’s used on the wall and with subway tile, the running bond is actually one of the top tile patterns for showers. This combination offers excellent protection for shower walls against water damage. Unlike with other choices the grout lines are usually pencil-thin leaving less space for water to get in and cause problems.

– When it comes to the floor don’t overlook this pattern for rectangular concrete, porcelain, or natural stone tiles that are larger in size.

Tile Patterns

 

The Diagonal Tile Pattern

Basically this is another take on the straight lay but with the tiles laid at a forty five degree angle. It uses square shaped tiles, and when these are tilted they automatically become diamonds. For this reason you may also hear this layout referred to as the diamond tile pattern as well.

When it comes to floor tile patterns for small spaces the diagonal can’t be beat. It is actually one of the easiest ways to make a small or narrow room appear bigger and wider than it really is. This works because when you are looking at the pattern your attention is focused on the widest part of the tiles.

Tile PatternsAt the same time the eye sees the grout lines spreading across the width of the room at wide angles. This trick of perception makes you think you are looking at a space that is much larger.

For floors in entryways, halls, and bathrooms (don’t forget the shower) which usually tend to be smaller and narrower spaces, this layout can work wonders. You may also want to consider using the diagonal on the wall or backsplash. It can be a fantastic option if you’d like something that’s basic but at the same time also a little different.

Tile Patterns

 

Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

– You can definitely use the diagonal in the same space as other tile laying patterns without having to worry that it will look too busy. It can even be installed directly adjacent to them on the same wall or floor. Because of this it makes a very functional pattern for tile borders too.

– When using the diagonal pattern choosing a single color for all of your tiles or using alternating black and white tiles will almost always work best.

Tile Patterns

– Since it draws the focus of the eye so well, the diagonal is used as a floor tile pattern in oddly shaped rooms to take attention off of their irregular features, which it can do very effectively.

Larger tiles tend to make a small room appear bigger too, so needless to say using together them with the diagonal tile pattern can be an enormous help for tiny spaces.

Tile Patterns

 

The Checkerboard Tile Pattern

Like many tile pattern names, this one lets you know instantly what the layout looks like: a checker or chessboard. It uses square black and white alternating tiles to create a truly classic look. The contrast between the two opposite colors makes for striking results.

Sometimes the black is substituted for another color such as tan, gray, or red. The checkerboard is actually a color pattern and is always installed using the straight lay or diamond layout.

Because it is the most well-known of all classic floor tile patterns it is typically used for adding vintage style to floors in living rooms, entryways, mud rooms, and hallways. In kitchens and bathrooms you may want to use it on the floor, wall or both. Although it is usually used for a retro look, this pattern can be quite sharp when used in contemporary style spaces too.

Tile Patterns

 

Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

– The checkerboard is an elegant and stylish pattern, but it must be used with solid colors and simple décor to work to its full potential. Complex colors or patterns used in the same space will almost always clash and take away from its classy appearance.

– Different tile patterns may tend to look better when used with specific materials. This is definitely the case with the checkerboard. It is most famous for its extremely upscale and classic appearance when installed on the floor using large marble tiles with a polished finish.

Tile Patterns

– When used on the floor you can bring the entire room together dramatically by using white walls or white wall tile. Alternatively you could also use black walls or wall tile. You can continue the black and white theme to echo your pattern by using sinks, counters, cabinets, tile borders, doors, fireplace tiles and other décor in these two colors.

– Nowadays, you can find many different options which already have the checkerboard layout on each individual tile making installation even easier. Vinyl floor tiles and mosaic tiles are two examples.

Tile Patterns

 

The Herringbone Tile Pattern

Named for its resemblance to the skeleton of the herring, a bony fish, this timeless option uses rectangular tiles. The herringbone tile layout has actually been used heavily in Europe for hundreds of years for its elegant and intricate look. It is also a favorite for use with wood flooring.

The tiles are set in a “V” shape which really does look similar to the rib bones branching off of the spine of a fish. This is accomplished by first adding a tile at a forty five degree angle to form one side of the “V”.

A second tile is added so that it is perpendicular to the end of the first which forms the other side of the “V”. This is repeated, however because it can quickly get complicated and involve a lot of cutting it is usually a pattern best left for a professional to install.

Tile Patterns

The herringbone tile layout is another pattern that can be used to make small rooms appear bigger than they really are since the eye tends to focus on the wide “V” shape instead of the narrowness of the room.

