I found a tile that I absolutely love for my kitchen and living area. How do I know if I can use that same tile outside for my outdoor kitchen? What should I consider when shopping for outdoor tile?
Great question! Not all tiles are suitable for outdoor use, but there are many tiles that are acceptable for outdoor use. Typically, you want to use a porcelain tile or natural stone product outside. The key is the water absorption rate. You want to make sure the absorption rate is 0.5% or less. Most tiles will let you know either on the label or the box if they can be used outside.
Another consideration is how much traffic the tile will receive. For this you want to look for the tile’s PEI rating.
The rating system is as follows:
- PEI Class 1 Rating (No foot traffic) – Recommended for wall use in residential and commercial applications only.
- PEI Class 2 Rating (Light traffic) – Recommended for both wall use and bathroom floor applications only.
- PEI Class 3 Rating (Light to moderate traffic) – Recommended for countertops, walls and floors where normal foot traffic is expected.
- PEI Class 4 Rating (Moderate to heavy traffic) – Recommended for all residential applications as well as medium commercial and light institutional.
- PEI Class 5 Rating (Heavy to extra heavy traffic) – Recommended for all residential as well as heavy commercial and institutional applications.
When installing tile outside, you will also want to consider the finish on the tile. The more texture a tile has the more slip resistant it will be.
Lastly, keep maintenance in mind. Tiles with more modeling and color range will do a better job of hiding dirt that can accumulate on outdoor tiles.