Tiled entrance to stone house.

Here are some tips to consider when installing tile on a concrete slab outdoors, such as on a porch or patio.

When installing tile outside:

  • Choose a tile with a slip resistant surface that’s rated for outdoor use.
  • Porcelain tile is more durable and absorbs water less than ceramic tile.
  • Clean the concrete slab thoroughly before laying tile.
  • Apply a waterproofing membrane, such as RedGard, to the slab before tiling.
  • Use a polymer-modified, dry-set mortar adhesive that’s rated for outdoor use.
  • Cover the slab completely with the tile adhesive, and apply it to the back of the tiles as well.
  • Choose a grout that resists stains and fading.
Installing tile outdoors on a concrete patio.
Installing tile outdoors on a concrete patio.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
Danny Lipford: Often, people want to cover a concrete patio or porch with tile and need to know how that differs from indoor tile installation.

For starters, moisture and cracking are bigger concerns outside, so you need to apply a waterproofing and crack-isolating membrane to the slab before you begin. This RedGard goes on pink and turns red when it’s dry.

To secure the tiles, use a polymer-modified, dry-set mortar that is rated for outdoor use and wet conditions. Full coverage of the mortar’s very important, so it’s a good idea to back butter the titles in addition to applying mortar on the slab.

The tile itself should also be rated for outdoor use, and, as a general rule, porcelain tends to be more durable than ceramic. Of course, it should also have a slip-resistant surface.

Finally, choose a grout that will resist stains and fading, so your project will still look good for years to come.

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41 COMMENTS

  1. I have a slate driveway and the slate has broken in small areas. I need to repair this. It is slate on concrete. Would I use this same technique?

  2. Hi, I want to tile over a patio that is 15 years old. About 10 years ago, I attempted to stain it… not seal it. A lot of that has worn off. The patio is stable with no cracks.

    Can I just clean it with TSP? And, do I really need the membrane as the patio has shown itself to be stable.

  3. Hi! We are wanting to tile over a concrete pad (26 years old) and have stained and then painted over the years. Having trouble removing all of the paint layer on top of the stain. Is this a problem? Or does it have to be completely free of paint before tiling. Wanting to put porcelain tiles over it and live in midwest , so there are cold winters.

  4. Hey so we have a porch that they had glued carpet to and he has tried just about everything to change it like painting it and he out epoxy on it which only lasted a year nothing seems to work so I was telling him about tileing the it and he was like I don’t wanna waste the money if it’s not going to stick just wondering if you knew anything we could do and if tileing would work!?

  5. I’m wanting to lay an interlocking mosaic tile over an existing concrete porch that has a brick border. Would I need to cut the concrete down the thickness of the tile to make the tile and brick flush

  6. Hi, I want to tile over a patio that is 12 years old. About-5 years ago, I attempted to stain it and seal it. A lot of that has worn off. The patio is stable with no cracks. But there is one long expansion joint.

    Do I have to clean off the old stain/seal?. If yes with what?. Once cleaned do I apply redguard to entire surface or just over expansion joint area?

  7. I have metal railing that has rusted and weakened the corners of front porch one corner has broken off can you re-glue that piece and if so what product to use? could I take out the old railings then use a brick on top of that also what products to use.. trying to fix rather then having to repour a whole new front step thanks for any direction you might give

  8. I have tile laid on my porch, unfortunately, some of the tile has came loose, the grout is old and worn away. What steps should I take to fix this current problem. Please note that there is only a few problems that are loose, not the entire area.

  9. would like to install porcelain tile to my patio.one section is about a half inch lower from shifting.any suggestions.thanks

  10. Want to tile our covered front porch. Home built in 50 ‘s and porch has several layers of paint. Can we scrape any loose paint and then apply the red gard or do we have to remove all the paint to ensure a good seal? Thanks in advance!

  11. I have some tile coming loose from the concrete on our front porch. I would like to re-adhere it. Can you tell me what products/steps it will take? I can send pictures of the problem if that would help. Thanks, donna

  12. My small back coverded cement patio has some larger cracks and I would like to cover it with slate or whatever you think would be better price and endurance. I also live in cold Pa. Thank you for any help. Connie Wiegand

  13. Hi, i have slate slab on my porch, i did it on 3 yrs back, and now 1 of the
    slab came out from the side and few tiles grout is coming off, how i ca repair it, i need some suggestions.
    Thanks.

  14. Should non-sanded grout used between outdoor porcelain tile on a covered porch be sealed? If not, would it cause water to wick up the house wall?

  15. Please see the question from Sharon Richards, July 30, 2017. I want to tile my outside covered front porch; do I have to remove all the layers of paint before tiling? If I use a paint on membrane, will that work instead?

