Tiling, Cleaning and Grouting an Outdoor Area

Photo Credit: Young House Love

There’s nothing worse than a stained cement floor, especially if it’s sitting at the entrance of your home. It just doesn’t give you that welcome feeling your front door is supposed to have. But how to fix it? You might want to consider tiling, cleaning and grouting the entire outdoor area. It’s a big job, but not as difficult as most people may think. Taking on a DIY home project like this one can save you a lot of money in the long run - and the end result is priceless.

If you decide to take on this do-it-yourself outdoor tiling project, you’ll first want to make sure you’ve prepared the floor. To clean your cement floor, you’ll want to sweep the entire patio off completely, then use the garden hose to spray down those difficult patches. If you don’t already have one, a good investment is a power nozzle that will turn your hose into a power washer – it will save you a great deal of time and energy in the long run. Allow your cement to dry completely, then use scrub brush to wear away any stubborn stains. If you’ve used a barbecue on the cement in the past, a degreaser can come in handy for removing any oil stains.

A great recipe for an all-natural outdoor concrete cleaner is to use a half and half vinegar and water solution for washing down the concrete with a mop. For tougher stains, add a few tablespoons of baking soda to that scrub brush. And to get rid of mold and mildew, you can make a mixture of vinegar, water, and bleach. If you must use a chemical cleaner to prepare your cement floor for the tiling, the one that comes most recommended is TSP, trisodium phosphate. You’ll need to use your brush to scrub it in and then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Allow your floor to dry completely before proceeding with the tiling and grouting. If your concrete is sealed concrete, then you will need to grind down the surface so your tile mortar will bond to it. A scarifying machine can greatly facilitate this step. Another invaluable tiling tip is to ensure you select a tile that is meant for outdoor use.

When tiling on any surface, whether it’s concrete or otherwise, you’ll want to make sure you’re working on a level surface. This might mean you’ll need to level out your concrete before proceeding with the tiling process. This is one step you won’t want to ignore, because tiling is next to impossible on an uneven surface. It will also crack and wear far more quickly if it’s not lying flat, and can cause possible injury.

These handy outdoor tiling tips come from John and Sherry over at the Young House Love website. If you’re interested in DIY home projects, this is a great spot to stop for do-it-yourself home reno advice from two pros. John and Sherry have been blogging about fixer-upper projects since 2007. They’ve renovated three homes so far, and counting.*

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