Therefore it’s an outstanding choice for floors in narrow halls, entryways, bathrooms, and kitchens. While this layout in the past was traditionally used on the floor it has become one of the most used wall tile patterns for adding visual interest to walls and backsplashes. You may also want to consider using it outdoors on walkways and patios.

Tile Patterns

 

Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

– Herringbone mosaic tiles make enjoying this pattern as easy as possible. Each tile is made up of many small rectangular pieces that are already perfectly aligned and spaced. They are attached to a mesh backing that makes installation simple. These will give you the herringbone on a smaller scale and are extremely popular for backsplashes and floors.

– In halls and entryways the herringbone can be used to draw the eye of the viewer into the next room.  The “V” shape looks like the point of an arrow and you can put it to use by installing it so that it points your guests in the right direction.

Tile Patterns

– Although it works wonders in small and narrow spaces the herringbone is one of the tile layout designs that will look too busy when it is installed in larger areas.

– On the backsplash many people like to use the herringbone as a focal point. You can do this by adding it in one specific area of your backsplash such as over your cooktop, while tiling the rest of your space with another layout like the running bond. Many people like to frame it for extra emphasis as well. This idea is also popular on shower walls.

Tile Patterns

 

The Basket Weave Tile Pattern

This unique pattern looks similar to the stitching of a woven basket. And while it may appear complicated at first glance, the one-of-a-kind look is not hard to create using rectangular tiles. This convincing illusion is actually based on a basic layout.

Normally this is started by placing two rectangular tiles together either vertically or horizontally to form a square. Next, two more tiles are placed so that they are perpendicular to them and this is repeated down the line. By always alternating between the horizontal and vertical positions it creates the impression that the tiles are being woven over and under each other.

The basketweave is often used to create a classic chic feel that is right out of the early nineteen hundreds. This can be on walls, backsplashes and floors. It’s also a favorite for bathrooms and foyers in particular.

Tile Patterns

 

 

Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

– Like many other rectangular tile patterns and more complex layouts too, the basketweave is commonly available in mosaic tile form. However, it is one option that really stands out since mosaics often will have inserted black dots for extra shading and look very realistic.

Tile Patterns

– If you are considering this pattern you will without a doubt want to check out how it spectacular it looks when used with natural stone materials like marble and onyx. Using stone tiles can also help to add to its vintage appearance.

– Similar to the herringbone, this pattern can be a little too much for larger rooms, but shines in smaller ones.

Tile Patterns

 

The Windmill Tile Pattern

Another stylish choice resembles the blades of a windmill and it’s appropriately named the windmill pattern. With its classic feel, it could be just what you are looking for if you are a planning a vintage style upgrade.

This layout is made up of back to back square shapes. Each square is actually comprised of four rectangular tiles. A small square tile is placed in the center of each of them to complete the windmill look. This pattern has a very grid-like appearance that is naturally appealing to many people.

Any floor, backsplash, or wall where you’d like to add a retro look would be an ideal spot for this layout. It also can be a treat for the eyes when used as border. And like with other classic looking bathroom tile patterns such as the basketweave, it is popular not just on the walls and floors of bathroom spaces but in the actual shower too.

Tile Patterns

 

Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

– Using a different color for the square tile in the center can really make the pattern pop. You may want to use contrasting colors or something bright and vibrant to call some attention to the layout.

– For this pattern to look proportionate it must use rectangular tiles that have a length to width ratio of two to one. The square tiles will also need to have the same width as the rectangular tiles you choose. This will make sure that the squares end up being half of their length.

– Ceramic and porcelain options can look amazing but don’t but don’t be afraid to think outside the box, there many stone choices as well.

Tile Patterns

 

The Versailles Tile Pattern

Sometimes also called the French or modular pattern, this is a very special layout. It is actually designed to fool you into thinking it is set at random. Of course in reality no installation could look this phenomenal by chance. It is perfectly designed to give you the appearance of randomness but without the chaos.

The Versailles uses both square and rectangular tiles that fit together in a large repeating puzzle-like layout which is perfectly balanced and pleasing to the eye. It actually uses four different tile sizes: 8”x 8”, 8″ x 16”, 16″ x 16”, and 16″ x 24”.

Because this is a complex pattern it should be installed by a professional. If you do decide to install it on your own make sure you start with a dry layout and begin tiling from the center of your space and work your way out. It is very important that you lay down the first few tiles extremely carefully because they will determine the placement of all of the other tiles.

