Floating Wooden Deck Tiles – Selection, Preparation and Installation in 6 Steps
Whether for balconies, decks, patios or terraces: wooden deck tiles are becoming increasingly popular for outdoor decoration thanks to their appealing look and their easy installation.
What Are Wooden Tiles for Outdoor Flooring?
Most wooden tiles have a square form. They usually come with a click or snap system that helps connect the tiles to each other. Their surface consists of 3-4 short wooden slats fixed to a plastic underlying that makes them float. Thus, the water runoff characteristics of the existing decking are retained even if you install tiles on top of it – a very important point for installations on balconies and terraces to avoid water damages and mold in the house. Check out wooden tiles on Amazon.
Wood is the most common but not the only material used for decking tiles. Tiles consisting of WPC or other composite material combine the appearance of wood with less maintenance needs. There are also snap tiles on the market.
How to Install Your Tiles
“Floating” refers to the lagging fixation of decking to the underlying material - the wood tiles are floating above a concrete floor on a balcony, for instance.
While no drilling or screwing is needed to lay the tiles, the difficulty of the installation depends on the type of underground:
The installation of wooden deck tiles as a floating decking on a prepared subfloor is straight forward – the tiles can simply be laid on the existing surface. This will be working if you use them on top of an existing tile or concrete decking.
Installing tiles as part of a floating wooden deck can be more challenging though, as the underlying structure needs to be built first. The tiles will need a supporting, so you should install a layer of slats first, before the tiles are put on top of them. To avoid weed coming through your decking, you should consider installing a weed control mat (check them on Amazon) as well.
Considerations Before You Start Laying Your Tiles
In any case, the material which you install the tiles on should be fixed and hard. It can be concrete or a wooden substructure for instance, but you cannot build a floating tile floor on unprepared soil.
If you are installing a floating structure for the first time, you should consider some environmental factors as well: do you live in an area where storms and strong winds are occurring regularly? Do you live close to a river or a lake with regular flooding of your backyard? A floating tile system is definitely more at risk in these occurrences than a fixed installation, you might want to consider that when making a decision.
A quick and easy way to find out is checking with your neighbors: If they have been enjoying their floating wooden tile patio for years despite all weathers, it will be a good indicator that you can go for a floating system, too.
Installing Tiles: 6 Easy Steps
If you already have a concrete terrace, old tiles on your patio or an epoxy surface on your balcony, you can easily install a decking with hardwood or WPC tiles on top of it.
Wooden tiles with a snap system
(find snap tiles on Amazon).
The actual installation process consists of 6 steps:
- Measure the area and calculate the number of tiles that you need. For a rectangular surface, divide the length and breadth by the side length of the square tile, and you get the number of tiles. If the area has a more complex shape, try to transform it into several smaller rectangular and calculate the number of tiles needed for each of them.
- Choose the right type of wood or composite for your project. Consider our article on the different types of wood and their pro’s and con’s for outdoor flooring.
- Get your tools and materials ready! You will need:
a) a sufficient number of tiles (buy them in a DIY store or order them now on Amazon),
b) a miter, a circular or a scroll saw with the right blades for wood and plastic (read our reviews first in case you need to buy one), and
c) a finish, sealant, varnish or stain (read our articles on oil and stain).
A semi-transparent outdoor wood stain
(check price on Amazon).
- Install your wood tiles in the respective area and press them until they snap. Make sure that you leave a small space between the decking and any walls and fences: wood is a living material and needs some space. You will actually l see that your floor will be slightly expanding during great heat.
- You will likely have to cut the tiles at the corners of the patio or balcony to make the decking fit into the area to be covered. Do not use a tile saw, though, as the diamond blade might cause splinter. Better go for a miter, circular or even a scroll saw and make sure the blade you are using is suitable for cutting wood and the plastic underframe.
- You need to apply a finish, sealant or stain on your tiles to protect them from UV and water. If you want to stain, you can add certain color shades, e.g. dark or brown wood effects, to your tiles. Read more about the different types of oil and sealants in our dedicated section. Make sure the product you choose is compatible to the type of wood, particularly if you are going for exotic types of wood. Let your finish dry according to the instructions on the can.
Once you have installed your tiles, you will be enjoying the warmth of wood in your yard or on your balcony. Just make sure that you refinish it at least once or twice per year to maintain the durability and appearance of your wooden floor.
Wooden tiles, or their siblings made of composites like WPC, provide a comparatively quick and easy way to upgrade the appearance of your balcony and terrace.
(check current deals on Amazon)
With some preparation work and the right tools and materials, you can lay them on top of your existing decking and finish the job within 1 day or less. Do not forget a regular and proper maintenance and treatment, and you will be enjoying your hardwood floor for many years!
For more details on outdoor flooring, read our dedicated article.
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