Summer’s here, and that means returning to your outdoor patio after a long and especially frigid winter. For those of you may not have a patio but are considering building one, it is certainly not too late in the year to do so! Start now, and, depending on the climate where you live, you may be able to enjoy your new patio from now well into autumn.
You can build an outdoor patio from a wide range of materials, which you should certainly research before making a decision. This post offers a brief overview of some of the most popular patio materials used, examining their advantages and disadvantages.
Natural stone, including slate, quartzite, bluestone, and limestone, are popular options for building an outdoor patio. The most durable commercially available materials, natural stone resists wear and tear and retains its color long after being installed, even in adverse weather and intense sunlight.
One downside of natural stone is that as the most durable patio building material, it is also the most expensive. In addition, it can be hard to work with, as natural stone slabs are large, unwieldy, and difficult to fit together. Natural stone surfaces can also be rough and uneven to touch.
A cheaper alternative to natural stone is concrete pavers. They are not only less expensive than natural stone, but are also easier to build with, sold as thin slabs that can be laid over existing concrete. Concrete pavers also come in a wide range of colors, giving you many options should you use them to build your deck.
Although the strict, compact shapes of concrete pavers makes them easy to build with, it also means you have less freedom in using them to create unique patterns. Their cheaper price also comes at the cost of durability – concrete pavers are strong, but can’t withstand the abuse that natural stone takes. Over time, the pavers can chip away, exposing the concrete beneath.
If you find the strict shapes of concrete pavers too limiting to your imagination, consider building a patio out of concrete. Freshly poured concrete can be molded to fit any shape or design you like. This makes it perfect for building a deck with rounded edges. If poured and smoothed properly, the resulting patio surface will be flat, smooth, and easy to maintain. A concrete patio is a good project for novices, and fairly easy to do.
Although concrete is easy to shape and mold, mixing it requires focus and precision. An improper mixture can result in a structurally weak patio that cracks with exposure to adverse weather – particularly rain and snow. With rain comes another problem; smooth concrete is slippery when wet, meaning caution should be exercised, especially around swimming pools. Finally concrete is not as eye-popping as natural stone or even concrete pavers – a gray concrete patio may clash with a lush, beautiful garden.
Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles
Is concrete too bland for your patio? Then consider using either ceramic or porcelain tiles. Like concrete pavers, they can be easily be laid over an existing concrete surface, turning a bland surface into a lively one. They come in a wide range of styles and colors, and because indoor tiles are often made of ceramic or porcelain, using them on you patio creates a seamless transition from your house to your yard. Having said that, you should use tiles and grout specifically designed for outdoor use, as these will hold up to the elements than indoor tiles and grout.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles do not play well with water. First, they become slippery when wet, meaning you should avoiding building your outdoor patio near a swimming pool if you plan on using either type of tile. Additionally, ceramic and porcelain tiles hold water, which over time may allow a thin layer of algae to start growing on them (although this problem is easily alleviated with Wet & Forget Moss Mold Mildew & Algae Remover).
Bricks are one of the most popular options for outdoor patios. They are available in a wide assortment of sizes and colors, and can easily be arranged in different patterns to give your outdoor patio a unique look and feel.
While similar to concrete pavers in style and installation, bricks are expensive – not surprising given their high demand. Proper care must be taken when laying bricks, otherwise you will end up with an uneven surface when the mortar sets.
Outdoor Patio Furnishings
Don’t stop after building – get creative in decorating your new patio! Nothing will bring together your outdoor living space better than a well-placed fire pit, surrounded by comfortable chairs for your guests to sit on breezy summer nights. A hammock is also lovely to have, offering perfect spot to take a nap or read a book on a warm day. Even low-cost decorations such as wine tiki torches and tin can lanterns can enhance your patio. A more complete list of creative patio decorations can be found here.
The style of patio you choose to build will depend on your finances, your building skills, and the style of your home. Regardless of the material you use, it is important to remember that Wet & Forget Moss Mold Mildew & Algae is safe to use on any outdoor surface.
Building a solid, comfortable patio takes time and effort, but the payoff – the fun your family and guests will have and the comfort they will feel at your barbeques, birthday parties, and get-togethers – is more than worth it. You can even break in your new patio by throwing an alfresco dinner party with our ideas here. This summer, let Wet & Forget do the hard work of cleaning your new patio! Kick your shoes off with confidence, knowing your new patio surface is clean as well as comfortable under your feet.
Stop by our website to learn more about our easy solutions to everyday problems, so you can spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying the outdoors!