Tiles or Pavers?

Tiles or pavers - what will you choose for outdoors? You might be having trouble deciding. So the information below might assist you to decide.

What's the difference between pavers and tiles outdoors?

As a rule, pavers are thicker than tiles.This is because pavers are laid onto a soft surface and therefore need to be stronger. Pavers have no cement base and no grout or mortar between them. They are fitted together like jigsaw puzzle pieces. The reason for this is to keep costs down. Also it makes the job easier. Moreover you can change your mind later and move them without much effort. Because tiles are much thinner, they need a solid base installed below them, such as cement or masonite. Then they are glued down and the spaces between them are filled with grout. Consequently they are joined solidly together. However there are some other alternatives - see Types of Tiles.

Apart from these differences, tiles or pavers can be made of the same materials. Consequently they can look the same. However pavers will be more expensive than tiles of the same material, because of their thickness.

Advantages of tiles

Your design might require a high quality finish either indoors or outdoors. Therefore tiles would be great. There is also a greater variety of outdoor tiles than pavers. Additionally you may prefer a long lasting fixed surface rather than something which could shift. Perhaps safety is a consideration, so you might consider the firm, even walking surface of tiles. Verticals, such as walls in wet areas, are very well served by tiles. Tiles will suit these requirements and also be easy to clean and maintain. They will look good for a long time. Furthermore the various types of tiles allow you to maximize your creative style with an infinite variety of geometric patterns, mosaics and colours.

Noteworthy is that tiles do not have to be joined flush next to each other. You would do that for a formal look. However they can also be individually placed among grass, turf, gravel or pebbles for a different aesthetic outdoors. Alternately, tiles can be dotted dotted here and there on concrete, or painted or rendered walls anywhere for a decorative look. Tiles or pavers would both work in this application. For steps, you can get bullnose tiles that have a solid rounded edge. The advantages of the bullnose edge is durability, safety and good looks. See also our Landscaping site.

Finally, porcelain tiles are very resistant to water and chemicals. Thus they can be a great choice for driveways.

Advantages of pavers

Pavers require no cement underlay because of their extra thickness. The only base they may require is a sand or fine gravel layer to even out the ground. This cheaper preparation can more than offset the greater cost of the pavers. They also can be moved much more easily than tiles if a change is required. For the same reason, a damaged paver can be replaced quite quickly whereas a damaged tile is harder to remove. Furthermore in high impact and traffic areas, pavers might be more robust. This is especially true for the ones without glazed surfaces.

Disadvantages of tiles

You might be on a tight budget for your outdoor design. In that case, compare pavers and tiles for the purpose you have in mind. Tiles outdoors may be subjected to stresses that damage them. Examples would be power tools, heavy equipment and vehicles scratching or cracking them. Some types of tiles will be more susceptible than others.

Glazed and stone tiles which get damaged, eg chipped, cannot be repaired so must be replaced.

Finally you might find it difficult to get more of the same design to replace damaged ones.

These problems are less of a concern indoors though, because the areas are generally smaller. Also, the tiles will not be subjected to the same level of stress as outside. However tile grout indoors or outdoors can discolour. You'll need to clean and regularly re-seal them to keep their fresh look.

Disadvantages of pavers

Because pavers are not cemented down and joined together, they can move. Soil movement, water erosion, tree roots and foot traffic can shift them. However this problem is not difficult to fix. Another disadvantage is that some of the natural stone pavers require periodic sealing to keep their original look.


Ultimately you'll have to consider the spaces you wish to surface, and also your design and budget. Will tiles or pavers suit your outdoor surfaces best?

Call us today on 02-9098-6920 for a free quote to help you decide.