Tile on a Deck: Not a Good Idea
LESLIE: Brian in Florida wants to talk decking. How can we help?
BRIAN: Yes, I’ve got a 16×30 deck on the back of my house. It’s 2x8s; 16-inch hung (ph) center with 5/4×6 planks running on it. And I’m wondering if there’s a product I can use to overcoat that and to (AUDIO GAP) porcelain tile on top of it to tile that deck area.
TOM: Tile the deck area.
TOM: Boy, there’s an idea.
LESLIE: I feel like you’re going to get too much movement and too much fluctuation and instability from the joists and the decking to make a tiled surface sustain.
TOM: Yeah, you know, Brian, if you wanted to make this a tile deck it would be built completely differently. First of all, it would be – there would be plywood over it; not the 5/4. The plywood would have probably a fiberglass surface on it. These outside decks that are, you know, the kind you see in restaurants where you can sit outside over a roof, over a finished space below, they’re usually made of a fiberglass decking material and then on top of that you can put the tile. But just to create tile as a standalone like that, I don’t know, man. I don’t think that that’s going to hold up very well.
LESLIE: Are you looking for a different look or you’ve got your heart set on the tile?
BRIAN: Well, I’m looking to change the appearance and what I’m doing I’m tiling the kitchen and den that abut to a concrete patio that’s covered by the roof of the house and then this deck, it extends from that another 16 feet out.
LESLIE: Now, do you have – is there a change in height from this potential tiled patio up to the wooden deck surface or do they sort of flow into one another?
BRIAN: There’s about a half-inch drop so I’ve got, you know, on top of the existing surface I’ve got a half-inch to play with. So I was wondering if you could go over it with – over top of the 5/4 with ply and then, you know, (INAUDIBLE) tile on top of that.
LESLIE: I think you’re going to get too much movement and with movement you’re going to see a lot of cracking of the tile and it’s just not going to stay and it’s not going to look great for you. What could be a good solution is a lot of companies are offering teak or exotic hardwood decking tiles which are wood tiles on, you know, 20×20 backings. They interlock together. It’s perfect for Florida because they drain really well, so if you were to put this just sitting on top of your concrete patio then even continuing over your deck surface it will sort of unify everything. They come in long plank styles. They even come in, you know, diagonal shapes or hexagonal shapes to give it some interest or, you know, alternating almost parquet-style, which would then give you an entire wood deck surface but also solve that solution of that concrete patio.
BRIAN: Now, how good are those next to a pool area?
LESLIE: Oh, they’re fantastic.
LESLIE: Because a teak or a hardwood is naturally moisture resistant and they’re also naturally termite and insect resistant so it’s perfect for Florida.
BRIAN: OK, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Brian. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.