A tiled way to keeping outdoors natural and trendy
Tiles are a popular flooring material both indoors and outdoors. They are easy to care for, durable and are considered appropriate for areas having high foot fall. Tiles are also very flexible design-wise, as they are available in virtually limitless combination of colours, styles, textures, shapes, and patterns.
With the constant change in trends, outdoor flooring has become even more popular and nowadays, tiles are considered to be the best option for outdoor flooring. Outdoor tiles can be used to create a seamless flow from indoors to outdoors or even to create a feature in itself.
Laying ceramic tiles outdoors can give your home a warm, inviting and appealing feel as it also blends well with the style of your home. However, before deciding on the tile patio it is important to select the right kind of tile. In outdoor areas, non-porous and stain resistant tiles are recommended to a very large extent. It is also very important that the tile has a non-slip surface for safety reasons.
The major tiles used in outdoor applications are:
Ceramic Tiles: This outdoor tile is most often used as a paving material because of its unique appearance. Available in many colors, textures, patterns and sizes, it's not surprising that ceramic tiles are a popular choice for outdoor use.
Porcelain Tiles: Flooring tiles made of porcelain are denser than ceramic tiles. This quality makes them less moisture absorbent, and a good option for outdoor use in climates with frost and cold weather. Porcelain tiles with at least a PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating of 5 are scratch- and abrasion-resistant and are a good option for outdoor use. Good quality porcelain tiles are saltwater- and chlorine-safe and are resistant to losing colour over time.
Stone Tiles: Stone tile is a popular high-end outdoor paving option. The most common outdoor stone tiles are slate, travertine and sandstone. These tiles provide a beautiful finish with rich colors that enhances your yard or garden. It is a good idea to have an outdoor ceramic tile patio sealed after installation to protect it from weather and stains.
The latest offerings available to completely transform your outdoor space are the full body glazed vitrified tiles and the natural finish tiles.
Full body glazed vitrified: This tile not only has durability of full body vitrified tiles but also comes with VC shield technology which makes them the most durable tiles. In addition to the inherent toughness, these tiles offer the best designs and textures like rustic, wooden and marble. They are considered a very good option for outdoors as they prevent wear and tear, scratches and abrasion. Duragres, the glazed vitrified tiles are available in the size of 605 × 605 mm with plethora of designs and shades; you can choose the one which fits best to your desired space. They are now available in digital prints too.
Natural Finish Tiles: The natural finish tiles are the trend to look out for this season. These tiles add instant glamour and panache to any space. Marble finishes have been a long favourite for floor cover but have recently reinvented the trend with Italian marble finishes with digital printing technology. Even wood and stone finishes have been created using this technique.
They are available in sizes 496×496mm, 600×600mm and 605×605mm and prices range from Rs 600 per square metre to Rs 1,300 per square metre and come in several options to suit all kinds of requirements.
The Provision of tile cladding in some portions of the front elevation of the house is considered essential as well as trendy these days. A house without tile cladding looks unimpressive and incomplete. Let us therefore, have a look at the various aspects to be kept in view while choosing tiles for cladding certain portions of the walls of your house:
Trend meter: Tiles used in wall cladding are either burnt-clay tiles, ceramic tiles (produced specifically for wall cladding purpose), laminated wood tiles or stone tiles. Among these, burnt clay tiles are used more frequently. Ceramic tiles come next on the preference list. Though people have a liking for wood finish materials these days, the high cost of laminated wood tiles prevents many from choosing the same. The use of stone tiles is not that common these daysfacing a downtrend these days.
These look most beautiful on walls. Indians have an inbuilt tendency to choose brick like products. That's why burnt-clay tiles are the most preferred. Their natural look and good thermal insulation property also attract Indians to use them for wall cladding. These tiles are different from the ones used in tile terracing of the house. While the tiles used for tile terracing are 40 mm thick, burnt-clay tiles for wall cladding are just 20 mm thick.
Size matters: Reputed manufacturers produce burnt clay tiles for wall cladding in multiple sizes. The most common size is 230 mm length, 40 mm width and 20 mm thickness. Smaller than this size and very popular these days are thinner tiles having dimensions of 150 mm length, 25 mm width and 20 mm thickness. Smaller is the size, more beautiful the tiles look.
