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Outdoor tiles: natural or ceramic stone?

Arkistone 20 mm hi-thick stoneware floor tiles

Natural stone and ceramics: which is the best outdoor flooring?

Natural stone, from an architect's or designer's point of view, is one of the best flooring materials that can be used to best effect in every room of the project, including the exterior.

From the perspective of the homeowner, the ideal floor tiles, such as porcelain outdoor tile, should first and foremost create an eye-catching effect in beautiful outdoor spaces and require very little maintenance, especially outdoors.

Which of the two materials can meet each of these requirements? We find the answer in ceramics. Thanks to their malleability and resistance, hard-wearing outdoor tiles made from porcelain are the perfect choice for both indoor and outdoor use.

Whether for simple or particularly challenging environments, these beautiful floorings have the advantage to adapt to any style and withstand all kinds of stress, even the harshest winters. Moreover, they offer anti-slip properties and are weatherproof, ensuring safety and durability.

For those looking for tips and inspiration on how to incorporate these tiles into their projects, ceramics provide endless possibilities in various formats.

Low maintenance and durability make porcelain stoneware one of the best materials for:

  • balconies
  • terraces
  • courtyards
  • gardens
  • pathways
  • driveways
  • pool sides

providing a seamless surface between indoors and outdoors.

The ceramic tiles processing has evolved over time to achieve outstanding results, both in terms of performance and style, equalling the aesthetics of natural stone and totally surpassing it in terms of performance and quality.

Stone-effect ceramic tiles have a refined and luxury appearance, are long-lasting, and require very little maintenance. Let's take a further look at the technical features of porcelain stoneware, comparing stone-effect ceramic tiles and natural stone tiles to better understand why the former are a more reliable option.

What are the differences between stone-effect ceramics and natural stone?

Stone effect-ceramics and natural stone have some features in common, but also differences related to their origin and structure, whether primitive or artificial.

Natural stone can look durable and resistant.

A stone outdoor tile can withstand stress, but it is more easily compromised by exposure to extreme temperatures, deteriorating in the cold, and overheating in the summer.

Stone-effect ceramics precisely achieve any design target, with a better degree of strength and porosity than natural stone. This is because the technology behind porcelain stoneware today allows it to withstand even the harshest weather conditions.

Comparison between stone effect and natural stone: pros and cons

Stone-effect ceramic tiles and natural stone tiles are therefore equally popular choices for outdoor flooring. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, which deserve to be explored in depth for an informed and appropriate choice.

Outdoor tiles: pros and cons of ceramics

When it comes to setting up an outdoor space, stone-effect tiles are the most frequent choice. All this thanks to their versatility and the excellent quality/price ratio of the ceramic material.

Pros of stone-effect ceramics for outdoors:

  • Outdoor stoneware tiles are of high quality and replicate natural stone in all respects, both aesthetically and technically;
  • The range of colours, graphics, and effects is greater in ceramics than in stone;
  • Stone-effect ceramics is waterproof, which is an important feature when it comes to choosing an outdoor paving tile;
  • Ceramics is highly resistant;
  • A stone-effect ceramic tile requires very little maintenance and this also applies to the outdoor areas where it is installed.

Cons of stone-effect ceramics for outdoors:

  • The absence of pores can make installation more challenging, as adhesives need to adhere to the porcelain stoneware tiles for better performance.
  • The mortar used for installation may require additional maintenance.

Outdoor tiles: pros and cons of natural stone

Natural stone tiles can characterise exteriors and gardens in an iconic and striking way. As with their porcelain opponent, they have advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of natural stone for outdoors:

  • Each natural stone tile is unique in size and features;
  • The elegance of stone is easy to imitate, but in some cases difficult to overcome;
  • Garden and outdoor tiles made of natural stone can add value to an estate.

Cons of natural stone for outdoors:

  • Stone is one of the most expensive materials for external paving;
  • Due to the natural unevenness of the surface, thicker adhesives are required for installation;
  • Some types of natural stone may deform if the wrong adhesive is used;
  • Natural stone forces us to deal with the colours and effects of the quarries from which it is extracted, reducing our range of choice;
  • The porosity of natural stone makes it sensitive to moisture, facilitating the creation of stains.

Why should ceramics be preferred to natural stone?

What makes a ceramic tile so special and particularly suitable for outdoor use?

Ceramics is environmental-friendly. Porcelain stoneware comes from a natural material using sustainable resources. Changing flooring or disposing of old tiles does not have a major impact on the environment, not least because of its ease of disposal.

Ceramics is resistant. When properly installed, no other floor tiling can offer as much ease and comfort as a ceramic surface. A porcelain stoneware flooring can be cleaned easily with common products, without the need for specific solutions.

