Interlocking deck tiles are modular tiles typically 12" x 12" in size which are constructed with a plastic base with locking tabs on all four sides. These tabs enable the tiles to be simply snapped together over any firm surface. So they can be laid directly over surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, old tiled surfaces, bricks and pavers and suchlike. And with suitable surface preparation, they can even be laid over bare ground.
And one of the beauties of interlocking deck tiles is that they can be quite forgiving of cracked concrete surfaces. So if your old patio is suffering from cracks and minor pitting or other damages, firstly you don't need to repair the surface unless the cracking is too bad that there is a significant height difference on either side of cracks. In most cases, you can simply lay the deck tiles directly over the top of the existing concrete.
Another advantage of interlocking deck tiles is that the plastic base allows water to drain away freely from underneath the tiles. This means that the top surface will dry out as quickly as possible and will avoid any puddles from forming on the surface which could create a slip hazard.
And the biggest advantage of using interlocking deck tiles is that they are so quick and easy to install and don't really require any particular skills. Anyone who has ever laid conventional tiles would be aware of the frustration in ensuring that the spacing between the tiles remains even, that grout lines remain straight and parallel and that the height of the tiles bedded into the thinset or adhesive remains consistent. With interlocking deck tiles you don't have to worry about any of this. Because of the built-in interlocking tabs, complete accuracy is assured when installing the tiles because they simply snap into place.
These days, interlocking, tiles are available in a wide range of materials. So not only can you cover your deck with wood tiles in a variety of different species so that it will look like a natural wood deck, but there are also slate deck tiles, sandstone deck tiles, composite wood deck tiles and granite deck tiles. All these will basically have the same properties as the original surfacing materials. Although it might seem somewhat odd, with the stone tiles, you don't even need to insert any grout between the tiles. As with the wood tiles, the gaps between the tiles are left open and allow water to drain away quickly from the top of the surface down between the gaps in the tiles. Stone tiles may also have a textured coating or surface treatment so they will generally exhibit excellent slip resistance.
And of course the tiles can be used on much more than just patios. They are ideal for use in apartment buildings on balconies and rooftops, especially since they can conveniently be carried out elevators or stairs and used where permanently fixed materials are prohibited. And since there is no adhesive or grouting involved, it's a practically mess free installation method with practically no tools required either - a great boon for apartment dwellers.
Maintenance requirements for interlocking deck tiles are essentially the same as the material that is used on the surface. So for example if you were using wood deck tiles, the colour of the wood will fade and turn to a silvery grey over time when fully exposed to sunlight just as with a conventional wood deck. So it's always recommended to apply a good-quality decking oil at regular intervals to reduce this rate of fading. And with composite wood and stone tiles, it is always advisable to apply a sealer to reduce water penetration and staining.
But for a quick, easy to install and convenient way of resurfacing an existing hard surface, it's hard to go past interlocking outdoor deck tiles.