This guide shows the advantages and disadvantages as well as the properties of the different outdoor patio flooring coverings such as durability, low-maintenance, and easy to maintain. Find out here which covering you should choose for your outdoor space and which criteria are important when making a decision. There are a lot of options to choose from, be it paver, brick, outdoor carpet, artificial grass, stamped concrete, and more. Your patio floor can be covered with so many different flooring options.
Types Of Outdoor Patio Flooring Ideas
When it comes to flooring for patio ideas, there is a lot of options to consider. Floorboards made of wood or WPC (Wood Polymer Composites), a mixture of wood and plastic, have a particularly warm look.
However, you need a stable substructure, so that the laying effort and costs for the terrace covering is significantly higher than with click tiles or gravel and grit. The base material is less resistant to wind and weather than paving stones or tiles and requires regular cleaning and care. Compared to natural stones, however, it is the cheaper choice.
Depending on their surface made of wood, WPC, or natural stone, click tiles offer numerous optical variants. They are very easy to install and remove – which makes them particularly suitable for rented apartments. Compared to tiles or stone, they are less robust and in combination with wood, the care intensity also increases. However, since they do not require a substructure, this covering is relatively inexpensive.
Outdoor deck tiles appear cooler than wood but are also easier to care for and more robust. They have a longer service life than wooden or WPC boards, but they are also a bit more expensive. Laying this material yourself requires experience and skill and is, therefore, more demanding. The durability of outdoor tiles is longer than that of wood, WPC, or click tiles.
Stone slabs are available in different colors and shapes made of natural material or concrete. They look very high quality and are robust and durable. Compared to tiles or floorboards, they are easier to lay and require less maintenance. On the other hand, the costs for a stone terrace are usually higher.
Paving stones offer great design possibilities due to their versatility. Depending on the material, size, and shape, the price range can be very different: natural stone looks very harmonious in the garden but is expensive to buy. The more sober functional patch is visually less appealing but has lower costs. The laying effort is also different. The effort is worth it in the long term because plaster is very resistant and durable.
Gravel and grit can be used in many different ways and adapt to individual ideas in different colors and sizes. As bulk goods, they can be laid in a short time and since no substructure is required, they are comparatively inexpensive. They are more resistant than wood, but require significantly more care than tiles or stone, as green can sprout between the stones.
Outdoor Flooring Material Options To Explore
- Decking Boards
- Click TilesExterior Tiles
- Grit & Gravel
- Composite Wood Decking Boards (WPC)
- Composite Natural Stone Design (WPC)
- Other options. Check out our article on outdoor Vinyl flooring options.
Composite Decking Boards (WPC) Or Wood
- Wood and WPC floorboards are considered particularly homely. They give the terrace a lively and cozy character and can create a ship or jetty character in the garden.
- The grain of the natural material wood is varied and lively. Even in strong sunlight, it does not heat up, but remains pleasantly warm and is therefore easy to walk on barefoot.
- However, some types of wood tend to splinter. The various types of wood also differ in terms of durability, maintenance requirements, and ease of installation.
- The composite material WPC (Wood-Plastic-Composites), which consists of different amounts of wood, plastic, and other additives, is visually reminiscent of natural decking boards. However, the individual grain is missing, but the material requires less care. In contrast to their natural wood models, WPC planks are available as hollow chambers and full profiles. Hollow products are lighter and cheaper than solid planks, but they are more likely to deform or become brittle.
- WPC is ideal when maintenance and care should take as little time as possible.
Tip: If, in addition to a natural look, you are concerned about the ecological aspects of decking, wooden decking is recommended.
- Natural look (for wood) and is almost natural for WPC
- Large color selection.
- Pleasant to walk barefoot (in the case of wood). The Composite (WPC) can get a little hotter in summer.
- Shorter durability compared to other choices – especially if deck planks are made from softwood.
- Wood requires a lot of maintenance.