Dirt, liquids, and stains can be washed or wiped away easily, restoring cleanliness and strength to the tiles. This feature is particularly advantageous in outdoor spaces that are subject to foot traffic or in damp environments, such as those near a swimming pool.


Ceramics is versatile. Thanks to its ease of processing and impeccable rendering in terms of colour and texture, finding the most suitable ceramic tile for outdoor use will never be an issue. Textured coloured tiles,  decorated with designs and geometric patterns: in the world of ceramic tiles, originality is limitless. The simplicity with which ceramics is processed makes it possible to create all kinds of patterns and sizes, allowing interior decorators to indulge in all kinds of solutions.

Ceramics is made to last. Nothing lasts forever... but ceramic tiles can accompany us for a very long time. A porcelain stoneware surface preserves its beauty and integrity from year to year, resisting changes of season and temperature, humidity, and weather, making it a perfect candidate for outdoor paving.

Ceramics surprise us with FX. Ceramic tiles make surfaces precious, enriching any outdoor space. It's not just a matter of adaptability and originality: tangible qualities such as durability and sustainability offer those who choose ceramics the best value for money. Glazed or unglazed, ceramic tiles are the perfect choice for elegantly glamorous, highly performing outdoor stone-effect floorings.

Stone-effect stoneware for exteriors: what applications? Three ideas from Marca Corona

Stone-effect tiles: Historica outdoor large slabs
Stone-effect tiles: Historica outdoor large slabs

Minimalist courtyards with Historica

The courtyard of a house can become a prestigious and much sought-after space, especially in flats and residences in large cities, far from nature.

Often urban courtyards cannot rely on large surface areas and designers use every detail at their disposal to make these places more pleasant. The choice of tiles is not underestimated: stone-effect porcelain stoneware helps to create a link between the contemporary style of homes and nature, making new metropolitan spaces human scale.

The Historica collection meets these requirements for outdoor ceramic stone floor pavings, enhancing residential and commercial outdoor projects. Historica exploits the aesthetics of the 20-mm thick HiThick line to enhance the space of courtyards, relying on the larger size of the extended slabs and various types of large rectified sizes, thus creating unique surfaces with a modern and striking character.

Do you want to add value to the space of a contemporary courtyard?


Design terraces with Vie della Pietra

The terrace is the new living room, especially for those who can enjoy an outdoor space without leaving their home. Paying attention to this type of flooring becomes a must: the renovation of the outdoor space becomes imperative if it is not properly maintained.

Porcelain stoneware is the best choice for a stylish and reliable terrace, able to withstand the weather and maintain its charm over time. The look of the stone effect exploits the chromatic and morphological features of the reference material to harmonise the home space with the surrounding nature.

Vie della Pietra is the collection of outdoor ceramic tiles particularly suitable for the restyling of charming and sustainable terraces. The unprecedented non-rectified 22.5x22.5 and 22.5x45 sizes give the spaces a contemporary and modern character, in line with the latest outdoor trends.

Are you looking for an exclusive proposal for a flawless stone-effect terrace?


Outdoor flooring Vie della Pietra
Outdoor flooring Vie della Pietra

Dreamy swimmingpools with StoneOne

StoneOne Hi-thick 20 mm stone-effect large tiles
StoneOne Hi-thick 20 mm stone-effect large tiles


The iconic look upgrades the pool to status symbol.

The aesthetics of the stone effect embellish the environment with intriguing, movie-like suggestions, while the practicality of porcelain stoneware offers the best possible guarantees in terms of water and heat resistance, ease of cleaning, and anti-slip safety.

StoneOne marble-effect tiles are the perfect choice for a dream swimming pool.

The surfaces of the collection are characterised by a deep and expressive aspect, capable of fully exploiting the material charm of stone and the metropolitan character of the concrete effect, with an authentic and precise character.

Do you want to make your pool iconic and safe?


The fascination of stone effect starts with the design: which one to choose?

Thanks to the versatility of porcelain stoneware, the use of stone-effect tiles for outdoor design provides every designer with unlimited creative possibilities.

From the point of view of architects and designers, the choice of material is strongly influenced by its ability to guarantee stylistic continuity in the design of houses, parks, commercial structures, both for interior and exterior environments.

The adaptability of stone-effect porcelain stoneware and the variety of sizes it can create achieve a harmonious dialogue between indoors and outdoors in a single solution, for an impeccably harmonious in & out experience.

How to choose the right stone-effect collection? When we talk about integrated furniture surfaces, we start with the choice of colour for indoor spaces. The article "Stone Effect and Interior Design: 5 trendy colours" is an excellent starting point to evaluate some of the most trendy solutions, using some of the ceramic proposals by Marca Corona.

Stone-effect porcelain stoneware offers architects and exterior designers unparalleled versatility, adapting to any style without compromising strength and aesthetic effectiveness.

Are you looking for the perfect stone-effect tile collection for your indoor and outdoor floor?



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