Ceramic Tile Deck Design

1950s modern style tile patternHow many times have you thought how great it would be to do a ceramic tile mosaic or pattern design on your deck or patio? This is becoming a very popular trend. There are many things to take into consideration when planning to tile an outdoor raised structure.

First and foremost, you need to know what is involved. You will have to ensure that you make the surface suitable to lay your tile on. To do this you will need to have a sloped substructure that allows for ¼ inch of slope per foot and it should slope so that water can run off the edge of the deck.

Then there is the use of waterproof membranes to consider. Where your deck meets with the side of your house, you want to be sure to install a water proof membrane so that it continues up the wall about 12 inches, ideally.

Along with preparing a good flat surface for the tile to be laid upon, you also have to ensure that you are preparing your deck to last through freeze thaw conditions. You need to select tile that has a water absorption rate of less than 3%. This will keep the tile from cracking in the winter.

Designing Patterns

Okay, let’s assume you have a nice prepared flat surface and you are ready to lay tile. There are many options here. This is where you have to use your own creativity to make a pattern or mosaic out of different tiles. What, you say you are not that creative?

Do not fret, many home improvement stores have tile patterns pre-made. They are simply patterns laid out and attached together with a thin membrane so that they can easily be installed.

Using a pre-made pattern may be the best option if you are not feeling inspired about making your own design, but it takes the fun out of laying your own unique design. When laying out a pattern, it is a good idea to lay it out over the deck’s surface without adhesive to see what it is going to look like before you make it permanent. Then do small sections at a time and be patient. This is not the sort of job that you want to rush.

The more time you put into it the better it will look and the longer it will last. By doing small sections of about 24 to 48 square inches at a time, you have time to lay the pattern down before your adhesive sets. If you try to do a large area, you will find yourself rushing to lay the tile before the adhesive dries and you will ultimately come out with a less than perfect design.

Selecting Tile Colors for your Deck or Patio

When selecting a pattern for your deck, you have to consider the deck’s surroundings. Usually a deck is connected to your house, so you want to choose colors for your pattern that will go with the home’s siding or paint colors. Take both the main color of the house and the colors of the trim and accents into consideration so you have more colors to work with, in your pattern. If your house is not so colorful, you can pick colors that go well with the primary color.

If you do not take the houses’ colors into consideration, you will end up with a deck that looks like it is extremely out of place. Once you have all tiles installed on your deck, keep heavy foot traffic off of it for about 72 hours while the tile sets.

Photo by Robyn Gallagher, Creative Commons Attribution License