You will need to consider many factors before choosing the right flooring material for your patio, like its resistance, comfort, maintenance, harmony with the outdoor decor and recreational space. Here is an overview of the options available.
Natural stone paving on a bed of sand is very popular. There are so many options to choose from, like granite, slate, limestone, sandstone, etc. This type of flooring pairs very well with the surrounding vegetation, especially if the stones are laid randomly. It creates a very natural look.
Fill out the joints with sand, pebbles, earth (mixed in with sand to prevent collapsing). If possible, try to stay away from mortar to let the rainwater penetrate directly into the ground. The downside: very porous stone is not very resistant to freezing temperatures. In addition, it stains easily.
Brick paving on a bed of sand is also very popular. For its installation, start from a corner and work towards the centre. Make sure the segment you have just finished is levelled before you install the following segment. If it’s uneven, add sand.
Remember to leave a narrow space between the bricks for the joints. Use a rope to make certain each row is perfectly straight. At the very end, hit each brick that is above the rest with a rubber hammer to even out the whole surface. Then, fill out the joints with sand and compact it. Once again, it would be best not to use mortar between the bricks to let the rainwater run free.
Concrete paving is also a great option. There is a number of varieties to choose from. It comes in different sizes, textures and colours. It has become very decorative throughout the years. Very comfortable for those who like walking barefoot. Its installation is similar to that of natural stone and brick.
Gravel flooring is also a very interesting option as long as you install a border to prevent it from scattering, as you would for wood chip surfaces. The downside: walking barefoot is not comfortable.
Terracotta tile flooring is an undeniable advantage in terms of aesthetics, but beware! Its installation is complicated and some terracotta tiles are not resistant to Québec’s freezing weather. You’ll have to get informed.
Small stones and pebbles can let you create a mosaic design to your taste. Other materials are also available, like natural wood tiles.
We live in Québec, so make sure the material you choose will stand up to our harsh winters. And don’t forget, regardless of the option you choose, the outdoor floor also helps to set the mood for your recreational space.