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How to Install Wood or Composite Deck Tiles

How to install deck tiles

Updating the surfaces of your outdoor space is quick and easy with deck tiles. This type of decking is designed with interlocking edges, which keep the tiles in place with little effort on your part. Not only that, but once installed, deck tiles are durable, beautiful and easy to maintain. As you start planning your new deck space, learn how to install the tiles properly and where you can use them. Here’s a guide on how to lay wood or composite deck tiles.

Deck tile installation tips

Deck tiles are easy to install in locations that already have a substructure in place, such as an existing deck or a flat concrete patio. Most often, this decking material consists of wood or composite slats fixed to a lattice plastic base that interlocks with other pieces. That means no nails for you (unless you want to attach a trim that doesn’t interlock). Most tiles come in a uniform 1-square-foot shape. Knowing their size is important when planning how many tiles you need to complete your project.

“A good rule of thumb is to order 10% more tiles than your measurements say you need.”

Step 1: Ordering tiles

Before you order your tiles, get an estimate of how many you’ll need. Measure your surface, writing down the number of square feet the area has in total. Because most deck tiles are 1 square foot, you’ll know quickly about how many you need. Of course, ordering a few extra is always a good idea, as you may need to cut tiles to fit around oddly shaped areas. Additionally, having a surplus on hand allows you to replace tiles if they become damaged. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to order 10 percent more tiles than your measurements say you need.

Additionally, consider whether you want a border for your deck. If so, include it in your coverage calculations.

Step 2: Check calculations

Once your deck tile has arrived, lay down a row to ensure your measurements are correct. Place one tile on the space you’re covering, then interlock the next until you’ve spanned the width of your surface. If you notice you have a gap around the edges, be prepared to cut some of your tiles if you want complete coverage.

Step 3: Install deck tiles

With all your measurements confirmed, you can start installing your deck. Pick a corner in which to lay your first tile. You may have to shift the tiles around to find which edges insert into others – each tile has rings and pins that you put together to interlock the tiles. You’ll find these pieces on the edges of each tile, coming out of the plastic base.

Because you need only lay the tiles together and ensure they lock, installation takes mere minutes. You can move furniture from the unfinished area to the newly laid spot without worrying amount messing up your work.

Step 4: Custom cut

If you run into an area that has an odd shape, it’s time to cut tiles to fit around it. Fill in your tiles as close as possible, then cut cardboard into 1-square-foot pieces to act as template for your tiles. Draw on your cardboard where you’ll have to cut the tiles to fit into the space. You can even cut the cardboard square and lay it in place to make sure the template is the right shape. Next, mark your actual tiles.

Before you cut according to the lines you copied onto your tiles, you need to make sure there aren’t any screws on your cut line. If there are, you may need to move some screws to a different fastening point. See how many screws attach each slat to the base, and ensure the same amount is in place after you cut.

Use a jigsaw and all the necessary safety equipment to cut along your marks. Make sure you leave the tile’s correct edges intact so you can interlock your cut pieces to the ones already in place. Use a palm sander or a Dremel tool to sand along the edge of your cut to create a smooth, beveled finish. Put the cut tiles in place and you’re done.

deck tilesDoes your deck, patio, or balcony need new surfacing? Deck tiles can provide it.

On what surfaces can you install deck tiles?

Now that you know how to install your deck tiles, you may wonder where they can go. Here’s a look at the various surfaces deck tiles can help you refinish:

As the name implies, deck tiles are ideal surfaces for your deck. They can be installed over an existing deck, giving the space an updated look that will age gracefully.

Ground-level outdoor surfaces, such as patios, also benefit from deck tiles. The range of wood, composite and stone deck tiles means your patio can have whatever aesthetic you desire.

Make your balcony barefoot friendly and beautiful with the addition of deck tiles. They fit well in small spaces, which is perfect for balconies.

Pool decks 
Many deck tile types resist moisture and are nonslip, which is perfect for pool decks. For instance, rubber deck tiles will ensure your family is safe while they enjoy your pool.

Flat roofs
Rooftop decks provide great views, fresh air and additional living and entertaining space. Give this surface a lasting and lovely design with deck tiles.

Deck tiles use nonpermanent installation, so everyone from homeowners to renters can use them. With easy installation and tons of style, you’ll have a great new exterior surface in no time.

Are you looking for a DIY-friendly decking material?

Click here to browse our online selection of convenient interlocking deck tiles. Update your patio in a snap.

(20) Comments

  1. What underlayment can I use to protect a flat membrane roof. I’m concerned a composite deck tile could damage the membrane over time.

  2. Hello,
    I realize it’s been called out but just to make sure- I’m interrelated in laying these tiles in a large section of my yard. There is no solid foundation as concrete. I’m trying to get around laying concrete. So if I prepped/compacted the dirt layed sand and then the tiles I assume that wouldn’t work?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Janet,

      Unfortunately you wouldn’t be able to install deck tiles over compacted dirt or sand. It needs a completely solid surface beneath with proper drainage. If it rained and the dirt got soft the tiles will start coming apart. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  3. Can I install composite deck tiles on a balcony with a plywood surface? Would there be a problem of dampness or drainage? (We live in the northern region with a cold winter).

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Pat,

      Plywood is fine IF there is proper drainage beneath. If there will be pooling water under the tiles during the colder months the tiles can get damaged.

  4. can these deck tiles be supported by paver supports in order to raise them off the ground in order to make a raised deck?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for getting in touch! Unfortunately deck tiles will need a completely solid base beneath. They are not strong enough to withstand weight on paver supports. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Kimberely,

      Deck tiles wouldn’t be the best option for under a hot tub. It would be too heavy for the base of the deck tiles and they would crack. I would suggest pavers or if you are able to reinforce the joists you can use a regular composite decking material. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  5. Good morning- 2 things
    1- what would you suggest is the best steps to follow if laying these ground level directly over grass

    2- could and would this work on top of skids/pallets?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Angela,

      Grass would not be the best surface to install this over. The tiles are interlocking with a click mechanism and the crass could be too soft for the tiles to stay together. You may need to put something weighted on top of the grass for a long time to flatten it all out before putting the deck tiles down. Even so, I still can’t guarantee it will work over grass.

      If you want to install this on top of skids or pallets it should work, but if there are no external walls around the perimeter they can move or slip off. You will also want to ensure the pallets are secured down.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  6. Hi. Wondering about using thee deck tiles in winter, cold and snow. Will they be slippery? Or stand up to winter condition?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Danita,

      These should hold up fine in Winter. If you get a wood deck tile you will need to seal it. There is still the possibility of them becoming slippery with snow and ice but it won’t be as slippery as a tile or polished stone. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Richard,

      Deck tiles are not meant to be adhered down as the weight of the total floor can usually hold them down. If you live in a very windy area and it is an open patio you can use a small dot of construction adhesive on the corners to keep it down. You just have to ensure water flow is not restricted. Another thing to note is that deck tiles are a temporary deck system, they’re not meant to be permanent so wind will be able to move them. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  7. Dear Sir/Madam,

    I have a Kontiki Composite Interlocking tiles installed by the builder in the roof deck. It looks like the installers did not clean the under area. There are cracking sounds while you walk above the tiles and visible debris and dirt between the each joints. I would appreciate your recommendations how to clean the base ground under the tiles.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hello Fengyman,

      Thank you for getting in touch! To clean under the tiles you just need to pull them up and thoroughly clean the surface beneath. Then you can install them over top again. I would highly suggest checking the membrane beneath the tiles before reinstalling them to ensure it is not the membrane that is cracking and that it is just the debris. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

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