  16. My husband wants a concrete spray on resurface made to look like rocks and I want to lay slate tiles which is the better option? We have concrete textured spray on now and it has lasted 20 years. which is the most cost effective, durable and better looking option?

    • Hi, JOLAN!
      Each home is different, so without knowing the details about yours, we recommend visiting your local The Home Depot, explaining your home’s specifications and unique needs, and asking for tailored advice. It’s also worth mentioning that “the better looking option” is always subjective, so we recommend that spouses compromise and find the solution that works for you both. Good luck on your project!

  17. Can I place ceramic tile or porcelain tile and a enclosed porch that is not heated and we can get below freezing temperatures in the winter

  18. Why am I not seeing the answers to the questions? I would like to know if the instructions for tiling a concrete slab hold true for Northern Illinois and their harsh winters. My concrete slab is not heated and only covered with a pergola.
    Thank you.

    • Hi, LouAnn,
      Danny says, “The process is the same regardless of the weather conditions, but you would certainly want to make sure you’re using a high-quality adhesive and grout made for exterior conditions. I would recommend what the pros use, from Custom Building Products. It’s available at most home centers and you can view their line of products at CustomBuildingProducts.com. Good luck!”

  19. We are looking at putting tile on our back patio but it is currently an aggregate finished concrete patio. Is there anything unique or extra that needs to be done to aggregate to prepare it for this type of application?

    • Hi, David,
      Danny says, “Most likely, nothing needs to be done to prepare it for the tile, depending on how coarse the surface is. If a floor leveling / patch is needed to provide a smoother surface, or possibly fill in score joints, I would recommend you look at custombuildingproducts.com for the right products to use. You will want to make sure you’re using products that are designed for the exterior use. Those products are available at The Home Depot.
      Good luck!”

  20. Question? I have a small patio in backyard that have an expansion joint (about 3/4”) wide. Do I fill it with regard before I cover it with porcelain tile? Confused! I can send a picture if needed. Thanks!

    • Hi, Mark! The ideal temperature for laying outdoor tile depends on the product you use and the manufacturer who produces it. The tiles’ instructions should have this information. If not, contact the manufacturer to ensure you’re working at optimal temperatures. Good luck!

  21. We need to replace the shingle siding of the house.
    We like the natural stone, but even thin stone will be too heavy on the entire exterior of the house. We don’t like the wall cladding thin strips of stone on boards. Too busy looking. We don’t care for brick veneer, too commercial looking. So, we’re thinking of using 3″x 9″ strips of glazed/honed frost resistant porcelain on the exterior walls of the house. Porcelain is non porous, light weight, very durable, with an infinite colors, and many textures. Any thoughts on that would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi, Nancy,
      Danny says, “It sounds incredibly expensive and I would be concerned with its ability to be waterproofed. Water could potentially penetrate the grout and cause you problems in your walls.
      Thanks for your question.”

  22. Our house was built 20 years ago and the tile on the front porch is chipping. Do we have to take up all the tile to lay tile down again or is it possible to tile over the existing? Is there something more durable that is being used now for flooring on a large covered front porch?

  23. terrymccabe50@gmail.com. Planning on installing porcelain tile on our front patio and back screened porch. The house in 1 year old. Broom brushed concrete. No noticeable low spots. Score marks. Do I need to use leveling concrete? If so does the red gard go on before or after. Thanks

    • Hi, Terry,
      If you are using RedGard as a moisture barrier to prevent the tiles from “sweating” in humid weather, I would confirm with the manufacturer (Custom Building Products) that the product is appropriate for this application first.
      If you use a leveling compound it would go on before the RedGard (see manufacturer’s instructions for appropriate cure time.)
      If there are no score joints or low spots, the leveling compound may not be needed.
      Good luck!

    • Hi!
      We don’t offer information on individual home builders, repairers and suppliers, as this varies by location, but we encourage checking your local phone listings for this information.
      Good luck!

    • Hi, Francisco,
      We don’t recommend laying tile over a wood deck due to the moisture issues.
      Mixing wood, tile, grout and moisture is a recipe for a short-term solution.
      Thanks for your question!

  24. I have 3 vertical concrete columns that hold up a parking structure above my home. They’re ugly to look at and I was hoping to cover them with a nice tile design. I don’t need to worry about non-slip. Can I install glass tile outside? These columns are protected from rain and snow, but not heat and cold.
    Thank you!

  25. I have 3 vertical concrete columns that hold up a parking structure above my home. They’re ugly to look at and I was hoping to cover them with a nice tile design. I don’t need to worry about non-slip. Can I install glass tile outside? These columns are protected from rain and snow, but not heat and cold.
    Thank you!

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