Difference between Indoor and Outdoor Tiles

Difference between Indoor and Outdoor Tiles

It is entirely important to choose the right variety of tile as per the demand of the tiling project. The location of the area, whether indoors or outdoors will have an imperative influence in selecting the suitable tile type and material. A wrong tile category can make the flooring vulnerable to cracks and other damages. So before you start your renovation project or new construction, here is a quick guide to help you make understand the key differences between the indoor and outdoor tiles.


The level of durability required for outdoor tiles is a lot higher than that needed for the indoor tiles. Exterior tiles have to bear a lot of weather wear and tear. From facing the harsh sunlight to rain saturating them with frigid temperatures; outdoor tiles have to go through a lot of expansion and contraction as per the weather change. Also not to forget the heavy foot traffic or the automobile traffic that outdoor tiles have to withstand. For these reasons, outdoor tiles need to be more sturdy and durable than indoor tiles. The exterior tiles should also be thicker than the indoor ones, as then they will be less likely to break.


Tile material plays a great role in deciding the tile response to various surrounding physical impacts. Outdoor tiles should be highly non-porous and strong. Porcelain tiles and vitrified tiles are the most preferred options for such characteristics. Ceramic tiles and natural stone tiles should be used for indoor areas and can be avoided for outdoor areas.


Outdoor tiles should have textured surfaces to help them in resisting slips and falls. It is important that the exterior tiles should be rugged to avoid slip accidents especially in rainy season.  With having friction underfoot in areas like patios, swimming pool and parking; it gets safer for the user to use these areas without any mishaps. For indoor tiles, aesthetics and appearance can decide the use of textured tiles.


Outdoor tiles should be unglazed and frost-resistant. Unglazed tiles avoid slippage accidents, support everyday wear and tear and withstand the continuous freeze and thaw cycle during winters. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are both available in glaze and unglazed option. In indoor areas, both options are workable depending on the beautification.

Grout and Expansion joints

One needs to be particular while selecting the grout for tiling the exterior surfaces. Cement grout or pre-mixed grout are great options for outdoor areas; while for indoors many varieties of grouts are available. Sealant that is rated exclusively for exterior use is a preferred choice to seal the outdoor area grout. Because of the continuous changes in temperature and humidity, expansion joints are essential for outdoor tiling. A flexible sealant  accommodates the fluctuations due to changing weather.