Using Porcelain and Ceramic Tile in Outdoor Kitchens

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Outdoor kitchens are rising in popularity as a way to create more living space outdoors and to better enjoy the beauty of nature. 

Nature’s not the only beautiful thing to look at in an outdoor kitchen — with stunning porcelain and ceramic tile options, you can create an outdoor kitchen that will rival any area inside or outside of your home.

Here are some porcelain and ceramic tile ideas that excel in any outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor Kitchen Applications 

Design versatility within the “ceramic tile family” (porcelain tile, quarry tile, wall tile, pressed floor tile, and mosaic tile) gives you a wide variety for specifying the appropriate option for these outdoor kitchen uses. While each subset of the ceramic tile family shares ceramic tile’s general benefits, they are each produced slightly differently and may consequently have additional advantages that lend themselves to specific applications. For clarity in this article, while porcelain is part of the larger ceramic family, we will distinguish between porcelain and non-porcelain tiles, referring to the latter as ceramic.

Water resistance is especially important in an outdoor kitchen due to weather and fluctuating temperatures. Fortunately, all porcelain and ceramic tile options are water-resistant and will not warp or degrade with moisture. Further, porcelain, quarry tile, and some pressed floor tiles and mosaics can easily withstand repeated freeze-thaw cycles, including prolonged contact with snow and ice. Look for a freeze/thaw resistance rating for horizontal applications subject to icy conditions.

Porcelain and Ceramic Tile Outdoor Kitchen Flooring

Outdoor kitchen with concrete-look tile flooring and pool surround
This concrete-look tile adds an industrial edge to the house’s otherwise woodsy feel (not to mention the water resistance advantage of porcelain tile and ceramic tile).

Choosing the right kitchen flooring is a big decision inside your home, and outdoors is no different. You’ll want a material that’s equal parts practical (think all-around weather resistance) and pleasing (think design impact). 

Porcelain and Ceramic Tile Countertops for Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchen with gauged porcelain tile panel/slab countertops
This gauged porcelain tile countertop has all the beauty of granite, but you can have added peace of mind knowing that porcelain is even stronger than granite. 

Countertops are another opportunity to show off gorgeous ceramic or porcelain tile in your outdoor kitchen. 

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Gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs are a particularly popular option for countertops because their large size enables them to look like large slabs of natural stone. 

All ceramic and porcelain tile can be relied upon for durability, even when exposed to unknown elements, such as falling branches, heavy outdoor utensils and decor, and a variety of weather conditions.

[Related: Tile Trend Ideas: Counter Culture]

Porcelain and Ceramic Tile Kitchen Island or Outdoor Bar

Gauged porcelain tile outdoor bar
The gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs that create this outdoor bar combine with a wood-look ceramic tile patio to create a contemporary feel for this minimalist outdoor style.

An outdoor bar is a must if you plan to use your outdoor kitchen for entertaining. Conjure cocktails and/or serve your favorite gathering treats from a bar created with porcelain or ceramic tile.  

Porcelain and ceramic tile options provide an easy-to-clean outdoor surface. Bacteria resistance, stain resistance, and scratch resistance make cleaning up as easy as removing debris and wiping with water. For a little extra cleaning power, choose a neutral cleaner made specifically for tile and grout or a mildly alkaline detergent.

[Related: Gauged Porcelain Tile: Our New Favorite Furniture]

Porcelain and Ceramic Tile Swim-Up Bar

Porcelain tile swim-up bar in an outdoor kitchen
Swim-up bars are the ultimate luxury — imagine leaning against this matte black mosaic tile bar while sipping your drink of choice. 

If you have a pool and an outdoor kitchen, why not combine them? 

Don’t worry about water damage from the pool on your tile (or water rings from your drink, for that matter): Porcelain and ceramic tile are water-resistant and will not fade or become damaged by pool chemicals or exposure to the sun. Soak and sip away!

[Related: Not Your Typical Pool Tile]

Porcelain and Ceramic Tile for Outdoor Stoves and Ovens

Stone-look tile in an outdoor kitchen
Porcelain and ceramic tile allow you to create beautiful designs around your oven, such as this rustic stone-look tile, which pairs nicely with the slate-look tile flooring.

Right, outdoor kitchens are for cooking! 

Whether you have a stove, a conventional oven, or a pizza oven, porcelain and ceramic tile are ideal flame-resistant options for tiling around these areas. Neither porcelain nor ceramic tile will produce smoke, burn, or give off toxic fumes when exposed to fire.

