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Outdoor Tile Cost Guide

While most people think of tiles as something that gets used inside a home, outdoor tiles are also practical for a variety of purposes. Whatever the budget, outdoor tiles can be a way to demarcate areas of space, create boundaries and outline living areas clearly. Since they come in a wide range of colors, styles and designs, they can also suit nearly any design aesthetic for the landscape and the home. With so many options, however, navigating the expenses associated with outdoor tiles can be tricky, and this guide seeks to help.

The Costs

  • Maximum cost of outdoor tiles: $35 per square foot

  • Minimum cost of outdoor tiles: $1 per square foot

Advantages of Using Outdoor Tiles

There are three major advantages that outdoor tiles offer homeowners: durability beyond that of indoor tiles, a non-slip surface suitable for all climates and a water absorption rate that can handle freezing and thawing without cracking. Indoor tiles are often not capable of handling the demands of an outdoor setting, and they can break in harsh conditions, strong winds, under the pressure of outdoor patio furniture or during extremely cold temperatures. 

Disadvantage of Using Outdoor Tiles

Unfortunately, there are also some disadvantages of using outdoor tiles in landscaping. Some tiles can be much more expensive than traditional indoor tiles, which may push them over the budget for some homeowners. Cheaper outdoor tiles certainly are available, but they may crack when thawing after extreme weather conditions, which then demands costly replacement down the road. In addition, some outdoor tiles allow mold growth, which could lead to slipping or simply an unpleasant look outdoors in the living area.

Uses For Outdoor Tiles

Perhaps the most common way to use outdoor tile is as a walkway or pathway between two destinations on the property. Large outdoor tiles can lead from the driveway to the front door of the house, from the backdoor to the outdoor patio or even throughout the garden. However, pathways are not the only way that a homeowner could use outdoor tiles. Here are just a few of the many different ways to use outdoor tiles in landscaping:

  • Stoops

  • Staircases

  • Outdoor patios

  • Accents around a pool

  • Decoration for a water feature

  • On property walls

Terracotta Outdoor Tiles

One of the most common options for outdoor tile is terracotta. This earthy material gives a Mediterranean vibe, and it is used extensively in tropical locations. The color tends to be reddish, but variations are certainly possible for an additional expense. As evidenced by ancient terracotta sculptures that have lasted for thousands of years, this material is incredibly durable. Unfortunately, there are also some drawbacks to this material. Since terracotta tiles are porous, they absorb quite a bit of water in heavy rain. In climates that drop below freezing, the water-soaked terracotta tiles could crack after thawing. The average price of terracotta outdoor tiles are roughly $10 per square foot tile and up.

Slate Outdoor Tiles

Although slate tiles are most commonly associated with roofing projects, they can also be a wonderful material for outdoor flooring projects. As a natural stone, the color of slate won't fade over time, and it can withstand a variety of climates with no problems. However, slate tends to be one of the more expensive outdoor tile options, and it can cost as much as $20 per square foot for high-quality materials. Slate also needs to be sealed on a regular basis, which incurs additional time, effort and maintenance costs.

Ceramic Outdoor Tiles

In both indoor and outdoor projects, ceramic tiles are perhaps the most common material used in residential tiling jobs. This has a lot to do with their low cost, and it is not unusual to find sales offering ceramic tiles for as little as $1 per square foot. This material is also very durable thanks to being kiln-fired at extremely high temperatures. Since ceramic tiles are not very porous, they work especially well in climates that frequently experience sub-zero temperatures and the following thaws. Since many types of ceramic outdoor tiles are glazed and sealed, they are also very easy to clean, and homeowners won't have to deal with frequent mold growth in humid conditions.

Natural Stone Outdoor Tiles

For an upscale look outdoors, many homeowners turn to the appealing design of natural stone tiles. Examples of natural stone include marble, granite and travertine, all of which can be used outdoors with some sealing. Since the materials are natural, they help to create a more exotic and natural look, and they can work cohesively with any natural tile already being used inside of the home. However, natural stone outdoor tiles do require some maintenance to prevent mold growth. Expect to pay anywhere from $6 all the way up to $35 per square foot for natural stone tiles.

Factors That Can Drive Up the Cost of Outdoor Tiles

There are hundreds of different factors that can increase the overall cost of using outdoor tiles in a landscaping project. Aside from the actual material, some designs that use unusual colors or patterns will be more expensive. In addition, any customized tiles will come with a much higher price. In many cases, the costs of installing outdoor tiles will surpass the tiles themselves. Projects done with a strict timeline, or those that require significant drainage planning for rain overflow will be more expensive, as will those projects done with small mosaic tiles. For this reason, it is key to get quotes for outdoor tile installation in advance and expect to pay anywhere from $4 to $14 per square foot of installation depending on the scale and difficulty of the project.

The cost of outdoor tiles can vary depending on whether the project involves low-quality ceramic tiles or upscale marble. Ultimately, it is up to the homeowner and the budget to determine which option is best.

Last updated on Apr 21, 2014

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