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February 26, 2018 – Published in Design & Decor Spring 2018 issue

Outside areas and open spaces

​​Words Stephanie Falzon

A few issues ago, the issue of Winter 2016 actually, I wrote that Winter is the time we should begin to think of changing and planning redecorating our outside areas. I can tell you, I had plenty of comments about that issue. About how hard it was to begin to think of Spring and Summer in the middle of the cold, wet Winter. But the planning and designing should all be over by now and the actual work beginning.

With so many different tiles to choose from, how are we to know which ones are the right ones for our perfect spot. With a variety of outdoor tiles to choose from, it can be difficult to buy the right tiles. Tiles for an outside area are more complex to choose. One must consider more than the design or pattern. The function and what grade of non skid are vital in our final choice. So our first guide is to understand the area where we need to tile. Is it a terrace, roof, garden, pool area or perhaps the front area of our home. Every area deserves different considerations on how to choose your tiles.

Here are some tips for choosing and buying outdoor tiles:

1. Stay away from polished and gloss tiles

This is an easy one. It is impractical and will be extremely slippery when wet. I am sure that common sense will tell you that this is definitely not the right choice.

2. Pick the right tiles for your particular outdoor area

You have to forget what someone else has chosen for their garden or roof. You have to choose the correct one for your own area. Each outside area needs to be planned and the needs of that particular area considered. How non skid do the tiles for this area really need to be? Is this a pool area? Or a space where children will continuously play with water? If yes then we need the highest level of non skid. But if this is just an area where we will be entertaining guests, then a plain matt tile will do just as well.

3. Practicality, class and style

Certain areas definitely need a high degree of non skid tile, but we must always understand that the rougher the surface of the tile, the more difficult it is to keep clean. At this point I feel that I have to stress that I talk about high quality tiles. So whilst I am saying that tiles with a rougher surface are harder to keep clean, this does not mean that the tile will stain or absorb grime. But dust and dirt will get stuck easier to a rougher surface than to a smoother one. So if you do not need such a high degree of non skid – then do not choose it.

4. Choose Colour Carefully

Colour is an important element that is often not given much importance with it comes to outdoor tiles. This is rather surprising. The same amount of importance to colour schemes must be given to outside areas as when we decorate our interiors. And whilst an outside area allows us to use darker colours more easily, in Malta we have to consider our hot sun in the Summer months. If you need to tile an outside area where you will be moving around and walking barefooted, then do not choose any dark colours. These tiles will be too hot to walk on shoeless. So for these areas, the lighter shades are more recommended.

On the other hand, outside areas tolerate darker shades of colour effortlessly. Open spaces and roofless areas are the ideal spaces for us to be more adventurous and choose darker tones. Lovely terracotta colours are the signature of the Mediterranean. And there are so many hues and tints of terracotta to choose from, that there is surely the right one for your area.

5. Quality and Strength

But all of the above points are nothing if the tile is not of a good quality. Beautiful styles and lovely designs do not last if the tile is not strong and cannot withstand the different elements that make up our climate. Porcelaine is nearly always a safe choice. Because although in Malta many think we do not have extreme climate – the heat of our summer months is considered to be harsh and uncompromising. Many designers or architects will be able to guide you on how to choose the best tile for your outside area.

Today more are choosing to refresh dull terraces or revive boring roof areas into stylish spaces, for our own use, or to entertain friends and enjoy some time together. I have tried to choose some pictures that can help you realise what a lot we can do to reawaken spots and spaces that can improve our lifestyle as well as increase the value of our property.

But as always I close with the same words of caution. Your choice must be the right one, as once the tiles are laid…

Falzon’s Bathrooms & Ceramics, Psaila Street, Sta Venera.
Tel: 2148 2860 / 2148 5536


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