Step-by-Step Guide To Tiling Your Garden
June 30, 2014.
From ceramic to stone, the right tile can add the perfect finish to your patio, terrace or outdoor walkway. Due to the effects of wear and weather on outdoor tiles, you’ll need to follow a more thorough installation process than you would for indoor tiles.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to tile a patio or outdoor walkway like a true professional. From preparing your concrete to grouting your tiled patio, read on to learn how to lay tiles for your patio, entrance way or walkway with ease.
Cleaning and preparing your concrete base
Tiles need to be installed over concrete. Before you start laying your tiles, you will need to check that the concrete surface you’ll be tiling over is level, free of damage and clean so that your tiles will set properly.
Start by cleaning your concrete base using trisodium phosphate (TSP). This cleaner will remove oil, mould, dirt and other potential installation hazards. Mix your TSP in a container scrub it into the tiled flooring to remove dirt, oil and other substances.
Let your concrete dry and then inspect it for cracks and bumps. Your concrete base needs to be even in order for your tiles to sit properly. Bumps and cracks can result in chips, cracks and other damage affecting your tiles when pressure is applied.
Before you can start tiling, you’ll also need to seal your concrete. Apply a concrete sealer to the surface of your concrete to seal any gaps and cracks and prevent rain from soaking into the concrete and weakening your mortar.
Cut your edge and corner tiles for a good fit
Before you can start installing your tiles, you’ll need to work out a basic layout for your patio or pathway. Starting from the edge of your patio, count how many tiles you’ll need to install to cover the width and length of your tiled area.
Some of your tiles will need to be cut to fit around corners and edges. Measure the dimensions of your corners and edges ahead of time and cut your tiles using a tile cutter so that they smoothly fit into any gaps, corners and edges. Image via rubixtiling
Before you start laying your mortar, you’ll need to mark the centre of your patio as your starting point. Choose a starting point that will allow you to easily tile the area in one session and mark it using chalk or a carpenter’s pencil.
Mixing and spreading your thinset mortar
Tiles won’t stick to your concrete on their own. Before you can lay tiles, you’ll need to mix your adhesive mortar and spread it across the area you’ll be tiling. Mix some (not all) your mortar with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Only mix as much mortar as you’ll be able to use in the next hour, as mortar will set quickly when it’s exposed to the air. Spread the mortar over the area you’ll be tiling using a grooved tiling trowel, covering enough concrete for 3-5 tiles at a time.
Installing, spacing and washing your tiles
Starting from your chalk line, install your tiles one by one. Gently lay each tile into the mortar and install tile spacers on its corners. These spacers will prevent your tiles from moving after installed and make it easier for you to install tile grout.
Once you’ve installed each tile, make sure it’s spaced properly and aligned with the rest of the tiles before installing the next. Avoid adjusting tiles after laying them, as adjusting one could throw an entire row of tiles out of alignment with each other.
Gently clean each tile with water after it’s installed to prevent mortar from setting on the surface of the tile. Work from the centre of the space outward and carefully install the cut edge or corner piece at the end of each row of tiles.
Once you’ve installed the first row of tiles, get started on the next one. When your entire space is tiled, leave the mortar to dry according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Mortar typically takes at least 24 hours to fully set.
Applying tile grout to your patio or pathway
Without grout securing each tile in place, your patio or pathway will deteriorate as moisture and pressure wear on each tile. Tile grout holds each tile securely in place and prevents water from entering the small gap between each tile.
Mix your tile grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions and spread it over your tiles with your grout float.
Make sure the grout is evenly spread between tiles and that there are no gaps where water could enter and lead to damage.
Wipe any excess grout off the surface of the tiles using a damp rag, making sure you don’t moisten the grout between tiles. Let the grout set according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer before cleaning away grout on the face of the tiles.
Cleaning and sealing your tiled flooring
Before you can walk on your tiled patio or pathway, you’ll need to clean and seal the tile grout. Sealing the grout prevents moisture from penetrating the surface of your tiled area and stops mould from forming.
Let your tile grout dry overnight, then clean the entire tiled floor using a mop or wet cloth. You may need to clean the entire are two or three times to fully remove excess tile grout from the surface of the tiles and return them to their original shine.
Once you’ve cleaned away all of the excess tile grout, seal the tile grout using a grout sealer. Depending on the sealer you use, you might need to wait for your first coat of grout sealer to dry before gently laying another with a brush.
Let your sealer dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions and clean the entire tiled area again with a damp cloth. Your tiled patio is now protected from water and ready to use.