TiProBoard

Product Review: Should you tile a deck? Why not?
By: Mark Clement

Tile, meet outdoor decking.

As the outdoor living category grows, the products coming to market continue to bring indoor elements out, blurring the line between inside and out. Take for example tiling your deck.

If you're saying "huh?" it wouldn't surprise me. Tiling a deck isn't something I would have thought of but, sure enough, there's a call for it, and it looks great.

One of the keys to a tile job that'll last — inside or out — is the substrate. When it comes to tiling an existing or new deck, scope out TiProBoard from North American Tile Tools Company. It's a composite, screw-down panel (or rib) that supports the field of tile in an outdoor environment. Components like mortar and thinset are other key factors for a tile job that'll last, and they're also available from American Tile.

You start by screwing TiProBoard down to the deck joists, then packing the ribs' low spots flush with mortar. Before the mortar dries, trim out the band joist and stairs as necessary with TiProBoard trim pieces. Next, if you want the underside of the deck to be dry — a huge plus — wait for the mortar to dry then add a waterproof membrane. Now, it's time to install the tile, which you install like any other tile job — using the proper thinset and tile for the environment.

I like that at six to eight pounds of dead load, this system isn't wildly heavy, so I probably don't have to alter my deck framing in the slightest. And I can use this system to rejuvenate existing decks, whether it's to give them a new look or to add an attractive and seamless under-deck drainage system. That's a lot of mileage out of one system if you ask me.

Here's a partial pre-tile checklist:

  • Make sure you have the right thinset and mortar.
  • TiProBoard recommends a slope of 1/4 inch per foot to drain water.
  • Use fully vitrified or porcelain tile with a coefficient of friction rating of .6 or above.

Now get ready for line-blurring work that brings the inside out or the outside in. I can't tell which.

Mark Clement is a remodeler and author of The Carpenter's Notebook and The Kid's Carpenter's Workbook, Fun Family Projects! Check out his books and current projects at his new website.

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