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Can You Put Outdoor Tile Over Concrete? (How To)

Concrete is a common material used outdoors. We use it for patios and walkways but at times, we want to beautify it when we use it. Can you put tile over concrete to do so?

You can put tile over concrete but you have to prepare the concrete in advance. This would require cleaning the concrete so nothing keeps the tile from adhering to it properly. You also must use the proper adhesive and, at times, you need to use a waterproof membrane.

Fixing and working on the outdoor tiles

Obviously, there are many things to consider when you are installing tile over concrete. This would include more than simply purchasing the tile and putting it down. You have to prepare the concrete. Why?

First of all, if there are any defects in the concrete, it could affect the tile eventually. As you likely know, a small crack in the concrete today can become a large crack in the concrete tomorrow.

It would be nothing for the tile to crack, either at the joint or perhaps in the center of the title. That is why you must make sure that the concrete is structurally sound and free of defects before installing the tile. Otherwise, you are simply transferring your problems from one to the other.

Something else that we discussed is the possibility of putting down a waterproof membrane. This is something that is of great debate among even professionals who do this for a living.

The waterproof membrane can keep any defects from the concrete from transferring over to the tile. Then again, there are those who believe that it has no effect.

In the end, it is generally recommended that you use it because there is no harm in using it. Whether it actually does good or not, however, is somewhat debatable.

Can You Put Outdoor Tile Over Concrete? (How To)

The choice of tile was also something to consider carefully. You have so many different options and most of them can easily be used either indoors or outdoors. There are a few, however, that are better for use outdoors.

Some of the tiles that can be used outdoors include marble, limestone, slate, porcelain, travertine, and stone. Something that you might notice about these tiles is the fact that they are natural and you will find them outdoors because they are often mined outdoors.

On the other hand, if you decide you want to use something such as linoleum or a luxury vinyl tile, you might find that it doesn’t transfer to the outdoors and do as well as it did indoors.

Those artificial tiles that may have a lot of beauty and durability indoors will likely experience problems due to the weather and exposure to the elements. It is best if you use them inside and choose a natural title for outside.

You also need to consider the possibility that some tiles are going to be slicker than others. This can be a real problem outdoors, especially when the tiles get wet.

For example, many people use porcelain tile over concrete when it is around the pool area. Porcelain is well known for not needing much maintenance and it offers a lot of beautiful options that will enhance the look of the pool and your outdoor living environment.

At the same time, however, if you don’t treat porcelain properly, it can be very slippery. That is why you need to consider the finishing portion of the tile installation, something that is sometimes skipped.

There are coatings that you can put over the tile that are anti-slip. Often, it is a common type of glaze but it has pieces of sand or other material in it that rough up the surface slightly and keep it from being so slick.

Not all outdoor tile installations are going to require that you use this type of coating but at times, you may find that it is beneficial.

One other thing that we will consider about installing outdoor tile is the need to keep safety in mind. Obviously, there is the potential for injury when doing any type of DIY work, and tile is no different.

Keep the following in mind when you are working on installing tile over concrete:

Safety glasses – This is typically included at the top of the list because you can’t discount the importance of safety glasses. Some people make the mistake of using prescription glasses and they find out that they offer no protection. Real safety glasses that are rated for that purpose will protect your eyes.

Kneepads – If you are going to be putting down tile, you are going to be working on your hands and knees quite frequently. A good pair of kneepads will help to make you more comfortable and will protect you from injury.

Sunscreen – More than likely, you are going to be working out in the sun if you are installing tile over concrete outdoors. The sun can quickly damage your skin, so make sure you are wearing some high-quality sunscreen.

Gloves – Although you will not likely wear gloves throughout the entire process, if you wear a good pair of all-purpose gloves whenever possible, it will help to protect your hands. This is not only true of cuts and bruises, you also protect your hands from the damaging effects of coming in contact with the mortar and adhesive.

Respirator – It is a good idea to use a respirator if you are doing anything that causes small particles to become airborne. This could include cutting tile or working with the underlayment.

At this point, we will consider some of the tools that are necessary for outdoor tile, as well as how to install it and what to consider for certain scenarios.

What Tools Do You Need To Install Outdoor Tile Over Concrete?

Fixing and working on the outdoor tiles

As part of the preparation process, you always want to make sure that you have all of your tools available. Having tools and materials on hand can help you to get the job started and to finish it successfully.

