How to Tile a Patio Slab How to Tile a Patio Slab

What You'll Need
TSP
Scrub
Grooved Mortar Trowel
Sanded Grout
Thinset Mortar
Concrete Patch
Chalk
Straight Edge
Tile Cutter
Rubber Float
Level
Sealer
Sponge or Cloth

A patio slab can be given accent by laying tiles over it. Tiles come in a variety of materials, texture, and colors. The trick is to look for the most compatible color and texture that will blend with the background. The process is simple even for an average do-it-yourselfer.

Step 1 – Surface Preparations

It is essential that the patio slab is clean, dry and level before proceeding with the tiling process; if not, the newly installed tiles will come off easily. Use a solution of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) to remove the dirt and oil from the surface. Next, scrub the surface and rinse with water. Allow the surface to dry.

Check if the surface is level as well. If there are any uneven surfaces, mix some concrete patch and apply it evenly to correct the surface levelness. Leave the patch to dry. Apply a sealer over the slabs to prevent moisture from settling under the tiles and to allow them to stick easily.

Step 2 – Tiling Preparations

Choose tiles designed for outdoor use, as internal tiles are designed differently. Check if the tiles are also designed to be impervious to moisture. Select tiles are suited for the climate conditions in your area.

Measure the entire area of the patio and use that measurement to get an estimate on the number of tiles to be used. Find a suitable starting point on the patio and mark it with a chalk and a straight edge. This will ensure that the first row of tiles is even and square.

Step 3 – Lay the First Row of Tiles

Mix thinset mortar in a container. At the starting point, spread the mortar enough for two to three tiles using a notched trowel. Lay the first set of tiles over the mortar. Use spacers to ensure that the tiles are laid evenly over the mortar. At the edge of the first row, the last tile needs to be cut to fit the patio slab. Use a tile cutter for this purpose. Cut the tile straight and even before laying it. Proceed with the succeeding rows in the same manner until the entire patio surface is tiled.

Step 4 – Grouting

Allow the thinset mortar to cure overnight or depending on the manufacturer’s recommended length of time before grouting. Use sanded grout or epoxy grout to ensure maximum protection from the effects of the weather. Mix the grouting material according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Use a rubber float to force the grout in between the tiles. Wipe off any excess grout using a damp sponge or cloth. When the grout has dried, check for low spots. Repair them by applying grout again using the rubber float. Clean the excess grout and allow it to cure completely depending on the manufacturer’s recommended curing time. Clean the tiled patio with water and a scrub. 

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