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Terrace with tiles on pedestals or bonded terrace - what to choose? Advantages and disadvantages of the systems.

Józef Baar
tiles for the floor or a glued terrace - comparison
Especially for you, we have prepared a comparison of two mounting systems for terrace cladding - a terrace with tiles with a terrace made of tiles mounted on an adhesive mortar.
In this article you will learn:
What are the features of a ventilated terrace
You can easily compare the features of a terrace made of ceramic tiles with a glued terrace
You will find out if you can arrange the boards correctly yourself

We often come across questions about what is it like - a ventilated terrace with tiles or bonded terrace? Which is better to choose? Will a really ventilated terrace made of terrace pavers last much more? In which system is it easier to lay the boards?

In this article, we will try to clarify important points. We will compare the two systems so that you can decide which system is more suitable for you. 

Traditional terrace - porcelain stoneware glued to the substrate.

Porcelain tiles glued to the substrate for the mortar
Porcelain tiles glued to the substrate for the mortar

The system of installing tiles on the terrace in a traditional way involves sticking them permanently to the floor. An appropriate layer of glue is applied to the pavers and then the tiles are glued to the waterproofing located on the concrete screed. Usually it is a heat-sealable roofing felt or liquid foil.

Are you wondering what choice to make? What for the balcony and what for the terrace? Are there any guidelines on what is better for a small balcony area and what is better for a large terrace?

Well no!

Choose what you like!

What's on the balcony? Well, you can choose both ceramic terrace tiles, but you can also use concrete slabs. The boards will also look great. Natural ones need more attention and composite ones are more self-sufficient.

Floor tiles with a size of 30x30 cm are most often used. After sticking them to the substrate, the gaps between the boards are tightly filled with joint mortar in order to protect the exposed places against water penetration under the layers of the tiles.

The space under the glued tile must be fully filled with adhesive mortar. Any free space may generate problems in the future. Permanent humidity in the atmosphere as well as temperature changes (sun / frost) cause the accumulation of water in the left gaps (steam condenses). The water accumulated over time, under the influence of repeated freezing, expands its volume and causes irreparable damage. The pavers are peeling off, the grout is crumbling and the entire floor has to be replaced.

Moreover, terraced anti slip outdoor tiles have a rigid structure. The building is still working and settling over the years. Tensions arise in the layer of pavers, which can lead to cracks in the stoneware and joints between them. As a result, the floor is permanently damaged.

Due to the size of the damage and the specificity of the gres, the only thing we can do to repair the wall floor is to replace all the materials. The entire floor to date.

The damaged ceramic outdoor tiles together with the grout and glue should be removed. Repair the damaged waterproofing and then select a new lining.

It is important that we conduct systematic technical inspections of the terrace. If the repair takes place within a short period of time, it can be performed under the above-mentioned conditions. Only if the water does not get into the lower layers of the ceiling is it possible to replace the top layer itself.

Leaving a damaged floor made of glued tiles for a longer period generates incredible damage. In the long run, it leads to the permanent destruction of all layers of the terrace. In such a situation, the repair consists in removing and replacing all layers of the floor / ceiling: tiles, adhesive mortar, waterproofing and drying the concrete layer. And this is associated with high costs.

Here is an example of a tiled terrace that is attached to the substrate with glue. However, after some time of use, the floor was damaged. Despite the poor condition of the floor, the outdoor surface was repaired.

With one exception…

as a new solution, it was decided that the outdoor surface tiles would be placed on adjustable pedestals in the ventilated outdoor tiles system.

Ventilated terrace - ceramic outdoor pavers freely placed on terrace support pads.


Oytdoor tile of three different types are usually placed on terrace supports, whether they are adjustable or fixed:

  • ceramic tile
  • concrete patio outdoor paver
  • and stone tile

Their size is often 60x60 cm with a thickness of about 2 cm and 5 cm. However, other dimensions are also available on the market, e.g. 30x90 or 30x120 cm. Outdoor tiles also have different thicknesses. They can be about 2 cm, but also about 5 cm.

In the case of ventilated terraces, we must take care to maintain the appropriate parameters of the stiffness of the substrate.

Of course, the concrete screed meets them in every case, but for example for styrodur the minimum requirements specified by the manufacturers are characterized by XPS 200. Its pressure resistance is sufficient to keep the terrace stiff. By following the guidelines, the adjustable pedestals will not sink into the ground over the years. And we won't have any damage.

Remember, a properly prepared substrate will ensure good use of the floor tiles for years. 

The adjustable pedestals also allow us to keep the thickness of the joints even. We can choose whether it should be 3 or 5 mm.

For ceramic tiles, 3 mm is recommended, but for concrete tiles, the even parameters of which may differ, it is recommended to use 5 mm thick joints.
grout the gap between the ceramic tiles on the balcony on the adjustable pedestals
grout the gap between the ceramic tiles on the balcony on the adjustable pedestals

Maintaining the gap between adjacent tiles allows free drainage of water from the surface of the tiles. This solution works well on external outdoor areas in our climate. In this technology, we do not use glue or mortars, so water does not penetrate into them. It is the water absorption of these materials that is a huge problem.

