Outdoor tiles for decks and patios

Outdoor tiles for decks and patios

It is quite common to find most decks and patios to be using engineered wood or eco-wood for flooring. We often get asked if there are comparable products in porcelain and if there are any advantages and disadvantages in using them.

Just to proof that we are not biased, we actually sell both engineered wood and porcelain tiles at NEXON. So, we know that there are benefits and disadvantages of each product. We will try to list them out below so you can be an educated customer and choose for yourself which product you prefer to use.

Engineered wood -
These products are made primarily from extrusion of a mixture of plastic and wood powder. The industry may also call this product eco-wood and market this as an environmentally friendly product. It is considered environmentally friendly because the product uses wood dust and does not require chopping down a lot of trees. Also the lack of adhesives make this product a low VOC wood panel substitution. Due to its lightweight composition, it is also considered a low carbon footprint product.

Engineered wood usually comes in a very long length with a pre-set width. They can be easily installed to any base frame by using screws and proprietary spacers. The product is not difficult to cut at site, and is usually trimmed to the correct length by the installers. The installation usually involves raised floor where water would be drained below it. Thus, proper drainage should be done prior to installation of engineered wood

-Light weight
-somewhat easy to install / replace
-long length panels provide aesthetic benefits
-homogeneous body
-waterproof and anti-mildew 
-not a major food source for bugs and insects

-May warp under high temperatures (suggest choosing solid options rather than ones with hollow centres - cost related)
-have shrinkage issues due to thermal expansion
-Depending on surface type, might be a bit slippery when wet
-may loose color under long exposures in the sun (not UV resistant especially for dark colors)
-not chemical resistant

Porcelain wood tiles (as per pictures)- 

Porcelain wood tiles perform no differently than the square or rectangular porcelain tiles that you would find in homes, shopping malls, or other conventional areas. Porcelain tiles have a very hard surface and are one of the most durable materials available. They are not considered environmentally friendly since they undergo firing in a keen under extreme high-temperatures which means that they utilize a lot of energy for production. However, they last much longer than other flooring materials since they are less prone to wear and tear.

Although certain factories are now able to manufacture up to 1.8m long Porcelain tiles, they are usually shorter than most engineered wood panels. Tiles usually range from 600mm to 1200mm length. Installing tiles will require the substrate to be properly prepared and flat. Use an outdoor appropriate tile adhesive and grout as they will be undergoing constant temperature and weather changes. In comparison to engineered wood, you need to direct water from the tile surface to the nearest drain because the tiles will not absorb water and is impermeable.

-Heavy duty and doesn't wear and tear as other flooring materials; long lasting product
-Porcelain tiles do not warp under high temperatures
-Generally does not lose color under strong sunlight (certain tiles are made specifically for indoors and can loose color when under UV exposure)
-water-impermeable make them difficult to stain and easy to clean
-certain models can be made with anti-slip surface which is suitable for pool side and wet areas
-non-flammable and chemical resistant

Disadvantage - 
-less environmentally friendly than engineered wood
-heavier and more difficult to install properly
-Size cannot achieve extreme long lengths; generally restricted to 1.8m and under

Both engineered wood and porcelain wood deck tiles have their own advantages. Price-wise, the two product types are similar depending on the type and brand of product. Let us know if you have any other questions about these products so that we can help you choose the appropriate product for you upcoming project.