When the weather starts to warm, a patio or deck is the perfect space for relaxing outside. However, outdoor spaces like patios and decks are subject to harsher conditions than indoor spaces. This applies especially to outdoor floor spaces. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the pros and cons on different outdoor flooring materials. If you have a patio or deck renovation coming up, pay close attention.
Outdoor Flooring Options
- Wood Tiles – Easy to install, wood deck tiles are laid on top of existing concrete surfaces. They are an easy way to renovate an existing concrete deck, patio, or walkway. They require the same treatment as a wood deck.
- Pressure-Treated Wood Planks – This economical option will last about 15 years when installed properly and should be treated with a water repellent every two years. Some types can be prone to splintering and may turn muddy gray if left untreated with stain or sealer. Some preservatives in pressure treated wood are linked to health problems so make sure you use a product that is avoids harmful chemicals.
- Redwood, Cedar, and Tropical Hardwood / Ipe – Expensive but beautiful. Redwood and cedar are not well suited to sustained exposure to moisture. Tropical hardwood is a better fit for humid regions like Florida. Ipe is a durable tropical hardwood that is twice as strong as oak and more durable that redwood and cedar. With a life expectancy of 40 years or more, if you can afford the expense it is a good investment.
- Stone / Concrete Pavers – Often manufactured to look like natural stone or brick, patio pavers are a durable and economical option for patios and walkways. If you aren’t using an interlocking design, you may want to ring your pavers to prevent them from spreading over time.
- Clay Brick – This material gives your patio a distinguished look and can be used to create a myriad of patio and walkway shapes. Individual bricks may crack over time, but are easily replaced.
- Concrete – Durable and inexpensive, but subject to cracking over time. Poured concrete is able to pour into any form and is ideal as a base for a patio covered in glazed decorative / mosaic tile. Make sure your concrete patio is designed to allow sloping for adequate drainage.
- Gravel – Quick and easy. Gravel can be used for simple garden walkways or entire patios. Keep in mind that gravel is loose and may shift over time. It is not the best support for outdoor furniture and may be uncomfortable on bare feet. If you plan on making your gravel space bare-foot friendly, use round, pebble-like stones.
- Plastic-Wood Composites – This recycled plastic and wood composite material is low-maintenance and durable. Some composite lumber has a plastic appearance and may fade over time.
- Flagstone – This is an attractive choice that is available in earthy tones of red, blue, and buff. The irregular shaping of this natural material adds to the appeal. Flagstone should be installed by a professional as it is a difficult material to work with. Because it is prone to erosion and splitting, only install in locations with adequate drainage.
- Stone Tile – Expensive and requires a professional to install, but a very good investment. Once installed, stone tile is extremely durable and nearly maintenance-free.
- Ceramic Tile – Outdoor ceramic tile must be slip-resistant and durable. Can incorporate beautiful mosaic design and colorful patterns. Only choose outdoor varieties and make sure to treat with a sealant to prevent cracking.