- Strong surface heating with WPC – becomes too uncomfortable for bare feet.
- Color changes – for WPC after purchase and for wood graying over the years
Click Tiles As A DIY Patio Flooring Idea
Click tile is available in different materials such as wood, composite deck tiles (WPC), and stone. This makes it visually very adaptable. An outside space such as a brick or concrete patio floor can be re-designed in a particularly varied and individual way by combining click tiles with different surfaces.
If you already have a concrete patio, the simple interlocking of the individual elements does not require any complex substructure and can be laid on any level surface with little effort. This variant of the floor covering is therefore particularly suitable for patios and balconies in rented properties because it is non-permanent and can be removed at any time and used elsewhere.
- Laying is easy and time-saving.
- No substructure is necessary, tiles can be laid directly on a level surface.
- Tiles are easy to disassemble and reusable.
- They are light in weight and can therefore also be used for balconies and roof terraces and patios.
- Optics are not as high quality as floorboards.
- Can tend to wobble in the long run.
- Depending on the type of wood, wooden tiles are not very durable.
- Strong heating in the sun with WPC and natural stone tiles
Ceramic Tiles For The Patio, Balcony, Or Terrace
Outdoor tiles as an outdoor covering enable a visual extension of the living space. This material gives wind and weather the cold shoulder and invites you to spend carefree hours outdoors.
However, the smooth and sometimes slightly shiny surface looks a bit soberer than, for example, traditional wood or natural stone.
Tip: When choosing the color of the tiles, it should be borne in mind that dark tiles on the terrace heat up very quickly and strongly. The color can also lighten significantly over the long term due to exposure to sunlight.
When it comes to outdoor tiles, you can choose between fine ceramics (outdoor tiles) and coarse ceramics (split tiles). Fine ceramics is a specially prepared clay that is ground with other minerals for a particularly long and intensive time.
Coarse ceramics, so-called split tiles, on the other hand, consist of high-quality clay and other mineral additives, which, however, are not mixed together so finely.
Tiles are very durable and easy to care for. However, laying the material requires precision, skill, and experience.
- Pretty tough
- Frost and weather resistant
- Low-maintenance and cleaning effort
- Heat up in direct sunlight.
- May be slippery when wet.
- Demanding installation
Natural Stone Slabs, Fine Stone, Or Concrete
A stone decking is the ideal combination of high durability and a natural appearance. The products made of natural stone, porcelain stoneware, or a concrete offer a wide variety of different shapes, sizes, surfaces, and colors so that they can be easily adapted to individual styles.
Concrete and fine stoneware appear more linear and modern, natural stones are more individual and natural.
Stone patio slabs are very resilient and weather-resistant. Compared to wood flooring, they require considerably less maintenance. However, light stone slabs are more susceptible to dirt and should therefore be given a protective layer. Salts and other minerals settle faster on dark stone slabs and leave light spots, scratches are also more clearly visible. Dark stones heat up more than light ones in summer and are better to walk on with shoes.
- Very durable.
- Particularly resilient and frost-proof
- Not barefoot friendly
Paving Stones, Concrete Pavers, Bricks As Outdoor Covering
Paving stones are also made of different materials, each with its own properties. Natural stone paving consists of numerous unique pieces. Each element is unique in shape and color. This makes the terrace appear lively and natural.
Functional paving made of concrete, on the other hand, offers a very regular look and is easier to lay and maintain. The decorative plaster, which is also industrially manufactured, offers significantly more variants in terms of size and colour, resulting in more individual design options.
Paving stones are generally frost-resistant and durable. The maintenance effort is manageable, but laying requires skill and experience – more with natural and ornamental stones, less with functional paving.
- Very robust and durable.
- Very weather-resistant and extremely robust
- Not barefoot friendly.
- No permanent color fastness
Grit & Gravel Coverings
Grit and gravel are flexible in many ways. Pointed or round, dark or light, larger or smaller – this offers a lot of choices. In contrast to all other materials, you can use it to create oval, round, or curved outdoor patio or terrace shapes.
