Are Indoor and Outdoor Tiles the Same?

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 06/07/24 •  4 min read

With all of us spending so much time at home the last few years, many of us have started to capitalize on every inch of space we own, making indoor-outdoor living spaces a hot trend even in cooler climates.

Outdoor decor that can furnish our outdoor spaces in a way that brings the indoors out is becoming more common and bringing ceramic tile outdoors is also a perfect way to seamlessly extend our available space from inside to outside. 

But tiling an outdoor space isn’t as common as tiling indoors, so you may have a lot of questions right down to what types of tile you can choose from.

So, what is the difference between indoor and outdoor tile? Indoor tiles are typically glazed making them smooth, easier to clean, and resistant to water. On the other hand, outside tiles are seldom glazed and usually have a rough, anti-slip texture.

Can you Use Outdoor Tile Inside?

Despite their differences, outdoor tiles can be used in your home even in the kitchen and bathroom.

Tiles made to withstand outdoor conditions are also well suited to the moisture and spills that take place inside the home as well.

Can You Use an Indoor Tile Outside?

Since I just confirmed that outdoor tiles can be used indoors, you’re probably wondering if the reverse is true — can you use indoor tiles outside? Unfortunately, no, it’s not a good idea to use an indoor tile outside as they’re not made to withstand the extreme conditions outdoor tiles are.

Outdoor tiles are made to withstand extreme weather conditions like rain, wind, heat, humidity, direct sunlight, snow and ice, and ground movement. Outdoor tiles are also made to be more slip-resistant and easier to maintain.

There is a tremendous amount of aggressive foot traffic in our outdoor spaces. Shoes and big winter boots are worn, and large outdoor toys, garden equipment, and sports gear are banged around without a lot of care. Indoor tile just isn’t made for that level of abuse.

What Tiles Can be Used Outdoors?

To hold up under tough outdoor space conditions, outdoor tiles should be:

What Materials are Best for Inside and Outside?

The most common indoor tiles include porcelain, ceramic, marble, and slate. The most common outdoor tiles include ceramic, stone, and mosaic.

Good Tile Choices for Indoor and Outdoor Transitional Spaces

If you’re hoping to make your home look larger by turning your outside space into a continuation of your inside space by creating an indoor-outdoor transitional space, you can absolutely do it with tile.

As mentioned above, you can use outdoor tile inside, but can’t use indoor tile outside, so to create a successful transitional space, you’ll need to stick to outdoor options.

The main challenge with indoor-outdoor transitional spaces is that you need a style that looks good both indoors and outdoors. Creating a transition that’s as fluid as possible, and with consistent design elements is the answer.

Two of the easiest tiles to accomplish this are:

1. Ceramic Tile

With ceramic tile, you can blur the distinction between indoors and outdoors with coordinated designs for floors, walls, and more. 

There is no end to the styles of ceramic tile. There are many coordinating families of tile options that have been designed to work with each other on many surfaces. 

2. Stone Tile

If you have a modern or minimalist design in your home, stone tile can be a great option to bring the outside in and create a seamless transition area.

Nothing is as timeless and durable as natural materials and natural stone is perfect for these types of uses.

thewriteDuffy

At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.