Choosing the Right Surface Material for your Patio

In Lifestyle and Entertaining by John & Sabrina Foley

arbor - surface material for your patioWell-built patios make a backyard look more aesthetically pleasing while improving time spent outdoors. If you are thinking about building or remodeling a patio, you need to consider what surface materials are available and which best suits your lifestyle. Patios are highly customizable and can be made from a myriad of materials.

Travertine

Travertine is made from natural stone in a hot spring and fares great in outdoor settings. If you live in northern climates and are subject to freeze-thaw cycles, this material may not be suitable for you needs as they tend to be sensitive to these cycles. Travertine is fraught with many tiny holes, so cleaning it can be a hassle if you don’t have a pressure washer. This material is best suited for temperate areas.

Flagstone

Flagstone is made with clay and several other organic minerals. Thanks to the clay, flagstone often comes in stunning hues of red and blue that give patios an earthy appearance. This material is often irregularly shaped, so it needs a skilled landscape contractor in order to set them correctly. If you do choose flagstone, you will need a drainage system around the area as flagstone can be subject to erosion and water damage. Flagstone does great in colder climates and is easy to clean if sealer is regularly applied.

Patio Pavers

A patio paver is a man-made material that resembles tiles. They come in several varieties, such as clay or stone. Many pavers are made to mimic the appearance of natural stones like cobblestone, and are one of the easiest patio materials to work with. Pavers can be convenient in areas that see a lot of rainfall since they are slip resistant. However, they tend to stain easily, so they need to be resealed every two to three years.

Concrete

If you’re building a patio on a budget, concrete is a material you may want to consider. Concrete is one of the most durable materials on the market. Keep in mind, however, that concrete is known to crack when exposed to repeated freeze-thaw cycles. Your design options are numerous though, as concrete can be formed into any shape, can be stained, and can be stamped to have the look of stone pavers or other materials. Concrete does not need much maintenance, although you may want to pressure wash it yearly.

Choosing the right surface material for your patio can save you many headaches down the road. Once you find one that suits your lifestyle, your backyard will become the most popular spot in the house.

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