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Ceramic tile for unexpected outdoor spaces
New product offerings from manufacturers such as Rosa Gres allow homeowners to embrace ceramic tile for its durability, functionality and beauty.

If you’re thinking about creating or upgrading an outdoor living space, you’re probably considering what materials to use for your project. You’ll likely weigh concerns of cost and quality, durability and beauty before arriving at a final decision. If an outdoor shower is part of your plan, you’ll probably consider ceramic tile.

But many homeowners are finding new ways to embrace ceramic tile in their outdoor living spaces, choosing the time-proven material for uses that traditionally have called for wood, stone or even concrete.

“Tile can be used in a multitude of outdoor living applications and not just in decor,” reports Patti Fasan, ceramic tile consultant for Tile of Spain, the umbrella brand representing the 150-plus ceramic tile manufacturers of Spain. “Today’s tile serves practical purposes with its superior property advantages - ideal for pools and other outdoor settings.”

Numerous advantages draw homeowners and designers to choose ceramic tile. You may already know that ceramic tile is beautiful and durable, but it also inhibits mold, mildew and fungus - problems that can arise in a damp environment. It withstands pool chemicals and direct sunlight without fading. It’s also slip-resistant, making walking safer in areas where swimmers will be leaving a pool.

New products designed for use around pools also mean homeowners have more design options. Floresta by Tile of Spain branded manufacturer Rosa Gres offers wood texture designed for outdoor spaces such as pool surrounds, terraces and spas. Available in six colors, the line also offers special trim pieces such as grating that can be used over a drainage channel.

Mosaics are always a natural choice for pools and hot tubs. But design for these outdoor elements are no longer limited to the standard blue and white tile. Spanish manufacturers such as Onix are pushing the design envelope using dynamic color, pattern and texture, offering homeowners many new choices for creating their backyard oasis.

Filter Floor, a raised surface solution by Natucer, eliminates the need for a traditional drain. A very thin open joint allows rain water to bypass by the tile surface, preventing stagnant water or mildew problems. Great for pool areas, it’s also useful on terraces and balconies. Additionally, because of its raised surface, it can be installed over an uneven surface.

While ceramic tile’s appeal for pool areas may be obvious, it’s also useful in other outdoor settings such as sunshades. The LifeArq Collection by Natucer produces the Bamboo line of narrow porcelain columns in a variety of colors. When grouped together, the tiles can create a sunshade or other landscaping element. The company’s Ivy line can also be used to create a partially shaded wall or outdoor enclosure.

Ceramic tile has long been a material of choice for indoor living spaces. Now, thanks to recent design innovations, homeowners can embrace tile’s beauty and durability in a variety of outdoor applications as well.