Whether you’re installing a brand new patio or remodeling your existing outdoor space, it can be difficult figuring out how to create a patio from the ground up — literally! This is because one of the first steps of your project involves choosing from a variety of patio surfaces.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Patio Material
There are pros and cons to all materials for patios, so it’s essential to consider your options before you decide which patio surface is suitable for you. When considering materials for patios, you should keep these factors in mind:
Does your patio area experience a lot of foot traffic? If you’re not the only one using your patio, you’ll need to make sure the material you choose holds up to routine use without noticeable wear.
Some materials for patios look sleek and shiny, but sometimes sheen has a hidden drawback: slipperiness. Choosing a surface with enough grip for your feet is essential, whether you’re barefoot or in shoes. Also, consider the effects of weather and moisture. Materials that get very slippery when exposed to water can create unsafe conditions.
Since everyone’s outdoor living spaces are different sizes, it’s wise to measure your patio in square feet before you consult the professionals, such as our experts in patio design in Philadelphia. Don’t worry about getting measurements exact; a rough estimate will do the job perfectly in most cases.
Set a budget for how much you want to spend on your patio project. Estimating the cost of materials for patios is relatively easy using measurements because most materials for patios are priced per square foot. They range in cost depending on the quality and quantity of material being installed. There will also be a labor cost for professional installation.
What colors and patterns do you want for your patio? The vision you have for your dream patio is just as important as the measurements and safety considerations you’ve been thinking about because your patio can’t come to life without at least a few ideas in mind. Look online in project galleries to get inspired.
Not every patio is a perfect square — some of them aren’t even rectangular. Keep in mind some materials for patios work best in angular spaces, so you may need to reconsider your plans depending on the shape of your ideal patio.
Now that you know what traits you should look for when you’re considering materials for patios, read on to learn some of the most popular patio surfaces:
Concrete patios are so ubiquitous that they’re probably what comes to your mind when you hear the word “patio.” Concrete can be freely poured and shaped, so it works for any patio. It is also easy to maintain and very durable. Poured concrete is relatively limited in design options, but stamped concrete can be dyed in various colors and even made to look like stone or brick. However, there are drawbacks to choosing concrete. Concrete is difficult to work with once it has been set. If you ever want to do another remodel or make changes before selling your house, you will have a tough time modifying a concrete patio. It’s also highly slippery when wet unless mixed with specific anti-slip media. If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, concrete is also a less eco-friendly choice.
If you’ve ever driven on a nice, smooth road, you’ve experienced the comfort of properly poured asphalt. Asphalt is less slippery than concrete and looks sleeker. It also feels pleasant underfoot. However, you have limited color options, and maintenance is more complicated. If you live in a snowy area, you may find yourself worrying about cracks or holes cropping up as you shovel snow and remove debris. If these cracks and holes get too deep, there can be serious damage done to your patio; however, if you catch the damage early, you may be able to get the asphalt re-sealed and treated.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the attitude of many people who choose brick out of the many available materials for patios. Bricks have been used for thousands of years with very little change. Brick patios are affordable, stylish, and make a solid and durable surface. However, they lose color and texture over time, their pre-made, rectangular shapes can limit creativity, and maintenance such as sweeping and scrubbing can be more difficult on brick patios.
Did you know some people use tile as a material for patios? Tile is a choice that’s best for patios that don’t experience heavy foot traffic because it can crack and chip much more easily than other materials on this list. It can also be unsafe if you choose glazed tile. While glazed tile may work well on your shower walls, hardscaping professionals recommend you use unglazed tile to ensure your patio isn’t too slippery.
However, don’t dismiss tile for your patio just yet. Tile is extremely affordable, easy to maintain, and offers the most design choices out of any other material for patios on this list. There are billions of possible patterns, colors, shapes, and sizes of tile, so you can create just about any design for your patio surface you can think of!
Natural stone is another option for your patio. When it comes to creating a look that fits into the natural world around you, nothing beats the beauty of stone. Limestone, bluestone, and flagstone patios are all sturdy and attractive. Stone is also easier to maintain than tile if it cracks, as it can usually be repaired without ripping up the whole patio. However, stone patios can be costly since each piece needs to be individually fitted. Stone is also weather-sensitive; it can become slippery after rain or scorching hot during summer days.
Pavers aren’t exactly a specific material for patios. Rather, they’re a style of patio. The surface of a paver patio is made up of cut-out shapes designed to fit together. You can choose from concrete pavers, brick pavers, cut stone pavers, and more. They’re quick and easy to install and offer a symmetrical and attractive look. However, they have some of the same drawbacks as brick: they lose pigment and experience visible wear over time, they’re challenging to fit into more oddly shaped spaces, and they can be a hassle to clean and maintain.
“Loose materials” are what they sound like: tiny particles grouped together rather than one solid surface. Sand and pea gravel are both popular choices of loose materials for patios. Loose materials can give your patio a trendy, earthy look and offer extra benefits for gardeners and nature enthusiasts. They are also cheap, easy to modify and experiment with, and eco-friendly. However, they don’t hold up well when exposed to extreme weather conditions (ever tried shoveling snow on gravel?), require careful maintenance, and can be messy if you have kids or pets.
Mixed material patios are the best of both worlds! These innovative outdoor spaces use multiple materials to create a patio with unique design elements. For instance, you might mix your brick patio with tile accents or combine pea gravel with a natural stone border. Mixing materials can add a personal touch to your home and eliminate some of the issues caused by relying on only one material at a time. However, this kind of patio’s labor and material costs will naturally be higher since you’ll be choosing several options with different installation requirements. You will also have to think long and hard about the best way to design your patio so that the materials you choose can complement each other.
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Your outdoor living space should be as enjoyable as your home’s interior. Let us help you make it happen! We’re proud to be some of the best patio installation professionals and walkway pavers in Bucks County and the surrounding areas. Are you ready to take the next step to patio perfection? Contact us today!