Installing a Tile Patio
A Case Study

This customer had their concrete patio stained and then painted during the past 5 years. But neither produced the long-lasting results they were looking for; when the paint started to bubble up and crack, they decided to go for a more permanent solution. We asked if they would be willing to share their experience in a case study…

Installing a Tile Patio – Our Experience

Patio BeforeOur yard truly is an extension of our home. We like to entertain and spend time outside so we want it to look nice. But our concete patio was ugly; 5 years ago we had it stained and it looked great for while…until it got dusty and until it got wet.  It took an awful lot of care to keep it looking clean, and when it was wet, it became a slippery death-trap! When my mother-in-law slipped and fell one day, my wife insisted we try something else…


Patio BeforeSo we had the patio painted – with a sand based patio paint that provided better grip.  The color was great; we chose a dusty/sandy color, so we didn’t have to work so hard to keep it looking clean. It looked good and for a year or two we thought we had found the solution. But then the paint started to bubble up in places where monsoon moisture had got in underneath. We needed a more permanent solution – we wanted to get it tiled.


I called the guys at Arizona Granite; we had used them previously on a bathroom remodel and I recalled that in addition to granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, and tile, they also did BBQs and flooring.  I spoke with Carlos – a great guy – who took down my patio measurements over the phone. He would have come out to the house, but there was no need. He had been to the house many times during the master bathroom project and was familiar with the patio – as our master bedroom also has a patio entrance. As it was a rectangular patio, it was pretty straightforward for even a non-handy man like me to measure.


Not Travertine?

I had heard people talk about the ‘bold look’ of travertine on a patio, but when I mentioned this to Carlos, he advised against it.  Travertine needs to be sealed every season, it takes a lot of maintenance in extreme seasonal temperature changes, and as we had a salt-water pool about 4 feet from the edge of the patio, any water splashing onto the patio could cause the stone to deteriorate and crumble.  To keep it looking as good as new, we would be sealing it regularly. He suggested a non-porous porcelain tile would be ideal – something with a little surface texture for grip. He explained that once it’s down, it would be very easy to maintain.  After our experiences of stained patios and painted patios, we liked the sound of easy maintenance.


Choosing a Patio Tile

Patio Choosing MaterialsWe went down to Tanner Materials in Chandler, AZ, to look at the range of tiles available. We wanted a patio tile that would suit our cool deck color, house color, and patio furniture. There were certainly plenty of options, and price ranges to choose from, but Carlos pointed us in the direction of an Italian porcelain tile that was on a special offer. It was an end of run tile, and was a great deal – about 50% off regular pricing – because they only had about 1500 sf remaining. We only needed  about 300 sf, so we snapped it up there and then.


Laying down tile on a patio looks easy, but there is undoubtedly an art to it. Carlos had a crew of tilers who could come out the following week; the job should take just a couple of days.


Prepping a Painted Concrete Patio For Tile

Patio PreparationBecause the concrete was painted, you can’t apply the tile to the paint – it won’t bond. So the first step was to prep the painted concrete with something they called “slurry”. This is a mixture of liquid latex and multi-bond thinset mortar.  This slurry mix is then floated over the patio surface, almost like like butter on toast. When it dries it leaves a sandpaper like surface that the tile adhesive can stick to.  Tip – This is a step, and an expense, that wouldn’t have been necessary had we still had the bare concrete. If you’re thinking about having your patio tiled at some point, but think you’ll just paint it for now…bear that in mind!


Laying Patio Tile

Patio Laying TileOnce the slurry dried, which didn’t take as long in Arizona as I’m sure it does in other parts of the country, the guys placed membranes over the concrete expansion joints, and started laying the tile.  Between the two of them, they made short work of the 256sf we had to cover.  Installing a tile patio is certainly a lot quicker and easier than tiling a bathroom.


Patio FinishedThe next morning they came back to finish the baseboards and grouted the tile.  Job done. 72 hours later we hosed down and brushed the patio, put the furniture back in place and enjoyed a beer in style!


Having Arizona Granite install tile on our patio was quick, easy and affordable. And the result is spectacular! I just wish that I’d done it 5 years ago, instead of wasting money on patio staining and painting that didn’t last!



Contact Arizona Granite Enterprises Today

To get your tile patio project started, call 480-610-1900 and schedule a free, no-obligation in-home consultation today.