Tile Patterns

You can’t mention the Versailles without talking about travertine. This natural stone has a pitted surface and a gorgeous rustic look that is famous for how well it goes together with this layout. When installed with travertine tiles you can always expect stunning results.

Even though it is sometimes used on the wall, the Versailles is almost exclusively a floor tile pattern. For both inside the home as well as outdoors wherever you’d like an elegant and timeless look it can deliver. This is one of the best floor tile layout patterns for even the largest of rooms and outdoor spaces such as patios.

Tile Patterns

 

Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

– One of the best ways to purchase tiles for this pattern is in kits or bundles. These will have the correct number and ratio of tiles to cover different size areas. And while you may end up with a few extra tiles, you’re always better off with some to spare in case of breakage or future damage anyway.

– If you would like to use the Versailles as a backsplash or wall tile pattern you may want to think about using mosaic tile to do so. This will give you the layout in a miniature size that is ready to install. And of course it can be used on the floor too.

– Even though it is most famous for how it looks when paired with travertine, installations using other natural stone tiles such as those made from marble or slate can make for a striking display.

Tile Patterns

 

The Pinwheel Tile Pattern

Just because the pinwheel pattern isn’t as common as many others layouts doesn’t mean it’s not as impressive, in fact quite the opposite. It’s also known as the hopscotch tile pattern and it’s a splendid looking choice that’s worth checking out.

The pinwheel is actually often confused for the windmill layout however it does have a distinct look that is all its own. Unlike the windmill it is a square tile pattern. It uses a small square tile placed at each of the four corners of a larger square tile to portray a look that is similar to a pinwheel spinning in the wind.

While it is not overly complicated, it still needs to be planned out carefully so you will need some tile laying skills if you are going to get this one right. The pinwheel is just about always used on the floor. Because it is one of the tile floor patterns that isn’t seen every day and also is so pleasing to the eye it’s a choice that will be sure to get a lot of compliments.

Tile Patterns

 

Tile Home Guide Secret Tips:

– While the pinwheel can be installed with any two sizes of square tiles, by making sure the larger tile is exactly twice the size of the smaller ones it will look much more balanced. The two most popular sizes by far are 12”x 12” and 6”x 6”.

– When choosing colors for this pattern using a single color for all of your tiles often looks best. If you’d really like to make it pop though, try two different colors, one for the large tiles and another for the smaller tiles. Anything more than two colors and you run the risk of it being too busy for your space.

– For creating an exceptional looking backsplash and bringing this pattern to the wall don’t forget mosaic tiles.

Tile Patterns

Each of these patterns can give you unbelievable results when used correctly and with the right tiles. Let your creativity, style, and imagination run wild while keeping these tips in mind and you will be well on your way to transforming your space and achieving your goals!

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Outdoor Tiles Explained: A Quick And Easy Beginner’s Guide!

Outdoor Tiles Explained: A Quick And Easy Beginner’s Guide!

Outdoor Tiles

Outdoor tiles are available in what may seem like a never-ending variety of materials. Each type is truly different and may only work in certain spaces and for specific uses. So how do you decide which ones to choose? Well, this guide will give you the info and tips you need on all of the top tile materials, along with much more, to help you get started.

Tile for outdoor use typically needs to be strong enough to be able to withstand the elements. This can often mean extreme heat, rain, snow, or all of these. However, this will depend on where you use them. We all also have different spaces, preferences, needs, and budgets. While many consumers want something that is both attractive and functional others may simply desire an option that is inexpensive and gets the job done.

 

Outdoor Tiles

Before you decide on any materials you may want to ask yourself a few important questions. While you may not know all of the answers yet, even just keeping them in mind will put you on the fast track to finding the best outdoor tiles for your project. They also may just give you some useful ideas.

How And Where Are Your Tiles Going To Be Used?

This is probably the most important of all the questions and answering it correctly will help you to save time and money. Some tile materials are super tough and can handle a ton of abuse while others are much more fragile and prone to being scratched, damaged, or breaking.

And while certain options are better for use on the wall others will work better on the floor. Knowing how and where your tiles will be used will help you to confidently choose a material and type of tile that has the traits you need.

Outdoor Tiles

 

Does The Area Need Extra Grip?

