The Patio Floor

The Patio Floor

Tips for creating an appealing outdoor space

If your patio is in dire need of some reconstruction, these tips are for you. We understand your patio probably came with the house and looks like it hasn’t been touched or renovated in 20 years, but you can start anew – all you need is a solid foundation. This info should help you get a preliminary idea of costs, the processes available, and the types of materials needed. We’ll look at the most popular options as well as a brief overview of the nitty-gritty and reveal what’s new in innovation…

Concrete Patios
At $5 to $10 per square foot concrete patios are an affordable option that’s quite popular. In fact concrete is so commonly used it’s easy to overlook its best qualities. It has a fresh modern appeal, but once poured, it sets very quickly so it is not forgiving. This is why it is recommended to hire a professional. You’ll need to dig out an area, and have it leveled. Then you install barriers in the spots that will define the shape of the patio. Fill it with material (gravel is common) before pouring the concrete that is then leveled, finished and cured.

Wood Decks
Possibly the most popular back yard addition, wood decks are a classic. They are comfortable and fit in any outdoor scheme. The wood runs about $14 – $30 per square foot, but if you can do it yourself you’d be looking at only $6 – $11. It does require more maintenance than other materials, although composite decking offers the look of real wood without as much upkeep needed. Permits are often needed and it’s the type of work that typically requires a pro although a small simple wood deck is something a do it yourselfer could likely handle.

Deck Tiles
Designed to be snapped together, the innovation of deck tiles allow the creation of a modular deck anywhere. You can cover an unattractive surface with ease with a brand new patio. At only $4 – $10 per square foot (depending on material and source) deck tiles make for one heck of an easy do it yourself project and you can snap them together in any configuration you choose. Also, they can be sealed and stained to protect them from the elements.

 

Brick and Stone
There’s definitely charm to the old world look of a brick patio. It’s timeless, really, and looks great in nearly any setting. A large patio or one of complex design is best handled by professionals. However, a small simple brick patio of the dry laid method can be installed by a DIY’er with some experience. The ground is first dug and leveled in preparation for the concrete that is laid on top of crushed stone or gravel that forms a base for the laying of the bricks and mortar, resulting in a patio that will last generations.

Dry-laid versus Mortar
Especially if you are doing it yourself, you’ll probably want to bypass mortar and go with the dry laid method. You’ll need to build a wooden frame that is the perfect size for your bricks (in fact, you’ll even need to double check your measurements) because you are going to fit the bricks tightly together within it. This system allows you to pull and replace bricks when needed and is a lot easier than working with mortar. However, a mortared brick patio professionally laid will probably last longer, be optimally level and will likely see fewer weeds.

Bluestone
Between $17 and $32 (and up) per square foot installed, bluestone is quite attractive and a hard wearing material. It is available in a variety of shades, anything from lilac blue to deep slate blue. Since the stones are large and heavy, they can be difficult to handle precisely so a stone mason is required. This should not be taken on as a DIY.

Flagstone
It’s a classic decorative look that hasn’t grown old. Costing between $10 to $19 per square foot installed or only $3 – $5 if you do it yourself (it certainly doesn’t get much cheaper than that). It is common, affordable and durable. In a DIY situation the entire job could probably be knocked out over a couple of weekends. Basically you dig out the patio area at about six inches deep, fill it with gravel and top it with a thin layer of coarse sand. Assemble the pieces as if they were a puzzle, leaving the same amount of space between stones. Fill the gaps with sand, gravel or ground cover plants, and voila, your beautiful patio awaits many outdoor adventures.

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