For open areas, a standard deck frame is not a very viable option as it is very susceptible to the forces of nature. The combination of wood, water, grout, and tile would make it very susceptible to damage and such installations wouldn’t last in the long run meaning expensive maintenance and replacements.
How to Install Wood or Composite Deck Tiles
Deck tiles tend to trap moisture underneath the surface exposing the wood to more moisture than it should as wood tends to suck moisture in and would also make it susceptible to moldy growths. Wood also expands and warps when it comes in contact with large amounts of water as it soaks it up. This would also soften the wood and ruin the look of your deck.
Moreover, expanding and warping wooden decks would also damage the substructure as this means your deck would become weaker over time as it comes in contact with more and more water. With tiles trapping the water underneath with no proper drainage system it would expose the Wooden deck to more water than it should.
Wood and moisture are also an open invitation to damp-wood and subterranean termites as moisture and humid temperatures attract these invaders and do irreparable damage to tiles and the structure which ask for fumigation and a complete replacement of the decks. When choosing a deck tile make sure the material allows for the decks to drain properly if you are located in a rainy climate.
Deck tile installation tips
For composite decking, however, there are brands available that are made from water-resistant materials making it a better option to consider but they do not offer the same natural finish as wood does, meaning many homeowners would choose a wooden deck over a composite deck with it also being more expensive than a wooden deck.
However, it is still not recommended as composite decks may not allow any water to drain one way or the other giving a humid warm habitat underneath the boards for mosquitos and other pests to breed. Moreover, grout is still required in composite decking to reinforce it, meaning composite decks are very much still susceptible to water damage. Moreover, these water-resistant composite decks meant for use with outdoor tiles are far more expensive.
As such laying tiles over a composite or a wooden deck on an outdoor patio would mean eventual degradation due to water damage and moisture which would cause much higher maintenance costs as much bigger parts of the deck structure itself from the joists to the substructure would need to be repaired and replaced more frequently.
Deck Tiles Installation
Although, this look can be achieved if it is a partially enclosed installation with some shelter from rain/snow. For most cases, a system designed for decks should be considered. Even then for partially enclosed decks a system that considers the forces of nature such as water and moisture should be considered as the main reason behind not using a regular deck system with tiling is the fact that it could trap water underneath it. This leads us to consider several options that are currently offered in the market.
Currently, the market offers several solutions for a finished tile look on a wood-framed deck. With special tiles that can be installed without the need for a grid system or installation that allows for debris to move and water to drain so that it would not damage the deck system as proper drainage would mean less exposure to these harmful forces of nature and this not only protects the composite or wooden deck but also protects the substructure underneath it by extension.
However, it is recommended to at least coat the wood beforehand with water-resistant material as even little exposure would still degrade the wooden decks in the long run causing them to warp and damage the entire look and the structure.
Related article: How to install a stone deck?
With more and more new products becoming available in the market every day the tile deck look can easily be achieved. While evaluating these, keep in mind if the product is suitable for the environment considering where the deck is to be located as these variables need to be kept in mind so that a system that suits your needs and lasts long can be created. If you are situated in a place with higher humidity and have more rainfalls with an open deck setting it would not be recommended to install tiles over a wooden or a composite deck.
For outdoor application stone tiles should be considered as these are much more water-resistant and much less susceptible to damage. Moreover, these do not degrade and have a very distinct and very beautiful finish to them causing them to look great while being functional. Stone decks are excellent for tile applications as the stone is much sturdier and aesthetically pleasing for outdoor decks.