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Old 08-11-2011, 08:39 AM   #1
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tiles on a deck WITHOUT being fixed in place?


Hello,

I've read enough online to know that tiling on a deck is a bad idea, that changes in climate will cause the subflooring to expand and contract and will eventually crack the tiles.

There are, however, a lot of people on various sites giving advice on how to succeed doing this, but just as many people warning against it.

I'm not wiling to take the risk - I live in Canada, where extreme weather changes are a fact of life.

However, I have an idea that I'd like to run by the tiling experts out there.

What if I were to lay outdoor tiles (porcelain, slate, etc) on top of a raised wood deck, but not glue, cement, or grout them in place. I would then build a wooden frame around the perimeter of the tiled area to keep the tiles from moving around.

Would this work? Any ideas will be greatly appreciated. FYI, I'm looking to cover the deck with a fixed roof, if that matters.

Amy

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Old 08-11-2011, 11:58 AM   #2
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tiles on a deck WITHOUT being fixed in place?


You still have the same problem with your idea:

The wood is going to expand and contract and move; the tile is not.

Your idea of putting a perimeter around the tile will only work if you leave sufficient space for them not to buckle when the wood moves/shrinks - then you've got loose tiles.

I guess my question is why bother? Spending the time and energy seems silly to me. But Bud will be along shortly to give you a pro's answer.

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Old 08-20-2011, 10:48 AM   #3
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That's more of just setting tiles on a deck than actually installing them. Without mortar, what's to keep them from cracking everytime you step on them wrong? We have the same issues with exterior tile here in Denver. Constant freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw makes it unadvisable to do. I guess you could put those felt chair pads under the tiles which would help to a degree, but seems hardly worth it.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:52 AM   #4
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Just for grins lay some tiles loose on the deck and walk on them--They will break.

Use old dinner plates if you don't have any tiles.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:03 AM   #5
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tiles on a deck WITHOUT being fixed in place?


I didn't know that tiles were that fragile. So it's mortar that keeps exterior tiles from cracking when walked on? I had no idea. I though leaving a little play to allow them to move when the wood de-contracts in winter would do the trick.

I would be wiling to glue any kind of backing underneath each tile if necessary. What about if I cut squares of thin foam the size of each tile and glue them to the underside of each tile? Would that work?

Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:28 AM   #6
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It's a lost cause---put a dinner plate on a carpeted floor and step on it---see what happens.

Take another one and press it into a freshly poured sidewalk--step on that one.(it won't break)

The tile is just the 'topping' of a solid inflexible base----base must be rock solid then a fragile -brittle tile can be secured with a full bed of mortar.

It's a system that starts with a solid base.----Mike---
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:42 AM   #7
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Yes, mortar is what keeps all tile secured. Like Mike said, tile is very brittle-especially the really good frost-proof class 5 porcelain that most people use outdoors. But where you live, tile outdoors is just asking for it.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:49 AM   #8
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Thanks for all this advice.

Any ideas for a material I could use, even if it's not normally intended for flooring?

Basically I'm looking for an outdoor flooring other than wood that can sit on a raised wood structure. We will be razing our deck and putting up a new one, so we can design the structure of the new deck to accommodate a particular material.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:53 AM   #9
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tiles on a deck WITHOUT being fixed in place?


There are a lot of great decking materials---the new PVC ones are especially good--Azek makes a particularly fine one.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:07 PM   #10
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tiles on a deck WITHOUT being fixed in place?


What is the problem with the decking that you have now?? Not sure what more to ask other than that. Once you answer that question you might get different answers.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:07 PM   #11
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tiles on a deck WITHOUT being fixed in place?


I'm assuming you don't like the look of wood/wood substitute decking? I don't know of a product other than wood or Trex (or similar) that will work for the type of raised support structure. The main problem is that all wood swells, shrinks, and otherwise misbehaves with moisture/temp/humidity changes. If you had a poured cement slab patio, there are ways to use other materials effectively, but with your situation I would stick with what is proven to work.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:19 PM   #12
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tiles on a deck WITHOUT being fixed in place?


Thank you all for your help.

I'm trying to avoid a traditional deck because of the maintenance required. We stain our current deck every year. It's an old deck that was here when we bought the house. It's an eyesore. Even though I know that a new cedar deck will be a major improvement and will probably require less maintenance than this old one, but it has turned me off.

We are looking to put up a new deck with a homemade screen house on top.

I got a price from HomeDepot here in Canada for $9000 for a basic composite deck....

We would love to just do a ground level stone patio but we basically live on our deck from end May until end September and the thought of going up and down a flight of stairs from the kitchen to the ground has me weary. If I had a nickel for every time I pass the threshold between the kitchen and the deck in a day I would have enough money for the composite deck....

If I could just figure out some kind of alternative flooring...
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:25 PM   #13
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oh yeah, they're expensive allright. But factor in the cost and TIME of staining a deck over 15 years and it makes the composite downright cheap.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:30 PM   #14
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tiles on a deck WITHOUT being fixed in place?


No experience with this product, but it would seem to accomplish some of what you wish: http://www.stonedeckwest.com/

Also, if your deck is structurally strong enough, standard paving blocks can sit on framing. You will need to speak to an engineer to make sure your structure can support this load, and an architect or designer can tell you if this is a suitable application for siesmic and extreme storms
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Old 08-20-2011, 02:16 PM   #15
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Has anyone had experience using either of these products?

http://www.silcasystem.com/

http://www.gratedex.com/

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