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Using stone flooring outside

From sunny terrace to meandering pathway, stone flooring makes a fabulous surface outdoors – but careful selection is very important.

By following a few key pointers, you can avoid any potential pitfalls and ensure that you choose the best stone flooring that works really well outdoors.

What Type of Tile is Best For Outdoor Use?

There are several key factors that need to be considered in terms of format and finish.

Firstly, the stone flooring you choose must be frost proof and sufficiently thick to use outdoors.

Unsuitable materials will crack and crumble, so it’s worth comparing your options and seeking expert advice if you are unsure.

Depending on the type of stone flooring you choose, we recommend a minimum thickness of 20-40mm for outdoor installations.

The surface finish is also important; stone flooring with a honed finish will be very slippery, whereas a brushed or sandblasted surface will offer good slip resistance.

Some designs, like our Heritage Aged tile, combine both a sandblasted and brushed finish, so work really well.

Slate is also a good choice, as its surface is naturally riven. If you’re keen to adapt the current trend of taking the stone flooring from your interior to the garden, careful selection is imperative.

Continuity does look great but the stone flooring when used outdoors will age at a different rate to a surface protected inside.

To ensure that both surfaces look good going forwards, it’s worth opting for a darker design, as paler stone flooring will discolour over time.

What Size and Pattern Should You Choose?

Large sized pavers are the most popular outdoor stone flooring option – and our most impressive projects to date have involved larger stones.

Smaller tiles mean more grout lines and slower installation as well as more obvious discolouration.

Patterned installations using random sizes offer a good compromise, especially if you’re able to strategically place a larger stone in high traffic areas, like directly outside a doorway.

Think about which way you’re laying the stone flooring too.

Laying towards an entrance will create a natural flow, whereas tiles in an opposite direction can create an aesthetic barrier, or direct visitors another way.

Our Collection of Outdoor Stone Tiles

Limestone Tiles

We offer a selection of limestone tiles that can be used outdoors as well as inside.

Choose;

Yellow limestone flags for reclaimed flagstone flooring look.

For traditional Cotswold stone floor styling, choose our century limestone tile.

Perfect for the poolside our tumbled heritage limestone tiles can be used outside or indoors.

For a darker look, choose oratory tumbled limestone tiles to give your floors a stunning dark grey finish outside or in.

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles aren’t strictly stone tiles.

However, they can offer the traditional look and feel of natural stone tiles, but are much stronger, more resistant to stains and come in large range of styles and designs to match many classic stone flooring favourites.

Here are our porcelain tiles that can be used outdoors.

Inspired by the look and feel of French limestone our Beige Stone Effect Porcelain tiles can be used as patios or by the poolside outdoors and on walls and floors indoors for a seamless interior to exterior look.

Install Your Tiles Correctly

Before ordering your stone flooring, make sure that your subfloor is stable.

If there’s any movement, the stone flooring will crack. It’s also important that water drains off the surface of the stone appropriately, and doesn’t pool in certain areas.

Look at levels carefully and allow for some kind of technical drainage mechanism.

Capillary drainage products, like Schlüter®-DITRA-DRAIN, allow water to drain effectively away, rather than causing damage to the stone or adhesive.

And, when laying the stone flooring, make sure that the adhesive and grout used is suitable for outdoor use – not all products are!

If you’re replanting around a new path or patio, consider the effect any shrubs or trees surrounding the stone flooring might have too.

Some might stain the surface, especially those with berries, although an appropriate stain remover will sort most problems out.

Should You Seal Your Outdoor Stone Tiles?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the question of sealing outdoor stone flooring.

Many people believe that you shouldn’t treat stone flooring that’s being installed outdoors. You should, instead, allow the stone to breathe naturally.

Ultimately, it depends upon what type of stone flooring you install and where but it is more than likely that water will penetrate the surface, and then escape, and the pavers will weather naturally over time.

Others recommend the application of a sealant suggesting it will protect your outdoor stone flooring against water and stains penetrating the surface, and to prevent the freeze/thaw action from happening.

However, bear in mind that any stone flooring installed outside should be frost resistant anyway!

If a sealant is applied, periodic re-application will be necessary and, if a solvent-based product is being used, the surface must be completely dry before treatment.

Find out more about our flagstone flooring collection, visit our homepage, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Or pop into our Burford showroom to talk through some interior ideas over a coffee!

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