In short, YES you most definitely can use porcelain tiles outside!
There are a few reasons why so let’s take a better look:
1. Porcelain Tiles Are Frost Proof
When using a tile in a place where temperatures may drop to below zero, a porcelain tile is your only real option. This is because they are engineered to be frostproof. The science behind this is pretty simple. Unlike ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles are impervious to water penetration. Or put more simply, they don’t absorb water. If they were to take water in, then in sub zero temperatures this water would freeze, expand and then cause the tile to crack. And nobody likes a cracked tile.
Porcelain tiles have a water absorption rate of less than 0.5% which means they’re classified by international bodies (with certificated proof) as being frost-proof. So if your patio doesn’t have underfloor heating (it’s been known!) you can rest assured your porcelain tiles will stand the test of even the harshest of winters.
2. Porcelain Tiles Don’t Need Much Maintenance
Unlike natural stone and timber, porcelain tiles are non porous. This means there are no little holes for dirt and grime to accumulate and attack the surface. In essence they are stain-proof and so require very little ongoing maintenance. If used outside, an occasional sweep or a clean with warm soapy water is more than enough to keep the tiles looking as good as new.
3. Some Porcelain Tiles Are Slip Resistant
Porcelain tiles come in many different types of finish from matt and semi-polished, to gloss and textured. When choosing a tile for outside use we would always recommend at least a matt finish. This means the surface has a natural finish which will offer some slip-resistance. As with any other type of floor covering, a textured surface provides greater slip-resistance and this is certainly the case with porcelain. Porcelain tiles are certified with different grades of slip-resistance depending on how how textured the surface is. Obviously the higher the rating the more the slip resistant.
4. Porcelain Tiles Are Fade and Scratch Resistant
Porcelain tiles are incredibly dense and are fired in kilns at over 1200 degrees Celsius. This makes them tremendously hard and resistant to scratching. No need to worry about dragging a wheelbarrow across them or dropping your shopping. Once they’ve been laid they’re as hardy as materials come. If you want proof of this, take a look at the floor of most car showrooms these days. You’ll find a porcelain tile under your feet. On top of this it’s resistant to UV fading so you can be sure that unlike timber decking, porcelain tiles will not fade and loose their colour.
5. A Seamless Finish From Inside To Out
Last but by no means least is the fact that porcelain allows you to really get the creatives juices cooking. Unlike many other floor coverings such as laminate, carpet and even engineered timber, porcelain allows you to create a seamless transition from the inside of your home to the outside. This is great if you have French or bi-folding doors opening onto a patio where the floor simply continues outside. Just think of those long summer days, hazy sunshine and BBQs galore!