As the weather starts to warm - and dry - up, there is no better time to tend to the needs of your property’s outdoor flooring. The milder weather makes it easy and usually fast to complete flooring projects, but it also should be a reminder signaling that now is the best time to check your property to assess whether any wear or damage has occurred as a result of the harsh weather and temperatures of the winter months. Damaged or worn outdoor flooring, pavement and surfaces can be responsible for making your property look poorly kept, but can also endanger the safety of your tenants as cracks, holes and general wear make it easier to slip, trip and fall. Not to mention that starting to focus on your property’s exteriors will allow for new and improved outdoor spaces that invite your tenants to enjoy their time outside now that Summer is right around the corner.
Our expert contractors have provided us with a breakdown of common materials utilized for outdoor flooring, which includes the pro’s and con’s of each material to help you choose the material that works best considering your design preferences and more practical concerns, like pricing, weather-resistance and overall longevity.
1. Natural Stone
Natural stone can present unique variegations in a variety of colors, which results in a beautiful, one-of-a-kind accent in your outdoor space. It can be custom-cut to be arranged accordingly to a preferred pattern and look, with irregular shapes being used for meandering mosaics and modular stones being used when a more regular and symmetrical appearance is desired.
Extremely durable - natural stone is rather tough: it stands strong against the elements and wear and tear, usually requiring little to no maintenance.
Environmentally friendly and safe - as a natural material, stone is not engineered utilizing chemicals or other substances that can be toxic to humans and the environment.
Affordable when local - a unique quality of natural stone is that local varieties are generally more affordable; purchasing a type of stone that is characteristic to your area gives you the option to source materials in a more eco-friendly and affordable way. In the Southern states, fieldstone is an example of a local variety, while slate is common in the North East.
Versatile - natural stone can be used to pave a variety of outdoor spaces - from driveways and walkways to pool decks. While some materials are particularly sensitive to temperature and moisture, making it necessary to consider whether utilizing them in a particular area of your property will make them more prone to damage, stone does not make this a concern.
Longer installation time - installing stone pavements requires very precise planning and is typically a rather labor-intensive project, which means that completing the project will generally take longer.
Can be pricey - considering that, as mentioned above, installation is labor intensive and that certain varieties of stone will have to be sourced from places that are not located nearby, a natural stone pavement project can be more expensive.
Wood is one of the most common flooring materials utilized for decks and porches, and has been a favorite for generations.
Visual appeal and versatility - the natural look of wood - with numerous colorations and designs made available by all the different varieties of wood that exist - is preferred by those wanting to achieve a warmer or one-of-a-kind, custom look.
Local is more affordable - as for natural stone, turning to locally-sourced varieties of wood will make it more affordable to opt for wood.
Vulnerability and durability - wood is one of the most sensitive materials, being vulnerable to scratches, discoloration from prolonged directed sunlight exposure, as well as rotting and warping following moisture exposure. Opting for wood will mean keeping in mind that you will need to plan for protecting your investment.
High maintenance - as a delicate material, regular preventative maintenance will become a necessity, especially with wood requiring to be regularly sealed. To avoid letting wood pavements to become damaged and worn, it is fundamental to be ready and expect to be investing in regular maintenance help frequently.
Concrete pavements are simple: their simplicity can make them the ideal element to feature along with minimalist, modern decor or a definite “no-no” for those wanting their outdoor flooring to be a more visible accent piece.
Accessible - concrete slabs are inexpensive (generally costing a third of what natural stone would cost) and can be laid out by most contractors.
Durable - overall, concrete requires little to no maintenance; concrete pavers are most resistant and preferable to slabs.
Customizable - while this comes at an extra cost, modern advancements in manufacturing have made it possible to stamp concrete to resemble the textures of other types of pavements, such as brick and stone.
Cracking and chipping - prolonged exposure, especially to cold or harsh weather, can result in concrete chipping and cracking on the long run, and those cracks can be difficult to repair in a way that does not make the space look “patched up”. Our experts point out that while this is common for concrete slabs, concrete pavers are less likely to exhibit this quality.
Slipping hazard - concrete can easily freeze when temperatures drop, and as a particularly sleek flooring option already, slipping becomes a serious concern during the winter months.
Simplicity - to some, the look of concrete is rather bleak. Indeed, the simplicity of concrete might not be ideal for those wanting pavements to contribute to the overall aesthetics of their exteriors by adding a unique touch of color or texture.
Tile is a common pavement type, which allows to achieve both uniform, subtle pavements but also incredibly intricate decorative designs and contrasts.
Design potential - tiling is highly-customizable and makes it possible to create beautiful accents and designs for your outdoor areas.
Easy to install - unless one opts for a more elaborate design, installing basic tiling is an easy projects that contractors can complete quickly.
Slipping - tiles freeze easily and become incredibly slippery when wet. To avoid dangerous falls, our experts highly encourage considering highly slip-resistant types only.
Cracking - freeze-thaw cycles take a serious toll on ceramic tiles, which can easily crack and chip following repeated exposure. Again, our experts find it best to only consider denser tiles that are formulated for the outdoors.
Grout maintenance - on top of concerns that have to do with maintaining the tiles alone, the grout joining them together adds an extra element to take care of. Grout can crack, stain and chip off over time, which is why consulting the manufacturer or a trusted contractor on what an ideal upkeep schedule would look like is necessary.