Flooring for outdoor terraces and balconies: tips for choosing the best products

In this article we will explore the best flooring solutions for terraces and balconies, reviewing the technical and aesthetic opportunities that a versatile material like porcelain stoneware has to offer. The ceramic market provides specific technologies and finishes for outdoor use, creating exterior floors – even floating ones – that are safe, practical, and durable. Combining top-of-the-line performance with stylish looks that are able to anticipate trends in outdoor design has never been so easy.

Terraces and balconies are spaces that can be used in many ways: for relaxing, outdoor dining, entertaining friends, urban gardening, and more. The flooring of these outdoor environments must meet specific technical criteria (such as respecting slopes and being slip resistant), but it must also be in harmony with the rest of the home’s design. In addition to its durability, practicality, and ease of cleaning, terrace and balcony flooring must be carefully evaluated from an aesthetic standpoint.

Exterior Flooring for  Terraces: Why choose porcelain stoneware? 

Among the most popular solutions for terrace and balcony flooring, porcelain stoneware is undoubtedly the most suitable. It is, in fact, highly resistant to both mechanical stress and weather conditions, including exposure to frost, fire, salt, and sunlight, which can put the colour of any material to the test. Furthermore, it is very versatile (it can even be laid on plastic supports), easy to clean, and requires no maintenance over time.

Lea Ceramiche’s collections offer many porcelain stoneware solutions for balconies: products with stylish looks and in various formats and thicknesses that create inviting and functional outdoor spaces.    

How to Choose Tiles for Balconies and Terraces

When evaluating the flooring for an outdoor space, whether it is a terrace, balcony, veranda, portico, or patio, it is important to consider a series of factors, such as:  

  • The level of stress: if a high degree of foot traffic is expected (perhaps because it is in a public place), one can opt for 20 mm thick porcelain stoneware, specifically designed for outdoor applications.
  • Exposure to the elements: all porcelain stoneware is frost-proof and non-absorbent. Nevertheless, if the terrace or balcony is uncovered, it is necessary to choose a surface with a high slip-resistance. This value is always indicated in the technical appendices of catalogues and must be equal to or greater than R11.
  • Personal style: high performance from a technical standpoint, porcelain stoneware for terraces and balconies is also available in a wide range of designer looks that perfectly emulate or reinterpret the materials that inspired them.

Safe and Frost Resistant Tiles for Terraces

Frost is an important factor to keep in mind when selecting the most suitable tiles for the flooring of terraces and balconies. When you choose porcelain stoneware, you can count on a material that is able to withstand freezing temperatures and has an appropriate coefficient of thermal expansion.  Furthermore, surfaces designed for outdoor use are slip-resistant because, as previously mentioned, they have a dynamic friction coefficient equal to or greater than R11. Furthermore, there is a wide range of finishes available for stoneware: one of the most recent innovations is a new finish that combines outstanding slip resistance with a uniquely soft feel, commonly found in the finishes used for interior floors. Tiles with this finish can be used from the living room to the terrace and from the kitchen to poolside, ensuring aesthetic continuity to the entire architectural project.

Floating Floors for Terraces: Many Benefits

Outdoor raised floors are created by installing 20 mm thick porcelain stoneware tiles on adjustable supports The substantial thickness of this kind of porcelain stoneware makes floating floors safe and easy to install, as well as extremely resistant to heavy loads. Among the numerous benefits that this solution offers, at least four must be mentioned:

  1. efficient drainage of rainwater;
  2. the ease with which cables, pipes, and systems can be visually concealed while still remaining accessible;
  3. the elimination of concrete screed, which significantly reduces the weight on architectural structures;
  4. thermal insulation: floating floors provide good thermal insulation, helping to keep terraces and balconies cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

To learn more about 20mm stoneware, our technical manual includes a section dedicated entirely to outdoor floating floors.

Terraces and Balconies That (Also) Focus on Design

In this regard, trends in outdoor design are constantly evolving, with a variety of tiles for terraces and exterior environments, offering a wide range of styles. Let’s take a look at the latest collections from Lea Ceramiche  for each of the most frequently requested looks by designers and architects:

  • Wood look porcelain stoneware for exteriors: Bio Attitude captures the true essence of oak, rediscovering the beauty that the nuances of natural wood can acquire over time and in different weather conditions.
  • Stone look porcelain stoneware for terraces and outdoor spaces:  Nextone offers stone look flooring inspired by a combination of stones from four different quarries to create a specifically engineered look that is unique and original    , with a natural and balanced aesthetic.
  • Cement look porcelain stoneware: developed by Ferruccio Laviani, Masterpiece offers a range of colours and textures that inspire distinctive surfaces (also for the outdoors), the expression of a singular and creative vision of modern living.

If it is time to renovate your terrace, explore Lea Ceramiche’s collections featuring L2 technology or specific finishes for outdoor use, ensuring a perfect blend of safety, performance, and design.