Adding Tile to Concrete Patios

What You'll Need
Choice of tiles
Tile and grout sealant
Tape measure
Scrubbing brush

Without any decoration, concrete patios can look rather plain. However, with the addition of some tiles, you can create a unique design for your patio while retaining its functionality.  

Step 1 – Prepare

The surface of concrete patios are easily prepared by cleaning them thoroughly with a stiff bristled scrubbing brush and some warm soapy water. Scrub the entire patio before rinsing it with clean water and leaving it to dry.

Step 2 – Measure

To ensure that you do not buy too many or too few tiles, measure the entire area of the patio that you are looking to cover with tiles. This should be your first step no matter what size of tile you intend to use. Providing staff at the tile shop with the length, width and depth of the area will allow them to confirm the quantity of tiles required to complete the task. Choosing a larger size of tile will reduce the amount of cutting that you will need to undertake.

Step 3 – Design

Although you will probably have some idea of the designs that will suit concrete patios, you should still mark out your design on the concrete once you have the tiles you want. Even if you plan to lay tiles in traditional straight lines, it is useful to lay one into position before tracing around it with a piece of chalk or a marker. Ensure that you include a ¼ inch area around each tile to take into account the grout that will be required. If you are planning a specific design, make a note on the back of individual tiles as a reminder of the positions in which they will be placed.      

Step 4 – Apply Mortar

Ready-made mortar is perfect for use with concrete patios and should be applied directly to the concrete with a trowel. Initially, use only enough mortar to apply two tiles, as laying down too much will only mean that it will dry before you have a chance to put the tiles in place.

Step 5 – Add Tiles

Once a small amount of mortar is in place, you can begin to add the tiles. Take your time in attaching them so that you establish the design that you require. Always start in one corner, ideally working back to the entrance of your home so that tiles placed on wet mortar won't be displaced by walking across them later on.

Be careful not to knock any tiles out of place when adding further tiles, as mortar can slide readily on concrete patios. Allow the mortar to dry before grouting.  

Step 6 – Grout

Once the tiles are in place, you can grout between them. Keep a wet sponge in hand to wipe away any excess before it has a chance to dry and continually rinse it to prevent wiped mortar from being spread on clean tile. Smooth the grout as you go to ensure a neat result. Allow the grout to dry thoroughly before sealing.

Step 7 – Seal

Liberally brush on a tile and grout sealer in accordance with the instructions, ensuring that you apply as many coats as required to protect your work. Allow this to dry for at least 24 hours before using your tiled concrete patio.