Here are some of the tools you will need to have on hand when installing outdoor tile over concrete:

Tape Measure – It is a good idea to have a long tape measure and a short tape measure. The long tape measure can be used for measuring longer distances in preparing the project. The shorter tape measure will be used for cutting the tile.

Tile Saw – A wet saw can be used for cutting the tile or you can use a tile cutter that will score the tile and break it. Generally speaking, using a wet saw is best because it gives you a better edge. The edge of the outdoor tile is often exposed.

Mixer – Since you are likely to be mixing a lot of the adhesive and grout, it’s a good idea to have a higher-quality masonry mixer on hand. Keep in mind, that there can be a lot of dangerous dust when using the mixer so wear an N95.

Trowels – Having a mortar trial on hand is an obvious choice for tools but you may have to have a few different sizes available.

Pressure Washer – It is a good idea to pressure wash the concrete prior to putting down the tile. Pressure washing is one of the keys to ensuring that the tile sticks properly.

You should also have other tools, including the following:




Tile Spacers

Grout Sponges

Having these tools on hand when you start the job is going to be of great benefit. Keep in mind that there are parts of the job that will require you to move along quickly.

What Preparations Do You Need To Install Outdoor Tile Over Concrete?

confused man standing

In any DIY project, preparation is always going to be the key to success. This includes installing outdoor tile over concrete. What can you do to ensure that you are properly prepared for the job?

Cleaning is one of the most important parts of preparing the concrete slab for the installation of outdoor tile. It will remove the dust and debris that may be on the concrete and can impede the ability of the tile to adhere to it properly.

Of course, cleaning the concrete is only one of the many different things that you need to keep in mind. There are many others, and we will consider them here:

Cleaning – Cleaning concrete may require that you use a pressure washer along with a cleaner and degreaser. You may also need to scrub the concrete with a scrub brush but rinsing the concrete is also important.

One of the benefits of cleaning is removing anything that might keep the tile from sticking. There is another benefit, however, that is often overlooked.

When you thoroughly clean the concrete ahead of time, it allows you to see some of the defects in the concrete that may need repairing. This includes smaller cracks that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Drying – This may be something that you don’t really give much thought to but it is important to ensure that the area is dried properly prior to the time that you install the tile.

One thing to consider is the length of time that the concrete has been down. If it is less than 90 days, it is likely that the concrete is still drying and the moisture coming off of the concrete could damage the adhesive and the tile.

In addition, you want to wait at least overnight for the excess moisture from the cleaning process to fully evaporate. Concrete does have the ability to soak in water, so you want to allow plenty of time for the drying process to take place.

Patching – Although it would be nice if the concrete slab was free of defects, we realize that is not going to happen very often. In most cases, we will have to do at least a little bit of patching of the concrete prior to the tile being installed.

This is not something to overlook. You should not feel as if cracks in little holes will simply be covered over with the adhesive of the tile. Keep in mind that any small defect in the concrete could be a large defect very quickly.

If there are cracks or other defects in the surface, then it will transfer to the tile. You may not see it for a few weeks or months, but eventually, the tile will crack or it will separate at the seams.

If there are any large defects with the concrete, this could be a problem that needs to be looked into more thoroughly. Large defects are often the sign of a large problem under the surface. Contact somebody who can help you if necessary.

Leveling – If there are any high points or low points in the concrete, these need to be fixed prior to the title being installed. These problems are sometimes noticed during the cleaning process when water tends to pool in one area.

You can grind down any high points and use some self-leveling compound for the low points. Make sure that you are using a self-leveling compound that is rated for outdoor use.

If you have a lot of problems with high and low points, you may find that it is beneficial to float the entire concrete slab with a self-leveling compound. Make sure you give it time to dry before installing the tile.

How To Install Outdoor Tile Over Concrete

Fixing and working on the outdoor tiles

Now that we have properly prepared the concrete, it’s time to install the tile. Here’s how to do it.

An essential factor for installing tile on concrete is finding the center of the room. The tile should be installed from the center to the walls in both directions. Mark the center point clearly with a chalk line and make sure of your measurements in both directions.

All of the tiles should be unpacked at this point to check for any obvious flaws. If there is a problem with a color mismatch or damage to the tile, it should be corrected at this point by returning the tile. That way, you can do the entire job at one time.

