How to Tile Over an Existing Concrete Patio

Tile comes in many forms for different environments, with exterior tiles being made primarily of ceramic, porcelain or natural stone. Laying tiles on an existing concrete patio follows the same process as laying tiles in general. The most important aspect to remember is to plan the project accordingly so that you minimize the need for cuts and hide any cuts made. Some varieties of exterior tile are interlocking and do not require grout.

Some designs remove the seams, limiting the need for grout.

Thoroughly clean the surface with a pressure washer to remove dirt and debris.

Lay the tile on the cement pad in the desired pattern with spacers installed to properly gauge the fit of the tiles to the cement pad. Mark with a pencil any cuts necessary on the impacted pavers.

Cut the tiles with a tile wet saw, which is available for rent from most hardware stores. Remove the tile and tile spacers from the pad, keeping the cut tiles separated.

Spread Portland cement mortar or an exterior grade thinset with a trowel across a 3- to 5-foot area of the pad starting in one corner. Drag the notched edge of the trowel over the mortar to create 1/4-inch grooves in the mortar.

Place the tiles in the proper pattern with spacers inserted between each tile. Position cut tiles against a vertical surface to mask the cut. Lay the tiles out one at a time until the section is covered. Spread more mortar or thinset and add additional tiles until the cement pad is complete.

Allow the mortar to dry for 24 to 72 hours, then remove the tile spacers.

Spread an exterior-grade grout over the tiles with the trowel, starting in one corner of the area and working in 3- to 5-foot sections. Drag the flat edge of the trowel over the grout to force the grout into the seams. Wipe up excess grout from the tiles with a sponge dipped in a bucket of water. Add more grout across the surface until every seam is filled and the tiles are cleaned.

Things You Will Need

  • Pressure washer
  • Tiles
  • Tile spacers
  • Pencil
  • Tile wet saw
  • Portland cement mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • Exterior-grade grout
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Water


  • Allow the grout to dry for 24 to 72 hours minimum, then seal the tiles and grout to protect the surface from stains or damage from the weather. Sealants come in a variety of applications; choose one that is appropriate for the type of grout and tile used in the project. Follow the application directions included with the chosen sealant.

Photo Credits

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