How to Lay Outdoor Tile

Follow these steps for laying outdoor tile and you can build a tile deck or patio yourself.

Exterior Tilework
  1. The first stage in any tile project is to measure the area. Tiles come in many sizes. Design your project, making sure to include the meaurements for the space for the grout. Sloping areas should lead to a drain.

  2. Intricate tile work
  3. Choose your materials. Outdoor tile can be ceramic, porcelain or stone. Use a color scheme that will match or enhance the home. Use materials suitable for your climate. You will need field tiles as well as trim pieces.

  4. You can install ceramic or porcelain tile on a subfloor, such as concrete or masonry. A waterproof membrane can be installed between the subfloor and the mortor bed to catch moisture. On top of this, place filter fabric, then a drainage layer.

  5. The drainage layer can be made of crushed stone and should be at least one inch thick. Be careful not to puncture the waterproof membrane.

  6. On top of this, a layer of filter fabric, such as burlap or cheesecloth is placed.

  7. Prepare the surface. Clean the concrete or masonry so that the tile glue and mortar will bond.

  8. Tile stairs
  9. Glue the tile in the chosen pattern, using spacers to save room for the grout. There are some thinset mortars that maintain flexibility over time, so that you do not meed a membrane. Read manufacturer's instructions.

  10. Apply the grout and let it set. Polish to remove excess grout with a wet cloth. Let it set and enjoy your new outdoor tile work.


  • Always follow manufacturers directions and local building codes. They are there for your safety.