Can You Cover an Old Wood Deck With Porcelain Tile?

A wooden deck is a great addition to any house, but sometimes the old wood has a rough appearance that is less than appealing.

Types of Porcelain Tile

Porcelain ceramic tiles provide a variety of design options to turn dull concrete patios into attractive outdoor living spaces.

Porcelain tiles are classified by various grades according to purpose; some are suited only to interior walls and floors. Outdoor porcelain tiles are made to withstand temperature changes and have non-slip surfaces, since the environment is expected to frequently have a cover of moisture.

Deck Construction

Deck surfaces are constructed of a series of adjacent boards of pressure-treated lumber. Each board is placed up to a half inch from the neighboring boards to allow for natural expansion of the wood and for water to quickly flow through the boards. Each board is placed with the natural curve of the lumber facing upward. This creates a small and barely noticeable slope for the water to flow away from each board.

Porcelain Tile Installation

All tile installation, including porcelain tiles require a solid and flat surface. If tiles were to be installed on a surface that was not level underneath each tile, the tiles would crack or split when any weight came upon the tiles, such as a person walking across the surface. Each tile needs a solid surface for the adhesion of each tile to the underlying surface and for the grout.

Installing Porcelain Tile on a Wood Deck

The surface of the deck is not suitable for tile installation as it is not perfectly even and has gaps that do not provide a solid surface for the mortar and grout. The solution is to add a cement backer board to cover the decking. Backer board is resistant to moisture and easy to install on the deck's surface. Cement backer board has a slightly rough surface that provides a good surface for the mortar to hold tiles in place.

Grout Selection Tips

Choose a dark colored mortar and grout to hide dirt that will always find it's way to the porcelain tile floor. If you are in Oklahoma or other areas with red clay in the soil, choose a dark rust color.

Safety Warning

Always wear safety glasses when cutting concrete backer board and porcelain tiles.

About the Author

Cynthia Clark began writing professionally in 2004. Her work experience includes all areas of small-business development, real-estate investments, home remodeling and Web development. Clark is skilled in a number of design disciplines from digital graphics to interior design. Her diverse background and commonsense problem-solving skills allow her to tackle a variety of topics as an online writer.