While this not a concern when adding tile on the wall it’s extremely important when choosing outdoor floor tile. Moisture and water can lead to slippery surfaces and a fall on hard tile can be very painful and even dangerous. If the space you will be tiling comes into contact with a lot of water or moisture you will most likely want to add non-slip outdoor tiles.

Weather can cause wet surfaces but so can installing your tiles in areas that are known to flood or where they are close to water features, swimming pools, and ponds. Stairs in particular are an area where you should definitely consider using a tile material that has grip regardless of whether or not they will be getting wet.

Outdoor Tiles

 

Do You Need A Flat Space?

Having outdoor flooring that is flat is sometimes very important. For example certain types of patio furniture will need a flat surface to rest comfortably on. Many natural stones in particular come in textures that are not level. If you don’t need a flat surface they could be an excellent choice that also looks very rustic.

What Is The Style Of Your Space?

The style of your home, space, or garden can have a big impact on your tile choice. Identifying the style you are working with and choosing tiles that match it can go a long way towards getting great looking and cohesive results.

Thinking about what style you need to match or that you would like to create will automatically help you to narrow down your list of possible outdoor tile materials very quickly since not every material will be able to work.

Outdoor Tiles

What Color Is Your House, And Do You Want To Match Or Contrast It?

Looking at the color of your home can help you to choose a tile color. Both matching and contrasting colors can look amazing. If the tiles you are looking at don’t match or contrast you may want to eliminate them from your list of choices.

Don’t forget that neutral colors such as brown, black, and grey are well-known for being able to work with just about all color schemes.

How Much Light Does The Area Get?

Most people don’t realize that using dark tiles in an area with poor or dim lighting can really take away from the appearance of their tiles, even ones that look spectacular before being installed.

The end result is all too often a space that looks dull and gloomy. A simple rule to follow when picking a color is: Choose lighter colored outdoor tiles for areas with low light, and darker tiles for areas with a lot of light.

Outdoor Tiles

 

Types of Outdoor Tiles:

Now that you know the right questions to ask, here are the top types you will want to check out. Be sure to take your time, read up, and choose carefully.

Plastic Interlocking Outdoor Tiles

With a grip that helps to prevent slips and falls, plastic interlocking outdoor tiles are always one of the most popular options. Because they interlock there is no need to pay a professional to install them for you. And you don’t need any skills whatsoever to do the job on your own. Just set them down on any flat or even semi-flat surface, interlock them, and you’re done.

Outdoor Tiles

You can place them right over your existing concrete patio or deck for a fast and functional upgrade. And like all interlocking options they can be removed quickly, taken with you if you move, or used somewhere else on your property. Individual tiles can also be replaced without a hassle if there is any damage.

They are typically made from extremely durable materials such as Polypropylene. This allows them to withstand all types of weather conditions from freezing to extreme heat and also a lot of abuse. Some but not all, are even strong enough to be used as garage tiles that can handle having vehicles parked on top of them.

Outdoor Tiles

 

Plastic interlocking outdoor tiles are designed specifically for providing you with the most grip possible. Unlike many other options they are perforated to let water drain through the body of the tile instead of sitting on top so that no matter how wet they get you will still have a textured grip to help prevent accidents.

This also makes them very easy to keep clean with the use of a hose. For anyone who is looking for a non-slip outdoor tile to place around areas that could be very dangerous when wet such as swimming pools, on balconies, or steps these can help to make them as safe as possible.

Outdoor Tiles

 

 

Deck Tiles

Another interlocking option that you can install without any skill are outdoor deck tiles. Many of these will actually snap together. When placed over a flat area they create a brand new flooring surface that looks like real decking but costs much less and won’t require you to use any tools, nails or screws. They are often installed right on top of older decks to give them a fresh look.

Outdoor Tiles

Many people also like to place them over concrete slabs,  patios, balconies, or even on the lawn (if it is flat), to give the appearance of an expensive looking deck surface. And when used around the pool they can add a luxurious look and feel to your space especially when they are made from authentic wood.

The spaces between the slats in the tiles allow for drainage to help keep the surface of the tile dry. You can find wooden outdoor deck tiles in many handsome and sturdy wood varieties. Many of these are naturally resistant to insects, heat, and moisture which make them very well-suited for use outside.

Outdoor Tiles

When shopping, you will see choices like cherry, teak, oak, eucalyptus, acacia, and ipe, along with a handful of others. Each type has its own unique look and advantages. Different varieties of wood may require different care though.

