LESLIE: Tom in Kentucky is on the line doing some work in the yard. What can we do for you today?
TOM IN KENTUCKY: I’m going to get into a project on my wood deck and what I want to do is put a ceramic tile floor over top the existing wood deck. Is it possible?
TOM: You want to put a ceramic tile floor over a wood deck outside your house?
TOM IN KENTUCKY: Yeah.
TOM: And what part of the country do you live in again?
TOM IN KENTUCKY: Kentucky.
TOM: Man, I don’t know.
LESLIE: I don’t know. I feel like …
TOM: Feel like it’s a bad idea.
LESLIE: Well, I feel like it’s a bad idea, number one, because a deck, regardless if it’s 2 inches off the floor or 5 feet off the ground, you’re dealing with a lot of movement. And of course, we all know that when you’re dealing with ceramic tile, you have to have a super-stable subfloor, otherwise your tiles are going to all crack.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
LESLIE: So that’s my first concern.
TOM: Why is it that you want this to be tile?
TOM IN KENTUCKY: I just want something more permanent; something that I didn’t have to restain and just fool with.
TOM: OK. Well, the solution would be composite decking, not tile.
TOM: The composites today are amazing. I mean you have to take a look at what’s happening in the composite industry because all of these products are changing. You’ve got manufacturers like Fiberon out there that have these drop-dead, gorgeous products that need zero maintenance.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s truly beautiful.
TOM: You can scribble on these things with permanent markers and wipe them right off, so it’s not like when they used to be made with the wood fibers and the mold would grow on the surface. Totally changed now and really durable and I think that that could give you what you want. You’re trying to go about this the hard way by applying tile to a deck surface.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And then, of course, you’re spending all the expense on the tile and perhaps sometime down the line, you’re going to have to make some repairs to the substructure, which is still going to be pressure-treated plywood or pressure-treated lumber, rather. And you could potentially ruin all of your tile work and have to start from scratch there again whereas with …
TOM: Yeah, not to mention the fact that during the winter, it’s going to get cold and it could get icy; it could get slippery. Even in the rain, it gets kind of dangerous. So I just think it’s a bad idea.
What you might want to do is a deck makeover where you pull up the wood planks but leave the substructure.
LESLIE: And just replace it with the composite.
TOM IN KENTUCKY: OK. OK. You all talked me out of it.
TOM: Alright. Well, just want to make sure you do the right thing, Tom. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.