Put down enough of the tile adhesive using a notched trowel that you can work with it at one time. You want to be able to lay the tile but you don’t want the adhesive to dry in the process.

Continue to put down the tile, paying attention to the leveling of the tile in the process. If you are using a thicker grout line, use spacers rather than trying to eyeball the joint.

When you get to the edge, you should measure the final tile that goes in place. Cut the tile at this point and install it.

After allowing the tile to dry, you can grout the floor. Be careful that you are not stepping on the center of the tiles when grouting. Putting pressure on the edges can cause the tile to crack.

Grout the floor and continue to wipe it with a sponge. Rinse the sponge out frequently. The goal is to remove as much of the grout from the tile as possible.

After the tiles dry, you may see a slight haze on the tile and this can usually be wiped up with another pass with a grout sponge.

Can You Also Put Outdoor Tile Over Concrete Steps?

Fixing and working on the outdoor tiles

If you have concrete steps, you may be wondering if you could also tile on those. Is it possible?

You can tile over concrete steps in a similar way to how you tile any floor that is on a concrete slab. Tile can be added to both the stair tread and the riser.

When installing outdoor tile over concrete stairs, make sure that you pay attention to the surface. You want a surface that is not going to cause a slip and fall accident, so you may need to glaze the tile with a non slip glaze.

Can You Also Put Outdoor Tile Over Concrete Patio?

Fixing and working on the outdoor tiles

Is a concrete patio an appropriate place for outdoor tile?

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on August 22, 2022.

As long as you prepare the concrete patio properly, you can use it as a subfloor for outdoor tile. Preparing it would include cleaning and repairing the slab. You might also want to consider using a membrane.

Since tile can be installed on any flat surface, concrete slabs, such as what you’ll find on a concrete patio make a great choice.

Can You Also Put Outdoor Tile Over Concrete Slab?

Fixing and working on the outdoor tiles

Concrete slabs are often used outdoors. Can you also beautify them with tile?

Both large and small concrete slabs can be covered with tile if you prepare the concrete in advance. This would include repairing any damage to the concrete and cleaning it thoroughly.

It is also important to wait at least 90 days after the concrete slab was poured before you put tile or any other surface on it. It takes at least that long for the concrete slab to fully dry.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on August 22, 2022.

Can You Also Put Outdoor Tile Over Concrete Wall?

Fixing and working on the outdoor tiles

If you have a concrete wall, can you beautify it with some outdoor tile?

Tile can be installed directly on the concrete wall. As long as the concrete is structurally sound and dry, you can use tile to beautify it.

Generally speaking, an uncoupling membrane is a good idea when you are installing outdoor tile over a concrete wall. The membrane provides a separation between the concrete and the tile so that one doesn’t affect the other.

Can You Also Put Outdoor Tile Over Concrete Walkway?

Fixing and working on the outdoor tiles

We want the outdoor walkways at our home to look as nice as possible. If you have a concrete walkway, can you use outdoor tile?

If the concrete walkway is free from defects and dry, you can install tile on it. Tile is a great way to beautify your concrete walkway and add some curb appeal to your home.

Can You Also Put Outdoor Tile Over Concrete Around Pool?

Fixing and working on the outdoor tiles

If you have a concrete slab around your pool area, is it something that can be beautified with outdoor tile?

Any concrete deck, including the one around your pool, is a suitable subfloor for outdoor tile. Keep in mind that some tile is slicker than others, so you want to choose a tile that will not cause someone to slip and fall in such a wet area.

Can You Also Put Outdoor Tile Over Concrete Driveway?

confused man standing

We know that outdoor tile can be used on walking surfaces but if you have a concrete driveway, can it also be tiled?

If you use the proper outdoor tile on your concrete driveway, it will withstand day-to-day use. Generally speaking, a thicker porcelain tile is one that is strong enough and suitable for use on concrete driveways.

If you do put outdoor tile over a concrete driveway, you must do it properly. If you don’t put the tile down properly, it can have pockets or be just unstable enough that it will crack if exposed to the heavy weight of a vehicle.

As long as you clean concrete and repair any damage, you can use outdoor tile over it. You may also want to use a waterproofing membrane and the proper adhesive so that it will withstand exposure to the elements.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on August 22, 2022.

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