There are other material choices too. Composite tiles for example, are made from a mixture of recycled plastics and sometimes real wood as well. They are often more durable and can be made with a texture for extra grip.

Outdoor Tiles

Some are even manufactured to look like real wood which make them an ideal choice for consumers who prefer the look of outdoor wood tiles but want something that is a little tougher. Nowadays there are also tiles made from materials like stone and even artificial turf.

Outdoor Tiles

Outdoor Rubber Tiles

In certain situations a softer tile material is the best solution. Rubber tiles will give you a flooring surface that has grip but that also is soft enough to prevent injuries if you do happen to fall which is of course extra important for children and the elderly. Adding them to children’s play areas will help keep kids safe.

There is even a special type known as rubber playground tiles that are designed to protect children when falling from higher heights such as a swing set. Rubber options can be also be used as outdoor patio tiles over concrete slabs and decks. And they can be crucial for keeping people safe around swimming pools and on balconies.

Outdoor Tiles

Wet areas are not a problem since water can drain right through them and installation is a breeze because they are interlocking and won’t need any adhesive. You can do this on your own without any help from a pro.

For those who workout outside, having outdoor non slip tiles made from rubber will not only prevent injury but also absorb shock. Many people actually prefer rubber to stand and walk on as well because it is much easier on the back, knees, feet, and joints.

Tiles made from rubber will also protect floors from damage from things like dumbbells or heavy tools if your garage is used as a home gym or workshop. Because they are popular for use indoors, when shopping you will want to make sure that the tiles you are looking at are designed to be used outside. Many are indoor/outdoor tiles so they are tough enough that they can be used in both.

Outdoor Tiles

 

Faux Paving Tiles

Stone is not the only choice when you’d like to add some pavers. Outdoor paving tiles made from materials like rubber are tough, heavy, and only a fraction of the cost. They can even imitate the look of real brick and different types of stone like slate are of course much softer. Faux choices are also sometimes manufactured from high density resin and mixtures of recycled materials.

 

Outdoor Tiles

 

Some tiles are made so that they can be placed on any flat surface such as a patio and interlock with one another. Others may need to be screwed or glued in place it depends on the specific model. There are also tiles that can be used on grass, soil, and sand which may have beveled edges or spikes that keep them solidly in the ground.

These can be installed to create patio spaces in the yard for events or left in place for more permanent use. Another way to use them is as outdoor path tiles which you can move whenever you’d like to make a new brick or stepping stone path.

Outdoor Tiles

Travertine Tiles

One of the most luxurious looking tile choices is without a doubt travertine. With outdoor patio tiles made from this natural stone you can transform the look and feel of your space dramatically. Normally you will see travertine ranging from brown to cream in color.

This material is well-known for its beauty but also its pitted surface which is a result of gasses escaping as the stone forms. Many people love the rustic appearance of these small pits but if you don’t, you can always choose tiles that have them filled in.

Outdoor Tiles

The edges of travertine tiles may also be straight for a uniform look or chiseled to make them appear older. Finishes include tumbled, honed, brushed, and polished but you won’t want to use a polished finish on floor tiles outside since it would be too slippery.

The natural texture of travertine actually provides grip making it an attractive choice for use as tiles for outdoor steps and around swimming pools. A favorite feature for many tile owners is how cool their tiles feel even on a hot summer’s day which is especially convenient around the pool so you don’t burn your feet.

They can also handle extremely cold temperatures without the risk of cracking. When thinking about this material you will definitely want consider installing your tiles in the Versailles tile pattern for which it works famously well.

Outdoor Tiles

 

Slate Tiles

Tiles made from slate are an excellent example of the stunning looks that natural stone has to offer. While most people think that they are only available in grey they actually can be found in everything from orange to black. Depending on what you prefer, you may want to choose tiles that are one uniform color or those that have many different color variations in each individual tile.

There are different finishes too so that you can find tiles that are totally smooth or have an uneven surface known as a natural cleft finish. Slate is very tough but also highly resistant to water. These traits along with the fact that it can be used to create both modern and rustic looking spaces make it a very popular outside choice.

Outdoor Tiles

Outdoor wall tiles made from slate can be used in outdoor showers, on decorative walls, and on the exterior of the house. Slate split-faced tiles in particular are one of the most frequently purchased choices for wall installations because of their appealing rough natural texture.

