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slate tiles to cover cement patio

I have two questions! First, I have a cement patio that the last owner of my house mixed and poured himself and attached to the back of my house. It has a huge stain from where the owner's hottub was placed but rather than power wash the cement I would like to cover it with slate tiles. I have looked on but I can't tell which tiles are made for outdoor use. I read online that there are such things as "interlocking patio tiles" that can be used without adhesive but these seem to be pretty expensive. Where can I find details on which slate tiles to use and how to apply them to the cement patio?


Second, when the owner poured the patio cement he did not seal all of the edges so on the corner there are rocks falling out from underneath of the patio. How can I fortify the edge so it won't crack and what can I use to create a better looking edge to go around the patio? The tallest point from the ground to the patio is almost a foot. Thanks!!!!

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Posted 2011-03-22T14:56:15+0000  by nomoremoney nomoremoney

I live in Des Moines IA. I have a screen in porch under a cedar deck. I've got a drop ceiling so it's dry below the deck. The floor of the porch is a cement slab too. I've been putting out indoor/outdoor carpet new every two years. I'm looking for something more permenant. The floor has one expansion joint running through it and the previous owner repaired and sealed one crack. Other than that, it's a fairly level floor. I'm looking for suggestions please.

Posted 2013-06-22T17:19:17+0000  by jscott951

I live in Indianapolis and I have slate tiles on my covered porch and we have below freezing temps and I have not had any problems for 6 yrs. Hope this helps

Posted 2013-06-13T12:09:39+0000  by cpgindy


I have an upstairs concrete deck off my game room and last year I had a company apply epoxy process to the floor and fill in the cracks.  Now the cracks are back and I am considering tiling the deck - not sure if I should do the epoxy again as it did not work the first time.  I have the epoxy in my garage and it works great.   I have filled all the hairline cracks but not sure what type of tile to use.  I see various comments about absorption but not sure what all that means.  I live in Jacksonville, FL so the weather is not extreme but we do get a lot of rain especially from the run off from the upstairs roof.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Posted 2013-04-25T14:13:36+0000  by PientkaFL

Sandstone tiles are the most popular tiles. You should use these tiles for outdoor area. We know outdoor tiling attracts people first who visits our house.



slate tile

Posted 2012-11-05T06:46:32+0000  by Ashishkumar

Hello bstevenb.  Let me be the first to welcome you to the Community!



Good points on slope/drainage and mid-western freeze and thaw cycles.


I also agree with you about keeping pressure treated lumber away from edible plant gardens.

In my yard, I use regular, (and very cheap) 2x kiln dried lumber for garden borders.  In exchange for very low $$$ outlays, I realize that every few years I need to replace these boards as they rot on the bottom.  For me that's a fair trade...


Anyway, thanks for joining the forum.  Please keep us updated on your projects and feel free to join in helping others.

If there is anything else you need, we are here to help.







Posted 2012-06-01T14:37:30+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

Any pressure treated lumber leaches toxic chemicals into the soil. Cedar or black locust rather than pressure treated wood should be used in any bed used to grow herbs, vegetables or fruit trees.

Posted 2012-05-30T10:19:17+0000  by bstevenb

 Nebraska winters are a tough challenge but you and your patio have faced that before. Any grout and tile labeled for exterior use are "freeze proof". The problems come from two other forces: First is the thermal expansion. The concrete and tile will expand and contract at slightly different rates. That shear force is magnified on a large patio. Using those orange plastic mats between your old slab and new tile helps. They are designed to flex first to keep everything else from separating.

 Frequent freeze thaw cycles are the little weather demons we Midwesterners often face. Water expands as it freezes. Microscopically every tiny pore in your slate or grout is a tiny pond being wedged larger each time it freezes. Remember all the days that snow melts to a slush during the day and refreezes at night? That slush and ice combo is so powerful that it creates all those potholes in our roads. It can do the same on your patio. To reduce that chance meticulously build with a sloping surface to drain rather than allow any bit of water to pool. Seal (and reseal) your slate and grout so in the winter moisture doesn't get a chance to saturate those surfaces.

Posted 2012-05-30T10:13:33+0000  by bstevenb


Hello Chad and thank you for your question.


Chad there is really no frost proof mortar, there are mortars that are highly resistant to frost thaw cycles but there is no 100% frost proof mortar, at least not that I know of.


Trick is to properly slope the surface, in your case patio, so that during freeze/thaw cycles there is no standing water on the surface of the tile. So proper drainage it’s the trick to lasting exterior tile installation.


For setting  I would recommend using Uncoupling Mat Mortar in conjunction with Schluter Ditra Mat mentioned in the one of the above posts.
uncoupling mat mortar.JPG


Schluter-DITRA's uncoupling feature protects tile installations from cracking in both interior and exterior applications.  The unique geometric configuration of the membrane provides a forgiving shear interface that allows both the tile layer and the substrate to move independently, thus preventing differential movement stresses that would otherwise result from temperature gradients within the assembly.



When used in exterior applications Uncoupling Mat Mortar needs to be mixed with Thin-Set Mortar Admix ANSI A118.4

 mortar admix.JPG


 As far as the tile goes, tough body porcelain would probably be my first choice in a harsh climate like yours;

tough body.JPG


Hope this helps.




Posted 2012-05-15T18:36:37+0000  by George_HD_CHI

I would also like to install slate over my existing concrete slab patio; however, I live in Nebraska and it gets plenty cold here.  Can you get frost proof mortar/grout that would tolerate freeze/thaw?  Can you get slate to do the same?  If not, what sort of tile or other product can be used outdoors in my type of climate?   Thanks  Chad

Posted 2012-01-30T23:44:33+0000  by cschlueter

Greetings Nomoremoney,

 I too work on a very tight home improvement budget, so here is a quick patio solution, suggestion. Have you considered a concrete paint? It would be a fast, easy and very economical. The paint comes in so many colors or the classic grey, just to freshen up the slab till you get your pennies together for the major facelift.



BEHR Premium Plus 1-Gallon Gloss Enamel Latex Porch and Floor Paint



You should address the crumbling edge as soon as possible. Once again the least expensive way I can think of is to edge the patio with pressure treated landscape timbers. Then of course, being a garden girl, I suggest cutting in a garden bed  around the perimeter the patio, then you won’t see the edge the concrete or the timbers.

I can make some fantastic plant suggestions if you would like.  A rain barrel can collect the water that runs onto your patio from the drain pipes; you can use the collected water to irrigate your new herb beds, which surround your freshly painted concrete living space. I wish that I could figure out how you can recycle your washing machine water to use too...




Well good luck with your patio refresh project! You are in good hands with all information that “steel toes” George gave you! I just wanted to throw out a thrifty, green suggestion. We would love to see some pictures of your project as you go!


Posted 2011-10-27T18:26:35+0000  by Maureen_HD_BOS
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