Porcelain is an excellent material choice for outdoor tile areas in both vertical and horizontal applications. Technical standards are often communicated differently from manufacturer to manufacturer and can be a bit confusing, but there’s no need to be intimidated. If you know a few key specifications you can select products that will work well outdoors.
Products that will be used on horizontal surfaces outdoors must have adequate surface texture to mitigate the risk of a slip or fall. Specifiers should assume that these areas will be used rain or shine. This makes selecting finishes for outdoor use much different than interior spaces.
When considering a product made in North America, you’ll want to look for a DCOF value that’s ≥ 0.60 as measured by the BOT3000 AcuTest and in accordance with ANSI A137.1. This is recommended by most US manufacturers, with one example being American Olean.
When considering products made in Europe or by European companies, look for a “grip finish” or an “R value” greater than or equal to R11 as measured by DIN 51130 ramp test. Additionally, wet areas that are expected to have barefoot traffic should use products with an A+B+C rating according to DIN 51097 ramp test.
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Resistance to Frost and Temperature Variation
Ceramic products are porous and can absorb water to varying degrees. In climates that experience freezing temperatures, it’s important to use material that will not absorb enough moisture to crack if the moisture freezes. This is the key distinction between porcelain and ceramic. Porcelain absorbs less than 0.5% of it’s weight in moisture and is resistant to freeze thaw cycles. A ceramic product will absorb moisture and crack if exposed to freezing temperatures.
Tile is generally very resistant to temperature fluctuation. To test whether or not a tile meets the ASTM C1026 standard the product is chilled to -18 degrees C and then heated rapidly to 10-16 degrees C. Most high quality porcelain tile will pass this test without issue.
Glass is impervious to water and very resistant to normal outdoor temperature fluctuations, so it’s completely save for outdoor use in wall applications.
2 CM Porcelain Pavers
Because of the durability and relative low cost of porcelain, many manufacturers produce 2 CM porcelain pavers in a variety of sizes and visuals including stone, concrete, and wood. These products are an excellent alternative to stone pavers because of design flexibility, cost, and the lack of maintenance needed by the end user. They are designed specifically with outdoor spaces in mind and are an excellent option to consider.
Always feel free to reach out to your materials rep with questions regarding the suitability of a particular product for the application you’re considering. They will know or find the answer for you.
What else do you consider when selecting materials for outdoor spaces? Feel free to comment and keep the conversation going!
Director of Commercial Sales