You will also see tiles made from this stone used on patios and as flooring in areas that are frequently wet. This is not just because of their looks and water resistance. It is also because they provide serious natural grip and this easily makes them one the best exterior tiles for steps.

Even though slate is stain resistant you will definitely want to seal your tiles to protect them from things like oils which can cause staining. You may want to consider using a stone enhancer which will give your tile a wet look. And don’t forget when installing slate tiles outdoors on your patio it is very important you do so over a concrete slab.

Outdoor Tiles

 

Concrete Tiles

When you want the look of natural stone but would like to spend much less, concrete offers a very budget-friendly solution. By using molds it can be made into tiles that look like just about any stone material. In fact it can even be made to look like materials such as wood.

Outdoor Tiles

The texture and colors of the tiles can look so much like the real thing that it can be extremely difficult to tell the difference. They can also handle very heavy use and foot traffic which is always a plus too. However, outdoor concrete tiles will have to be sealed to protect them from water, staining and mildew.

Because they are much cheaper than other options for manufacturers to produce they cost less to purchase. You can also buy your own mold and some concrete and use them to create your own patio pavers or outdoor floor tiles for very little money. If you do, you’ll want to purchase cement coloring to help you make your tiles look as real as possible.

Outdoor Tiles

Porcelain Tiles

A choice that offers a lot of versatility are porcelain tiles. They also happen to be unbelievably well-suited for the outdoors. The use of extremely high temperatures during the manufacturing process helps to produce tiles that are stronger and denser than materials like ceramic and even some types of natural stone.

And because they won’t mildew or stain, and have such a low water absorption rate that they are close to waterproof, it’s not hard to see why so many people choose to install them on outside floors and walls.  They are also resistant to freezing temperatures which may be very important depending on where in the world you live.  A lot of consumers don’t realize that porcelain tile can be used as a substitute for stone and other materials.

Outdoor Tiles

Since porcelain can absorb dye so well it can be made to look just like real stone that would usually cost much more. Adding outdoor porcelain tile that looks like stone is a good idea for someone who likes the look of natural materials but wants something that is less costly, low-maintenance yet at the same time tough. Realistic textures can also be added to tiles which make them look even more authentic and increase their grip.

When shopping you will want to make sure you check the PEI rating of the tiles you are considering which will tell you how it can be used. This is a rating of hardness and durability made by the Porcelain Enamel Institute. The rating can be anywhere from one through five with one being the most fragile and five being the toughest. The best tile for outdoor patio use will have a PEI rating of four or five.

Outdoor Tiles

 

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles come in a diverse array of colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes. However when it comes to being used outside they will do much better on walls than on the floor. In general ceramic tiles are usually only used in areas that receive light use. If you do decide to use them on the floor it is very important that they are rated for outdoor floor use and are sealed to prevent staining.

Ceramic outdoor wall tiles though can be installed to add a splash of color. Other than wall spaces one spot that can really work for this is on stair risers. Adding them here will also be sure to increase the curb appeal of your home. Colorful Mexican tiles are an option that will work wonderfully for this job.

Outdoor Tiles

 

Quarry Tiles

While not actually coming from quarried stone as they did in the past, these unglazed clay tiles are very tough and function extremely well as outdoor tiles for patio use. Unlike those made from ceramic and porcelain, quarry tiles are typically only found in a few colors. Most often they are seen in red, but sometimes also in brown or gray.

Outdoor Tiles

It is these deep, rich, earth tone colors that help quarry tiles portray a unique Mediterranean look that many homeowners love. These tiles are also much thicker than other types usually ranging from ½” to ¾”. This thickness and the fact that they are very dense, makes them an extremely durable and strong tile that can take the abuse of the outdoors.

Quarry tiles also have a very low water absorption rate, allowing the homeowner to use them in wet areas without any problems. This added to the fact that their unglazed surface provides grip, makes them a very effective non-slip surface and one of the top choices when you need outside tiles for steps. However, they must be sealed so they don’t absorb stains. Quarry tiles can be tougher to clean than other types of tiles though and may sometimes require a good power washing.

Outdoor Tiles

Granite Tiles

These are the strongest and most durable type of all natural stone tiles. They also can be quite expensive. Granite is naturally waterproof and just about impenetrable to bacteria. It also won’t chip or crack and is extremely scratch resistant. Unlike many other types of stone it will not stain or absorb oils easily.

