This article was originally published on Emser.com
The pandemic had homeowners analyzing every aspect of their environment – and as “staycations” became the norm, a new focus was placed on improving patio and garden spaces. “We’ve seen requests for outdoor products increase,” says Suzanne Zurfluh, Emser Tile’s Director of Design and Trend. “We’re introducing new products to meet demand – our new pool tiles, Immerse™ and Waterlace™ are two excellent examples,” she notes. Whether it’s used in home or public spaces, the versatility and elegance of tile solutions can take exterior looks to the next level – and here are three things to keep in mind when you’re using these materials.
Make absolutely sure you’ve picked the right tile.
Simply put: Select tile specifically designed for outdoor applications. Outdoor tile is designed to withstand the elements. In addition to holding up in the heat, outdoor tile is coated to prevent water absorption – that’s critical in colder climates, where freezing and thawing can cause quite a bit of damage. Outdoor tile’s also resistant to fading in the sun and built to provide a solid footing when moisture does hit the surface. Its resistance to impact damage is another aspect: “You’ve got gardeners, landscapers and so on working in close proximity to your tile, so durability is key,” says Zurfluh.
Create the perfect outdoor “bonus room.”
Treating residential outdoor spaces as “bonus rooms” had been trending prior to the lockdowns, but COVID accelerated that development, and tile is a perfect choice for these spaces. “There are a great many more color offerings than say other types of products, especially when you're creating outdoor entertainment and living spaces – fireplaces, pools, cooking spaces, even outdoor showers,” says Zurfluh. “Since many customers are looking to create their own outdoor oasis with a minimalist aesthetic, they are selecting warm, inviting neutrals and earthy hues for floors and wall tiles. Tile products that have natural, tactile qualities that resemble stacked stone, natural wood, concrete and brick are definitely trending.”
Go for continuity.
“I’ve seen many examples of homeowners coordinating their indoor kitchen with their outdoor living space,” says Zurfluh. That’s not only true of colors and patterns with tile, but the actual materials themselves. “Tile truly allows for that indoor/outdoor seamless transition,” she says. It’s an effect that’s nearly impossible with wood, carpet, and many other wall and floor coverings. “Tile really is one of the few flooring categories that allows for that kind of aesthetic ‘match’ – many porcelain tiles are rated for both indoor and outdoor use, so while you shouldn’t use indoor tile outside, the outdoor rated products work perfectly for interior applications.”
Another benefit of tile? Maintenance is easy. “The great thing about these products is that mild soap and water is all that is needed to clean tile surfaces” says Zurfluh.