Comparing Patio Tile Materials and Installation

By Kif Richmann Created: June, 2017 - Modified: July, 2021

One of the benefits of today's patio tile technology and materials is that there are many different options to suit the specific needs of each individual user. You can find patio floor tiles made from plastic or rubber. You can choose interlocking products or tiles with simple straight edges. You can even choose artificial grass that looks surprisingly real. It seems like the options are endless!

From solid to perforated and square to dog-bone shaped, there are many options for you to choose for your patio.

Unfortunately, this creates a little bit of a challenge. With so many options, finding the right patio tiles can seem like a staggering decision. Choosing the perfect patio tiles for your specific space can be difficult, so you need the right information to help you make the right choice.

In many cases, it will come down to choosing all the right features for your needs. When you look at a few of the most basic items and features side-by-side, you can weigh the options and choose between one or the other. Do this enough times, and you'll eventually land on the exact patio floor tiles for your home.

Comparing Patio Tiles

Rubber vs. Plastic

Two of the most common materials used to create patio tiles are rubber and plastic. Each one has their advantage, and understanding the specifics of rubber vs. plastic patio floor tiles will help you decide which is right for you.


is very flexible and durable, giving your flooring a grippy and sometimes an almost springy feeling, depending on thickness, density and design. This makes rubber material popular for athletic facilities and pet play areas. However, rubber is also ideal for use as an outdoor surface for playgrounds and even patios. It will give you excellent comfort and result in a space that is reliable and affordable.

The Sterling Athletic Rubber Tile 1.25 Inch Gray is a great choice for any athletic facility, but this rubber patio tile can also be used in the exterior of your home or building. Many of the most popular rubber floor tiles are made from recycled material, making them highly effective and environmentally friendly. If you want a floor mat made from recycled materials, you can find many excellent options that are made from repurposed rubber.


tile is another popular option for outdoor areas, and it can often be designed to a specific style or be made to mimic a material, such as wood. For example, the Garden Deck Tile WPC blends plastic and wood, keeping the wood look and the benefits of plastic. Others, such as the flexible Staylock Tiles with with a perforated surface are excellent for installation over slightly uneven surfaces such as grass, dirt or gravel. With plastic decking, you get a space that is rugged and durable and can handle a lot of foot traffic. Many of the best plastic floor patio tiles are also very affordable, making them a great options for your space, especially when you need to save a few dollars.

Artificial Grass vs Traditional Tiles

Many people use traditional tiles to create a gorgeous look for their home, but one of the options that you can choose is to have artificial grass instead of a flat surface. Artificial grass certainly isn't for every purpose, but it can be effective for your space if you want a natural look.

A traditional tile simply has a flat or textured surface across the top. While many outdoor tiles are engineered for a slip-resistant nature, they don't have the natural look of artificial grass. Of course, not everyone wants artificial grass, and a more traditional outdoor tile will look best in walkways, gyms, and most patios.

Artificial grass is a popular choice because it creates the appearance and feel of a lush, healthy lawn. They are often a favorite for outdoor balconies and rooftop terraces, and they are especially effective when placed over cold, hard surfaces, such as concrete on walkways, patios, and rooftops. They can even be used as a convenient cover to water-damaged wood surfaces. Artificial grass gives you the look and feel of a healthy lawn without the hassle, making it a great option for your outdoor patio.

Solid vs. Perforated

When selecting tile, you should take a look at perforated options as well. While the first vision to come to many people's minds when thinking about patio tiles would be tiles with a solid surface, you may discover that perforated is right for you.

Perforated has many advantages over solid tiles. First of all is moisture release. With solid tiles, if any water or liquids get underneath the tile, it can be trapped for a very long time. If you don't have a good drainage system, you could have moisture buildup and even mold. Many perforated tiles are also lighter, as they don't have as much material. This can be an advantage when you need a tile that will be moved on a constant basis, such as tiles for trade shows, exhibits or if you tend to move frequently. Another important use for perforated tiles is pool decks. Pools areas can become slick with water, but a perforated patio tile allows the water to flow through and maintains excellent traction for bare feet. In fact, any area with consistent moisture will benefit from perforated tiles.

Solid tiles are popular for indoor areas and spaces that don't have as much water and other liquids. Solid tiles are often a better choice if your patio space will serve multiple purposes such as a gym or workout surface. However, if your patio space has a lot of water, then perforated patio tiles could be useful.

StayLock Tile is one of the top options for perforated patio tiles. These floor tiles fit together tightly, offer limited fall protection, and allow water to dry from underneath. They are waterproof and resistant to many acids and oils.

Interlocking vs. Straight-Edged

In many cases, one of the decisions you'll have to make while choosing patio tiles is between tile with interlocking connections or straight edges. Each one will have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Interlocking tiles, as you might have guessed, have interlocking connections of many different kinds. For example, you can choose interlocking patio tiles that have puzzle-mat connections, which fit together much like a jigsaw puzzle. There are also S-grip connections, tab 'n loop, and hidden locks, just to name a few. These types of edges have a strong connection, making them a great choice for areas where the tiles could slip and slide out of place. Interlocking tile are also the preferred choice for temporary flooring, such as trade shows.

Straight-edged tiles are good choices for areas that need a nice clean line between the tiles. With straight line edging, the seams are hard to notice, making the tiles more attractive to the visual eye. Many tiles come with slip-resistant materials and can be glued down if needed, allowing for better grip on the floor. When properly installed, a straight-edge rubber patio tile surface is perfect for outdoor areas.

Dog Bone vs Interlocking

There is another option for patio tiles that could be perfect for your needs, and that is dog-bone shapes. The symmetrical shape allows them to come together in infinite connections. This means you can fill as big or small of a room as you need. Dog bone pavers are often ideal for outdoor patios, and they make a great addition to any space.

One of the advantages of dog bone pavers is that they give the surface flooring an interesting design. They come together in an interesting staggered layout that makes the patio look stylish and visually engaging.

One of the top options for dog bone pavers is the Dog Bone Outdoor Paver Tiles. They are an affordable choice for your patio and are simple to install. They can control bacteria and dust and are made from 100% recycled tire rubber. When you want a durable dog bone paver for your patio or walkway, these tile will fit perfectly!

Find the Perfect Patio Tiles for Your Home

Ready to pick the right tiles for your home? Whether you need the easy installation of a straight-edged tile or the mold-fighting performance of a perforated tile, Greatmats has all the right options for your home.

As a national leader in specialty flooring, we have options for nearly any purpose. From dance floors to horse stalls to comfortable patios, we have excellent materials and world-class products that will make you happy for years.

Still not sure what you need? Contact us today and we'll help you make the right choice for your patio!

Choose Outdoor Patio Tile Surfaces