These traits along with its looks also make it the most sought after material for indoor use on kitchen countertops. Most often tiles will be grey in color but can range all the way to pink. When used as outdoor patio tiles or to make walk and pathways they create spaces that don’t just impress but last a lifetime.

Outdoor Tiles

 

Limestone Tiles

Limestone is formed underwater by shells, coral, algae and calcium carbonate. It is a material that has been favored by builders since ancient times because while it is easy to cut and work with it is also strong and durable.  Usually gray, tan, brown, or red in color this strong, heavy material was used to make castles and even the Egyptian pyramids.

Their light color actually reflects sunlight and help to keep them cool even during very hot weather. Needless to say limestone tiles are very tough.  However, care must be taken as they can be scratched. Limestone tiles need to be properly sealed as they are somewhat porous and highly susceptible to damage by acids.

They are easy to clean by sweeping or mopping with a neutral cleaner just be sure not to use anything acidic such as bleach or vinegar. Limestone is one of the best outdoor tile choices for creating a rustic appearance and its neutral colors make it a fabulous pairing for use with wood furniture.

Outdoor Tiles

Soapstone Tiles

Soapstone originally got its name for its soft texture, which can feel almost like soap to the touch. This comes from the fact that it is mostly made up of talc. It is a non-porous stone which makes it totally resistant to water but also staining of all kinds. Acids and chemicals will not damage it.

The high heat resistance of this stone and the fact that it’s naturally waterproof make it a great material for outdoor tiles in really hot, wet, or even extreme climates of all types. Soapstone tiles can be used in wet areas such as around swimming pools or water features. And their resistance to staining makes them a superb choice for outdoor patio floor tiles in areas used for dining.

Many homeowners will use mineral oil applications to bring out the natural beauty of their soapstone tiles. Applying mineral oil along with a light sanding can also help to eliminate any scratches in tiles as well.

Sandstone Tiles

Sandstone has been used to make tiles since ancient times. As a sedimentary rock it is made up of tiny particles of other rocks and sand which have been displaced by wind and water.  Because these tiny particles have a huge range in colors, so do sandstone tiles.  However they are usually available in white, tan, red, gray, and brown.

Their beautiful variations in texture and color make an eye-catching addition to gardens and patios.  Outdoor sandstone tiles can be used in wet areas but they will need to be sealed first as this stone is highly porous and will absorb water if it isn’t. Sealing is also critical to prevent the absorption of salt which can cause serious damage to sandstone.

Outdoor Tiles

 

Outdoor Carpet Tiles

Unlike standard carpeting which comes in rolls, carpet tiles come in squares which can be much more convenient.  If individual tiles become worn or damaged they can easily be removed and replaced. Dirty tiles can also be taken out, cleaned, and then set in place again with little effort. Since they can be removed they are a common choice for those who are renting.

Outdoor Tiles

Tiles that can be used outside will usually be advertised as indoor/outdoor carpet tiles and can be used in either space. Depending on the brand they may be peel and stick, require adhesive tape, or interlock. Carpet tiles can be installed over other surfaces such as concrete.

When made for the outdoors they will normally be UV resistant to prevent fading from the sun, easy to clean, odor and stain-resistant, and many are anti-microbial as well. They are usually used as outdoor non-slip floor tiles in areas like decks, patios, garages, workshops, outdoor work spaces, around pools, and even in the entryways of houses. Many homeowners also choose to add them to their porches or use them as tiles for outdoor structures like gazebos and pergolas.

Outdoor Tiles

As you can see, there are many types of outdoor tiles to choose from. While all have their good points, some might not be the right fit for your space or function. However, if you take it slow and ask yourself the right questions, you will find the right outdoor tile for your needs, your space, and save money  and time in choosing correctly the first time around!

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Getting Started With Tile Stencils

Getting Started With Tile Stencils

Tile Stencils

You don’t have to spend money replacing your tiles to get the look of a new tile installation. In fact you don’t even have to have any tiles at all. With some time and a few supplies tile stencils can give your floors, walls, or more a much-needed makeover for less.

Tile stencils are basically squares that have a design or pattern cut out of them, just like what you’d see on a real tile. When placed on a surface and painted over, the image of the cut-out is transferred onto the surface below. They come in materials such as vinyl, Mylar, and plastic.