The biggest advantage of the raised tiles adjustable pedestals  technology is that we can replace each outdoor tile separately at any time without any problems. We can pick it up, clean the ground under the surface and put it back in the right place. When it fails, we also replace only the one that has succumbed to it.
laying terrace tiles with the help of adjustable pedestals
laying anti slip terrace tiles with the help of adjustable pedestals

Is it possible to install a outdoor patio tiles on your own? 

Laying tiles on a ventilated floor tiles on fixed or adjustable pedestals is extremely simple.

 Thanks to such simple and innovative solutions, you can install the tiles on the terrace / balcony yourself.

montage terrace tiles on adjustable pedestals

Montage raised outdoor terrace we describe in other article

You found this here 

The level of complexity of making a outdoor flooring with concrete slabs or all other slabs on adjustable pedestals depends on the shape of the floor surface contour. It turns out to be more difficult to properly match the panels on small and asymmetrical balconies, which generate a lot of waste on the panels through a small area. The plus is that when you are wondering what to look for a balcony, due to its surface, everything can be carefully drawn and calculated.

1.If it is a rectangle and the substrate is rigid, e.g. a concrete floor, installation is quick and uncomplicated. You do not need to perform soil stabilization, which often requires the removal of about 20 cm and sometimes even 30 cm of turf and soil with humus.

2. In the case of outdoor flooring with rounded edges, cutting the boards may be a problem for an inexperienced fitter. Special equipment is also needed for this.

3. If it is a outdoor flooring on the ground, it should be stabilized. The supports cannot be placed directly on the ground. This may result in destabilization during the use of the outdoor patios, collapse of the adjustable pedestals, softening of the ground, etc.

what is the installation of stoneware on the stands - the possibility of using it on home terraces
What is the installation of stoneware on the stands - the possibility of using it on home terraces
You can lay the raised floor directly on a rigid base.

No need to arrange special structures.

Such a substrate can be, for example:

  • concrete screed with hydroisolation (or without if there are no rooms under the slab)
  • concrete openwork tiles
  • blocks from concrete
  • or even old paving stones, e.g. from demolition.

There is no need to use new elements. It is worth looking for old records in the area. Maybe someone was replacing their pavement and wants to get rid of unnecessary tiles from the garden. They should be in the area without a problem.

Remember, do not place the adjustable pedestals on unpaved ground. 

Terrace with tiles

glued terrace

a comparison prepared especially for you!

Fast montage time
Can be used immediately
after assembly
Self-montage possible
Freezing resistance, water absorption
Possibility of joining
several types of tiles
Necessary purchase of
additional elements,
e.g. grout, glue, adjustable pedestals
The possibility of replacing
a single tiles
The tiles are durable and resistant
Table of advantages and disadvantages of ventilated terraces and terraces glued to the floor.

This is how the features / properties of glued and ventilated outdoor flooring are shaped.

The above comparison shows that the terrace made of terrace tiles, regardless of the system in which it is installed, i.e. whether the tiles are glued to the adhesive mortar or placed on adjustable pedestals in the ventilated floor system, each of them requires the purchase of additional accessories. You can't just tile the terrace floor. They have to be fixed there somehow and it is either glue or an adjustable or fixed height adjustable pedestals.

We can also see in this comparison that the terrace made of terrace tiles is a durable finish for the external floor.

However, this is where the similarities end. 

A terrace made of terrace tiles on pedestals, whether adjustable or of a fixed height, has the advantages of an ordinary terrace made of glued panels.

We can easily install such a terrace ourselves, because we only need to put the tiles on top of the pedestals. Assembly time is also much faster. An important advantage is that such a ventilated terrace can be used immediately after assembly. It does not require us to wait for anything to dry, bind, etc. You can walk on such mounted panels immediately.

Due to the fact that the water has a place to drain away, the terrace made of terrace tiles on pedestals is resistant to freezing or any absorption of any kind.

And finally, an important point: a damaged single plate can be replaced in a matter of moments. The old, damaged board should be removed and replaced with a new one. It is important that it has the same thickness.

Did the information we provided help you in making your decision? Have we dispelled your doubts? If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

In the meantime, check out some interesting solutions with the use of adjustable pedestals.

As mentioned above, thanks to the adjustable pedestals, you can adjust various levels on the terrace, e.g. get rid of stairs or a threshold. You will also overcome the revisions and drains on the terrace.

You will adapt to the already existing elements of the terrace, e.g. curbs, stone pots, balustrades, etc.

A very interesting solution is also the combination of several different types / types of tiless. It is best if they have the same thickness, but their difference can be managed.

Thanks to specially designed steel clips, in ventilated terraces made of tiles, you can install a masking edge to cover the substructure, adjustable pedestals and others supports located there or all other installations under the terrace.
In wooden or composite decking terraces, clips are not needed.

You can find more valuable tips and ideas for arranging terraces at home here.

Updated June 06.2021

A complete guidebook page to ventilated terraces.

Check out our complete guidebook page to ventilated terrace technology. Everything about the design, montage and application of terraces on adjustable pedestals and support pads in one place.

It is the only such complete page about raised terrace on the Internet.

Check out the guidebook

Read more about outdoor flooring with adjustable pedestals

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