If you caught the August issue of Good Homes, you might have spotted a Q and A with two of our experts. Louisa, our exclusive designer, and Paul, our Tile Guru, were on hand to answer tiling and styling queries. If you missed it, here it is…
1: Are tiles a better choice than traditional timber planking for my exterior spaces?
Louisa says: ‘Wood-effect tiles make a great substitute, as their textured, anti-slip finish won’t decay and become hazardous in the wet. They will also allow you to have a more hygienic outdoor area, as they are easy to clean and maintain – good news if you have children or pets. Now more life-like than ever before, wood-effect tiles are available in a multitude of styles helping you create a garden with all-year-round interest. Opt for natural tones such as earthy browns, accents of golden honey or even a muted olive hue to complement the surroundings.’
2. Is there an easy way to make my small garden look bigger? It’s accessed via my kitchen-diner.
Louisa says: ‘Match the colour of your indoor and outdoor flooring to create a streamlined effect; using the same tiles both inside and out helps to blur boundaries, making spaces appear larger. Many of Walls and Floors’ porcelain ranges have a textured, anti-slip option designed especially for use outside. Open-plan living is a great way to maximise a floor area, but don’t forget patios and terraces should either gently slope away from your house or have drainage available to prevent water collecting by walls.’
3. What are the best tiles to use to give a courtyard character?
Louisa says: ‘These days many of us prefer to have a beautiful outdoor space that’s as low maintenance as possible. Laying a patterned terrace is not only an excellent way of injecting some vibrancy into your space; it is also perfect for zoning a multifunctional area. Animated jewel tones can be used to brighten up a scheme so you don’t need to add multiple pot plants or hanging baskets; the best part is, tiles don’t die back after summer. Try enhancing your layout further with sophisticated styling, including smart and comfy rattan furniture for relaxing on.’
4. How do I know if a tile is suitable for outdoors?
Paul says: ‘It has to be frost resistant. Glazed designs are not advised, but most full-bodied porcelains, natural stone and quarry/Victorian tiles will be able to resist the diverse UK weather. Stones like slate and limestone can also be sealed to prevent water damage.’
5. Can I clad an outside wall with tiles or should I stick to wood?
Paul says: ‘If your render is old and crumbly or your cement base is cracking or worn, fix them first. Remove any loose chippings and prepare with a new render or screed. If you’re tiling higher than three metres, the tiles should be fixed mechanically. This means a hook is attached to the wall, and the tile is hung with the addition of adhesive.’
6. Do I need to consider any other preparation and conditions?
Paul says: ‘A base needs to be dust free. Giving it a thorough clean will help ensure tiles stay in place. Porous surfaces should be primed to aid bonding. For successful tiling the weather needs to be dry with a temperature above 5°C.’