Colour code: Burnt-clay tiles come in many colours. Terracotta, brown antique, red colour, chocolate brown and antique red are mainly used. Terracotta red and chocolate brown are the most preferred colours. All burnt-clay tiles in a lot don't have a uniform colour as clay is a natural product and slight colour variation in it on burning is obvious. This slight variation in colour within a lot lends the tiles a natural look making them aesthetically look better than other tiles.
Thickness: Burnt-clay tiles for wall cladding have a uniform thickness of 20 mm. The length or breadth of tiles may vary but thickness remains the same i.e. 20 mm. Burnt clay tiles are mechanically produced to have very fine edges, shape and uniform thickness so that no problem arises during their affixing on the walls.
What to look for: Burnt-clay tiles should always be checked for having zero efflorescence property. Their water absorption should be very low. The tiles should be well burnt, having high compressive strength and producing sharp and loud ringing sound on striking. Often these tiles develop slight curvature due to shrinkage of clay during burning. Such tiles should be sorted out of the lot as these cause problems in their affixing on the wall surfaces. Only straight tiles should be selected.
Cost: Burnt-clay tiles are quite costly these days. The cost varies with the colour of the tiles. While the red coloured tiles cost about Rs 8 per piece, brown coloured tiles cost Rs 8.50 per tile. Chocolate brown coloured tiles are the costliest. Taking the area of a tile as 230 mm by 40 mm, the cost of red color tiles comes out as Rs 80 per sq. ft. Adding the cost of labour for providing these tiles in the face work, the cost of tile work is Rs 110 per sq. ft. The cost multiplies if sleeker tiles are used. For tiles of size 150 mm by 25 mm, the cost comes out as Rs 160 per sq ft and cost of tile work comes out to be Rs 200 per sq. ft.
Wall surface preparation: Those portions of the wall surface where tile cladding is planned to be provided should be left with a rough finish while carrying out the plastering work in the house. The surfaces to be painted should be finished smooth. Surfaces to be clad with tiles are made rough by applying wire brush all over the plaster of the surface. This allows good adhesion during tile cladding work.
Order in advance: Good quality burnt-clay tiles are much in demand these days and are often not available in stock. The manufacturers ask for two to three weeks time for production and supply of tiles whenever an order is placed upon them. One should, therefore, decide the quantity, colour and size of tiles and place the order well in advance. On supply, the tiles should be safely stored till the gang for fixing them arrives at site. Some extra quantity should always be purchased as the colour for different lots burnt in the kiln varies and shortage of tiles at site may cause a problem.
Header tiles: Nowadays circular features or curves are being chosen more in front elevation of houses. These curves look more beautiful when finished with burnt clay tile cladding. Sharper the curves, the smaller is the length of tiles to be fixed on it. Normal tiles having length of 230 mm are not suitable for curved surfaces. Tiles having a length of 150 mm may suit some curves having large radius. Tile manufacturers now produce header tiles having just 115 mm length. These tiles are often found suitable for the curved surfaces though the work involved in affixing these increases and more labour charges have to be paid for the work. Extraordinary workmanship is required to bring out the best effect.
Ceramic tiles specifically produced for outer wall cladding are also popular these days. A good variety in them is available. However, wood finish tiles are the most preferred. Their main advantage is that these look like wood but are actually in ceramic and thus are cheaper. There is no risk of their damage during rains too. These tiles cost around Rs 80 to Rs 120 per sq ft. Commonly chosen size is 600 mm by 300 mm. Tiles having a size of 600 mm by 150 mm are also produced and look more beautiful. Among the finishes, oak finish tiles, both in light and dark shades and in matt finish look most elegant.
Main properties: Ceramic tiles produced by the manufacturers belong to Group II, III, IV and V. Higher the group, the stronger are the tiles. However, these are also costlier. For exterior wall cladding, one should choose group IV tiles. It should be seen that tiles are matt finished as gloss finish in exteriors doesn't look good. Scratch resistance property should also be checked. Tiles should belong to first grade as second grade lots have some curvature in edges and surface flatness is not perfect. Ceramic tiles weigh around 1.8 kg per sq ft.