The small stones can do without a complex substructure and can be heaped up without much effort.
Tip: So that the greenery does not come out through the gaps, it is advisable to lay a water-permeable weed fleece under the covering. This limits the maintenance effort.
The products are robust and durable but do not form a flat surface. They can hardly be walked barefoot and tables and chairs are not safe either.
- Fast implementation, since exact laying is not necessary.
- Durable weather resistant.
- Low maintenance effort
- The surface is very uncomfortable for walking barefoot.
- Slightly unstable surface, so tables and chairs can wobble.
Cheap outdoor flooring ideas: Outdoor Carpet, Artificial Grass, Foam Tile
Sometimes you just need a cheap patio flooring option. This is where outdoor carpet or foam tiles can come into play. You can get foam tiles that are non-porous if that is a requirement, and both options are easy to clean. Both options require little everything – effort and money. It makes for a simple upgrade to your outdoor environment. You won’t find it particularly durable and long-lasting, but that may not matter in some circumstances.
If you don’t want to mow the lawn or set up sprinklers, artificial grass may be the way to go if you need some basic ground cover and you don’t want to take care of natural grass. Needless to say, it takes little watering – makes that none. You will find that it gets a little hot under foot if in direct sunlight on a summer’s day. The more you pay, the more like real grass it is.
Foam tiles come as interlocking tiles. You often find this as gym flooring.
Stamped Concrete As Outdoor Patio Flooring
If you have a plain concrete driveway slab, with the addition of a special concrete mix with stamped concrete on top as an upgrade, you can get it to extend to a patio area with the same design. Depending on what stamp design is chosen, you can pick a design that looks like stone, a mosaic or other geometric options. It ends up being quite like a natural stone in terms of how it performs, and when it is done expertly, even the look. In terms of ongoing care, all you need to do is sweep – every now and then, so perfect for kids and pets.
Both Indoor And Outdoor Flooring Options
Some flooring solutions can go either way. If an outdoor area is well protected which will add another layer of protection, can also be used outdoors. As an example, check out this article on using vinyl flooring in outdoor settings.
It can go the other way in that flooring designed and used for outside spaces can be utilized indoors as well. A floor covering that is designed for outdoor usage is a versatile option indoors. This type of flooring is durable by design. You can especially see this in those in-between spaces like garages. This is where outdoor-style carpets and concrete flooring enhancements come into their own.
Q: What are some cheap outdoor flooring options?
A: Here are some cheap outdoor flooring options for various preferences:
- Concrete: Affordable, durable, and low-maintenance. Can be stained or painted for a customized look.
- Wood Decking: Natural appearance, can be treated and stained for protection and aesthetics.
- Artificial Grass: Low-maintenance, comfortable, and provides a natural lawn look.
- Outdoor Carpet: Soft and comfortable underfoot, available in various colors and patterns.
- Vinyl: Waterproof, durable, and low-maintenance. Comes in rolls or interlocking tiles.
- Gravel: Inexpensive and easy to install, provides a natural look.
- Interlocking Deck Tiles: Easy to install and available in various materials like wood, composite, and stone.
- Brick Pavers: Durable and attractive, can be arranged in various patterns.
- Concrete Pavers: Versatile and available in various shapes, sizes, and colors.
- Pea Gravel: Natural look, good for drainage, and easy to install.
These budget-friendly outdoor flooring options cater to different styles and needs. Consider factors like climate, weather conditions, and intended use when choosing the best option for your outdoor space.
When it comes to outdoor flooring solutions, for uncovered or covered patios and areas, there are a lot of options available for all types of weather conditions. There are many existing brick and concrete patio floors that can be upgraded in a way that gives you a much homier and more cozy type of patio flooring.
Bottom line is that great outdoor flooring without significant downsides is easily within reach.
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