How to Winterize a Tile Patio
Winter weather can wreak havoc on your home in a hurry. One area that often doesn’t get protected quite the same way as other parts of the house is your patio. After all, those outdoor spaces are designed to take a beating and look great as soon as spring and summer come back around, right?
The fact is that even durable tile designed for outdoor spaces needs a little special treatment before cold winter weather, rain and snow beat down on your home. Use this guide to learn more about how you can winterize a tile patio so it’s in tip-top shape when spring arrives.
Start with the Right Tile
Once installed, there are a few things homeowners can do to properly winterize a tile patio for the cold season. Of course, choosing the right type of tile for your geographical location can help you minimize the effort you put into winter preparation. You’ll also reduce the chances of damage during an especially cold winter season if you start with the ideal tile for your location.
Here are a few tips to help you pick the perfect tile for your patio:
• Avoid porous materials that can be damaged through water absorption. Ceramic tile is a big no-no in outdoor spaces for that reason. You’ll also want to avoid low-grade asphalt and stone products.
• Opt for durable natural stone or concrete pavers in very cold climates. These materials can stand up to freezing temperatures and look no worse for wear when spring arrives.
• Consider porcelain tile for cold and moderate climates. Strong and sturdy, porcelain tile is non-porous, so it won’t be impacted by snow and rain. It also requires little maintenance and comes in a wide range of different looks that homeowners love.
• Pick composite tile materials for extra strength. Composite tile can provide the look of wood with reduced maintenance. Composite tile is also generally easy to install, reducing the overall cost for homeowners on a budget.
• Choose a slip-resistant tile for open spaces that are likely to be wet or icy during the cold season. Slip-resistant tile will help prevent accidents, especially in high-traffic spaces.
Follow Proper Procedures When Installing Outdoor Tile
Installing tile outdoors can be a big job. It also requires some serious know-how to do correctly. That’s why most homeowners will hire a trusted pro to do the job. Still, knowing the basics of how to properly install tile can help you ensure the longevity of your space.
Keep these concepts in mind during your tile patio installation even if you’re not doing the work yourself:
1. Ensure that your substrate is strong and stable. Make sure this is properly evaluated by a professional before you begin your tile installation.
2. Make sure your substrate is properly covered with an isolation membrane. This will help keep cracking at bay and reduce the risk of long-term water damage.
3. Install outdoor tile with expansion joints. These will allow the tile to move slightly without being damaged.
1. Opt for a polymer-modified thin-set mortar in cold climates. These are more likely to resist damage from freeze-thaw cycles in cold and very cold areas, though they can be used in more moderate and warm climates as well.
2. Look for a polymer-modified grout. Polymer-modified grout absorbs less water than other styles of grout. Talk to your installation professional about grout sealant as well.
3. Consider a top coat of sealant to protect your tile. Porcelain tile is already sealed, but natural stone and other materials may benefit from an application of sealant before winter.
Simple Tips to Winterize a Tile Patio
You’ve felt the first chill of the season and you know you’re not going to be spending too much time on your patio until it gets warm again. What can you do to protect your outdoor space?
Here are a few basic guidelines to help you winterize a tile patio:
• Clean your patio of dirt and debris. While this might not seem essential, it’s a smart first step. It will also make spring patio cleaning easier when the seasonal thaw arrives.
• Remove non-essential items that are likely to get damaged. This includes things like hurricane lamps on your coffee table and any accessories you use to beautify your patio. Pots for fruits, vegetables and flowers should also be put away or turned upside down so they don’t hold water or snow during the winter months.
• Put upholstered cushions in a protected place. Moving these to the garage or another storage area can help keep them in top shape for next year.
• Cover furniture that can’t be moved. Look for fitted, water-resistant and waterproof covers that will keep your furniture dry all winter.
The cold winter months can take their toll on your home. If you live in a very harsh climate, you may already be used to winter damage and those early spring repairs around the house. Your tile patio doesn’t have to be one of those spaces that costs you a lot of money to maintain so it’s usable during the pleasant spring and warm summer season.
Start by installing the right type of tile for your geographic location. If in doubt, choose an ultra-durable material like natural stone or protected porcelain. These materials will stand up to just about anything and look practically brand new year after year.
With the right tile chosen for your patio, proper installation can keep winter-related risks from becoming a problem. While you may not install your tile patio yourself, having a working knowledge of proper procedure so you can talk with your contractor is essential. You may even know something they don’t know!
Want to learn more about choosing tile for your outdoor spaces? Maybe you need a little help figuring out how to best winterize a tile patio that you’ve already got in place? Reach out to us today so we can help. We’re experts on exterior tile and we can help with all of your building and renovation projects.