Typically however, plastic stencils are the most sturdy and durable. Tile stencils are inexpensive and made so that they can be re-used after being washed. This along with the fabulous results they can create has made using them one of the hottest DIY projects in recent years.

Tile Stencils

 

Create The Appearance Of A Real Tiled Surface

You don’t need an actual tiled surface to use stencils. In fact one of the best and most popular ways to use them is to create the look of tiles on a surface where you don’t have them. This of course can save you a lot of cash since you won’t need to remove any existing surfaces, purchase any tile, or hire a professional.

Tile stencils can be used to create a tile-like look on surfaces such as concrete, linoleum, glass, wood, acrylic, metal, and painted drywall. This means you can use them on your existing walls and floors or even ceiling panels. Many people use them on other furnishings as well such as rugs and for single tile prints on pillows.

And of course tile stencils are a favorite for anyone who has a hobby of crafting. While paint is usually the most common medium, depending on what material you are using your stencil on stains, acid stains, dyes, waxes, and glazes can also be used.

Tile Stencils

 

Use on Existing Tiles

You can use stencils to give an existing tile installation a new life. This might be a project worth considering if you have outdated tiles and want to update the look of your space without spending much cash or simply want to change things up a bit. Typically when planning to use your stencils on tiles, you will need to sand the tiles first.

And because paint actually won’t stick directly to tile, you’ll then need to apply a primer which gives the paint something to adhere to.  You can really use any paint type except for options that are oil-based. To apply the paint a roller will work or you may want to purchase some stencil brushes especially for multi-color designs.

When painting you will need to wash off and dry your stencil after every few tiles so that the paint doesn’t smudge. After painting you’ll also need to apply a sealer. The specific sealer you choose will depend on where you will be using it since some areas will be wetter and hotter than others for example when used on a kitchen backsplash.

Tile Stencils

 

Popular Styles

There are many different designs and patterns to choose from. Some of the most popular are vintage style ones that look just what you’d commonly see on concrete tiles. When creating the look of vintage tiles many people like to first paint there tiles white and then use a black paint for their design to create a classic look with stunning contrast.

Exotic options are very popular as well. For example Moroccan and Spanish tile stencils are not just favorites but widely available and so are stencil featuring Damask patterns. Another option are Mexican or also known as Talavera tile stencils. Talavera is a style that originated in Mexico that is well-known for hand-painted tile motifs that use deep, rich colors.

Blues, greens, and yellows are widely used so when you would like to create a Talavera or Mexican tile space you’ll want to think about using them. But of course there are more plain options as well you don’t have to go with something vintage or exotic.

Tile Stencils

 

Areas To Use Your Stencils

You can use stencils anywhere that you already have tiles installed, or where you want the look of tiles and have a surface that can be painted. Generally large tile stencils are used on the floor and smaller ones are used on the wall but what size you use will depend on your space and personal preferences.

The walls and floors in kitchen and bathrooms are probably the most common areas to use stencils. Of course backsplashes in both of these rooms are very popular spots as well especially since a stylish or colorful backsplash can add so much to a room’s appearance.

Tile Stencils

If you prefer the look of very small tiles on your backsplash or bathroom floor you’ll want to check out mosaic tile stencils. Entry and hallways are also areas where you can use your stencils to make a big difference visually. Stair risers are another very effective spot especially for adding color to a room.

You’ll definitely want to think about using your stencils in areas of the home that you would not otherwise want to spend money upgrading. Concrete flooring in your basement or utility room for example would be a prime spot. And so would a patio slab for making it look like you’ve got some new outdoor tiles.

Tile Stencils

 

Don’t Overlook These Ideas

There are a few ideas you can use to add extra emphasis to the project you’re planning or to tiles you already have installed.  A very simple and effective method is to simply choose a decorative stencil design or a few of them and use them as you would accent tiles. By adding them every couple of tiles or randomly you will only have to use them a few times in total for big results.

Tile border stencils can be used on the edges of your tiles as well or you may want to add them when planning a new wall or floor project as an extra eye-catching detail. And if you’d like to add a focal point there are even stencils made to create tile medallions that would otherwise be quite costly. These work especially on the floor and in entryways for maximum impact.

Tile Stencils

Tile stencils are a fabulous tool you can use to dramatically improve the look of just about any space. And by following the advice and info here you’ll be able to complete your upgrade for pennies on the dollar.

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