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Porcelain and Ceramic Tile Fire Pit or Outdoor Fireplace Surround

Gauged porcelain tile panel/slab outdoor firepit
This wood-look tile flooring and half wall, white gauged porcelain tile countertop, island, and fire pit, and the wisteria-laden pergola create an exquisite outdoor kitchen.

For the same reasons that porcelain and ceramic tile are ideal for use around stoves and ovens, they’re a great choice for outdoor fireplaces and fire pits. Tile around your outdoor fireplace to create a stunning fireplace surround, or use gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs to create a unique fire pit, such as the one pictured above.

[Related: Get Cozy With These Outdoor Tile Fireplaces]

Paver Pathway

Wood-look porcelain paver pathway
This outdoor kitchen area demonstrates the beauty of wood-look pavers and patios.

If you have more than one defined area in your outdoor space, a pathway is a must; porcelain and ceramic tile pavers are the perfect pathway material. 

Thicker than typical ceramic and porcelain tile, pavers can be installed as part of a larger flooring system or as individual tiles to create a typical paving stone look. But that doesn’t mean that you have to choose stone-look tile. Pavers offer many different styles, including wood-look tile.

[Related: Five Places You’ll Secretly Find Porcelain]

Porcelain and Ceramic Tile for Indoor-Outdoor Kitchens

Porcelain tile flooring in an indoor-outdoor kitchen
When you have a design as interesting as this multicolored stone-look, using it in just one space isn’t enough!

Porcelain and ceramic tile have long been trusted as premiere materials for indoor kitchens. And now we’ve shown you the beauty of outdoor kitchens with porcelain and ceramic tile. Let’s put those two together for an indoor-outdoor kitchen area that gives your home optimum functionality. 

Porcelain and ceramic tile’s versatility allows you to use the same material when transitioning from inside to outside. As well, using the same pattern unifies indoor-outdoor spaces with a consistent aesthetic.

[Related: Indoor-Outdoor Tile: Your Complete Guide]

Popular Porcelain and Ceramic Tile Looks for Outdoor Kitchens

Now that you have an idea of where you might use porcelain and ceramic tile in your outdoor kitchen, here are some of the most popular looks for outdoor kitchen tile applications.

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Concrete-Look Porcelain and Ceramic Tile

Concrete-look porcelain tile in an outdoor seating area
A stunning example of concrete-look tile for this outdoor pavilion and pool surround.

Because concrete-look tile flooring is ceramic tile and not concrete, you won’t have to worry about the extra maintenance often associated with concrete.

[Related: Tile Trend Ideas: Industrial Chic Tile]

Stone-Look Porcelain and Ceramic Tile

Stone-look tile flooring and countertops in an outdoor kitchen
This outdoor kitchen embraces minimalism with the same honey-beige stone-look tile for its countertops, island, flooring, and pavers. 

Stone looks are perhaps the most classic choice for outdoor spaces, beautifully blending with outdoor surroundings.

Wood-Look Porcelain and Ceramic Tile

Wood-look tile in an outdoor kitchen
This gorgeous wood-look tile flooring and privacy wall will continue looking great for years to come — rain or shine.

Wood-look tile is another excellent choice for outdoor kitchens. 

While you might worry about water damage, damage from freeze-thaw cycles, mold and mildew growth, and fading from the sun with real wood outdoors, none of these concerns are an issue with porcelain and ceramic tile.

[Related: Tile Trend Ideas: Refined Natural Wood Looks]

Slate-Look Porcelain and Ceramic Tile

Slate-look tile flooring in an outdoor dining area
This multi-colored slate-look tile shows off dramatic contrasts for a unique outdoor living area with multiple levels.

Slate-look tile gives you numerous and versatile options. Choose a subtle, neutral-toned slate look, or a look with stark color contrasts, or something in-between!

Patterned Porcelain and Ceramic Tile

Patterned tile flooring in an outdoor dining area
The black and white tile design creates a cheery, modern aesthetic for this outdoor dining area.

Who said you have to go for a natural look for your outdoor kitchen? Patterns of all types  — including graphic designs, florals and leaves, Art Deco prints, and more — are all at home in outdoor kitchens.

[Related: Tile Trend Ideas: Geometric Tiles & Pattern Play]

Find Your Outdoor Kitchen Tile

One of the designs above is sure to have stolen your heart, but to continue the search for the perfect outdoor kitchen tile, explore our Outdoor Kitchen Tile Pinterest board

Once you’re ready to move forward, visit the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) and the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA) sites to find ceramic tile and certified porcelain tile manufacturers and distributors in your area.

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