The Top 8 Best Tile for Outdoor Mosaics

More and more people are opening their homes to include outdoor living spaces. These living areas can include decks, patios, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, pool areas, and more.

Savvy homeowners look for the best tile for outdoor mosaics that are not only beautiful, but also can withstand the elements to create a one-of-a-kind outdoor wonderland. What they choose can vary, depending on the look they want and where they happen to live. To get a good understanding of what's available for your next outdoor project, take a look at the following choices.

#1 Pebbled Mosaic Tiles

Most of the mosaic tiles on this list are excellent indoor and outdoor choices. However, they can work particularly well in an outdoor environment because they are either water-resistant or rough enough to withstand rain, sun exposure, or heavy foot traffic. Pebbled tiles, have a very pleasing natural look, and are somewhat slip-resistant due to the textural relief, making them perfect for patios or this bathroom.

#2 Rustic Cobblestone Mosaics

Cobblestones are a bit like giant pebbles. They can be left rough or hammered down a bit. Cobblestone mosaics can work for patios, walkways, and even driveways, as they are used in some Old World European cities. They come in square and rectangular forms, and are often used where brick is used too, like in walls.

The most popular color is gray, but you can also get them in rosy pinks and reds. They can also be used as planting beds, as in this design.

#3 Veined Marble Tiles

You might think that marble isn't appropriate for the outdoors, but you would be wrong. Marble is an excellent choice and can come in slip-resistant, rough, marble tiles. The deep veining in marble tiles make for interesting designs.

Can't you imagine this Rain Forest Green marble tile for a patio floor? Or create a wood look-a-like plank floor for your outdoor kitchen using the Savoy Dark marble tile.

#4 Earthy Slate

While not as hard a stone as marble, slate can work well outdoors as well. It comes in many earthy tones, which tend to blend well with the natural outdoor environment. You can expect colors like green, brown, orange, and tan, but gray is probably the most popular.

A slate hearth has always been a classic addition to an indoor fireplace and can work just as well for outdoor fire pits and kitchens. This gray bathroom done in slate tiles shows you the possibilities both indoors and out.

#5 Rugged Jerusalem Stone

The famous Western Wall in Jerusalem is composed of a type of Jerusalem Stone. It is a type of dolomitic limestone used in construction all over Jerusalem. This beautiful stone can also be used in contemporary designs, especially in its white, crystalline, form, however, it also comes in golden hues. These are particular striking when the sun sets on them. Here is one such beautiful outdoor design.

#6 Classic Limestone

Regular limestone can be tumbled into non-slip surface that can stand up to some foot traffic as long as it is not heavy. They would also be a lot less slippery than polished limestone. Since limestone has a porous texture that gives it a "pitting" appearance, it does need to be sealed.

It also is best for temperate areas as prolonged cold weather can cause it to crack. That's okay because it is mostly used outdoors around pools, where the weather is warmer. This indoor patio would work well outdoors as well, in a temperate climate.

#7 Ledge Stone

This stone is for architectural interest, such as for a front porch or columns. It is perfect for water features and can be used even for pools. The reason for this is that is stacked instead of tiled. It has a very rustic feel and comes in many earthy tones, like slate. This feature wall is exactly the way ledge stone is used in architectural designs both inside and out.

#8 Travertine

Travertine is also susceptible to cracking in cold weather, like limestones. It is also similar to limestone in texture, but even softer, yet many people consider it a type of marble. Unlike limestone, it is quite a bit more brittle. It will also need sealing to maintain it against liquids, like marble. It is hard enough to withstand foot traffic.

Travertine comes in browns and lovely golden colors that make it an appealing choice for today's consumers. Its association with marble also brings it a lot of deep appreciation for use in traditional, contemporary, or neutral designs. Here is one such gold and dark basketweave pattern using travertine tiles that could make a lovely outdoor patio as well.

Your Outdoor Mosaic Tile Choices

What is the best tile for outdoor mosaics? As you can see, it really depends on your climate and the intended use. While aesthetics play a part in what you ultimately choose, there are some limitations based on how cold your climate is and whether the tile can support heavy foot traffic. Hard stones like pebbles, cobblestones, and marble are all rugged enough to do well with heavy traffic. Even travertine is considered a type of marble and can be used on floors. Slate has additional fireproof qualities that make it ideal around fire pits and outdoor kitchens, too.

Once we get to the limestones, like Jerusalem stone and classic limestone, you begin to have some porous texture to the mosaic tiles. Then, you can also expect some cracking if you live in a cold area. These are best suited to temperate areas. Limestones are softer and will need to be sealed in some cases, but provide a beautiful textural quality to projects that you don't get with other stones.

Finally, some stones, like ledge stone, are more for architectural features than floors. That's because they tend to be more brittle and can crack easily. In their natural form, the shapes are often stacked, producing a 3-dimensional sculptural relief for walls and columns. However, as tile mosaics they can be laid like tiles. They are excellent choices for adding something extra to a design.

About the Author

Nelson Londono founded Artsaics in 1998 after learning the ins and outs of designing custom artistic tiles and stone mosaics. The New York-based surfacing company specializes in producing stunning artistic tiles & stone designs with fine natural stone from around the world. Nelson and his team's passion lies in working with their hands, heads and hearts to make each and every space a unique reflection of self expression. You can learn more about Artsaics here.