Tile on a screen deck porch? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Groutless In MN
06-29-2001, 12:45 PM

I love reading your forum, it's been very informative, especially when you guys get off on a tangent, it's great!

There was a question asked that is very similar to mine. But I wanted to be quite sure that this is something I should attempt.

I live in MN where as you know it gets realllly cold and realllly hot. So lots of temperture & humidity level changes.

I have a screen porch that is built on a deck. I just ripped out the old indoor/outdoor carpet and would love to put down porcelain tile. I'm concerned about the tile popping off due to the flexing of the plywood subfloor or the grout cracking.

I went to the tile store and they told me, no problem, as long as I use a product like Durock/cement backerboard for my base and use the correct adhesive and grout, as well as frost resistent porcelain rather than ceramic.

What say you? Is this going to stand up to MN weather?
Can you give me your advice as to products and how to proceed, if I should attempt to do this at all?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

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John Bridge
06-29-2001, 12:57 PM
Hey, who you accusin' of gettin' off on a tangent? :-)

Bud or one of the other guys further north will be along to address your question. Rob is north too. Heck, almost everyone is north. Tangent?

Rob Z
06-29-2001, 01:06 PM
Hi Groutless

Thanks for stoping by. I went to a friend's wedding in Minnesota in 1995, and really enjoyed my visit there. It was September, and so I missed the 30 feet of snow everyone tells me about.

Your porch can be tiled successfully, but only with proper use of materials that deal with the extremes in weather, temperature, moisture, Sunlight,etc. Cement board over plywood, even with the use of premium setting materials and grout, will fail. Materials need to be selected that deal with moisture and expansion and contraction due to temperature variations.

If I was going to do your installation, I would use the services of Schluter's technical staff and let them reccommend the products and methods necessary for a long lasting installation. Their website is http://www.schluter.com. Email Peter Nielsen directly for good advice. Schluter's products were/are developed in Germany, so they have cold weather in mind.

Other companies make products for exterior tile installations such as yours. One of the regulars on the Forum is Art "Flattile". He is a sales rep for Bonsal and can give advice on their products (which may not be available in MN).

Laticrete (www.laticrete.com) also makes products for exterior installations. Noble Company (www.noblecompany.com) does, as well. They have always been very helpful when I call for tech questions.

Once you've settled on an installation method, you do need to use a tile that's rated for exterior use.

Let us know what you find out and decide to use. Stop back by and get us back on target and stop us from discussing non-tile related things, like John's garden or Sonnie's recipes.


[Edited by Rob Zschoche on 06-29-2001 at 09:46 PM]

Bud Cline
06-29-2001, 01:54 PM
"Groutless in Minneapollis" isn't that the title of a great movie with Tom Hanks a few years ago? Oh, no, no that wasn't it, I was thinking of something else, nevermind. Yeh, I don't understand your "tangent" comment either, in fact, I think I personally resemble that remark.

Can you do it (tile your porch)? You bet! But Rob is right on mark when he says seek the advice of the Schluter people. Proper drainage (even tho your screened in) and special products would have to be used. Your structure would have to meet minimums also. The guy that told you cement board is all that is necessary could be badly mistaken if he hasn't seen the location as we have not.

Don't let this scare you off at this point it's not as bad as it may sound.

06-29-2001, 06:33 PM
You're off to a good start by coming here for a second opinion.

Porcelain is an excellent choice.It is "impervious", which meeans that water absorption is minimal at .5% or less.This just means that there is not much of a chance for water to get into the tile then freeze and bust the tile.Slate would be another good choice.Good luck with your project.

John Bridge
06-29-2001, 08:02 PM
We seem to be going with the idea that this screened porch is exposed to the elements, but you said it was carpeted. Then you said something about plywood decking. If it was carpet over plywood and the plywood is still in good shape, it must not get a lot of weather.

Could you tell us a little more about that aspect of the porch?

Groutless In MN
06-29-2001, 10:23 PM
Thanks for all your input! I do want to continue this as I'm really interested in your expert opinions, but I'm needing to hit the sack. Had a few glasses of red wine and it's time to dream about how lovely my porch will be some day!

John Bridge
06-30-2001, 06:50 AM
I hope you had the good red wine, the vintage that arrives from California in the huge jugs with the handles on them, none of that mouthwash they sell in those puny little bottles. You know, the cheap imports from France and places like that.

06-30-2001, 01:37 PM
Imported is good stuff! I get wine imported from my cousin Marcell over in holler-yonder bottoms all the time.

Keith(pas at botl)Alford

07-12-2001, 03:27 PM
I was on vacation when you wrote in and couldn't respond.

If your porch has a slope to allow moisture to drain off of it and you use a water proof membrane of some sort over the top of the backer board and keep the moisture off the top of the ply.

All of this is possible if your porch can support the additional weight of all the materials.

You need to have a least 16" on center floor joists and a minimum of 5/8 to 3/4" ply.

The temperature changes you are concerned about are not as critical and the Hot sun on tile, and a rain shower that changes the temp. 20-30 degrees in a minute. That is where temp change is critical.

What you would want to concern yourself with is that the moisture that gets through the grout and under the tile can not pool in air pockets on a fall day, and freeze that night. That would pop your tile.

Trowel you thinset in the same direction, don't swirl it, and when you set your tile, move the tiles up 1/4" and Back, so the ridges roll into the valleys left by the notched trowel. This will illiminate as much of the air pockets as possible.

I don't buy those import wines either, the bottles are always empty, I think the corks deteriorate or something.

I don't know why they don't just stuff them with a shower curtain or bags or something?

John Bridge
07-12-2001, 07:43 PM
Art, mi amigo, they don't stuff the wine bottles with shower curtains because there are none available. We've used them all for moisture barriers. They do stuff the really good wines with plastic corks or metal caps, though.

04-24-2004, 08:45 AM
I also have a screened porch. Our porch is cement with a small slope. It faces south/s east & gets a small amout of rain during high winds or storms. We would like to tile it , but can not seem to find the correct info on how to do it. This topic in the forum helped but the cement part is different. We live in north east Ohio.
We are cold during the winter but not like Minn. We get freezing but not subzero.. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks Roger

04-24-2004, 08:58 AM
Good morning Roger and welcome.

This can be done, and if done right you will be happy with it for years to come. We have a number of pros here who live in similar northern climates as yours who will be able to give good advice. Hang in there. If I see one of them log on I'll get there attention. :)

04-26-2004, 06:19 AM

John Bridge
04-26-2004, 07:21 AM
Mornin' Roger, Welcome aboard. :)

The important thing is that no water gets under the tiles before a sustained freeze. As the ice forms it expands and forces the tiles upward. Not good.

The slab has to drain well. You need to use a thin set that is appropriate for outdoor conditions, and you need to make sure you don't leave any voids under the tiles. You must also use a tile that is rated as "frost proof" or "frost resistant."

04-29-2004, 09:20 AM
Thanks for all your help & to all who are willing to help others do it youeself.. I have been told porcelain tile would be the best choice,maybe slate.. Porcelain would be cheaper I think.Any preference here? Does the thinset have to go on fairly heavy to leave no voids ? Also is there a special grout to use outside.? Seems like a lot of questions but I want to do it right the first time..Thanks again for all the help..Roger

04-29-2004, 10:05 AM
Porcelain will also be easier to do right. You do need to ensure complete coverage so there are no voids, but that doesn't necessarily mean using great gobs of thinset.

I dunno about the grout.