Patios are a great addition to any outdoor space, as they greatly expand the amount of usable space that you have. Patio space can be used as a simple deck for entertaining guests, or you can have patios that are integrated into pools and outdoor kitchens.
Whatever you decide you want to use your patio for, you still need to make a choice when it comes to materials. Different types of building materials create different patio surfaces, each with their own set of pros and cons.
Read on for a complete overview of some of the most common patio materials, and why you should consider them!
Most people think of flat and drab gray surfaces when they think of concrete – but that couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, concrete is one of the most versatile building materials you could choose for your patio.
One of the largest benefits of choosing concrete is that it can be poured into non-linear shapes very easily. Further, it can be stamped or etched to create a surface pattern that resembles tiles or other materials.
Concrete can be stained in a range of different colors, giving you more customization options. You can also add a rough texture to the surface of a concrete patio surface, which is important if your patio is next to your pool.
However, concrete can be difficult to repair, since it cannot be easily patched without leaving a very visible mark behind. You should also note that concrete doesn’t hold up to cold weather very well, and can crack in freezing temperatures.
Brick patios offer a more traditional appearance than concrete does. Individual bricks can be laid in complex patterns, with varying sizes and shades creating a truly unique appearance that cannot be replicated. Bricks are also naturally rough, which can help grip in the rain and around pools.
Bricks are also very easy to repair, as individual bricks that crack or break can be lifted out and replaced one by one. Further, for an old or well-worn look, you can choose to install salvaged bricks, which are a great way to create an environmentally-friendly space in your yard.
You should keep in mind, however, that bricks can be difficult to maintain. Since they are relatively absorbent, they can crack or develop moss growth, which can require constant cleaning and repairs to address. Bricks can also create an uneven surface over time, as the grout and individual bricks may sit at different levels as the soil underneath shifts.
Gravel is a great budget option for a patio space. Made out of small stones, gravel is immune to cracking or shifting. The only maintenance needed to keep a gravel patio in good shape is occasional raking to distribute it, and perhaps pouring more gravel onto the patio as stones are kicked away.
Gravel is also extremely affordable. You can find bags of gravel easily available at most hardware stores, which means that you don’t need specialized tools or knowledge to create a patio space.
Gravel can be used both as a patio surface and as a landscaping technique to improve drainage. Since gravel won’t trap water but will slow how fast it is absorbed into the ground, a gravel section to your patio can help prevent the ground from getting soggy.
The downside of gravel is that it can be uncomfortable to walk on in your bare feet. Further, it can cause a great deal of injury if you fall on it, as individual rocks can dig into your skin. You should also note that gravel can be quite dusty, which can get on your clothes and patio furniture.
There are a ton of different types of natural stones that you can choose to use for your patio surface. They are highly durable and a status symbol. Most natural stone patios and pathways can last decades without cracking or breaking.
You can choose different types of natural stone, each of which has a different appearance. Limestone, for example, can take on several shades ranging between a brown-beige color to a deep navy blue. Slate, on the other hand, is almost always a dark green, purple, or black color, though some reddish tints can come through.
Since natural stone is laid in large pieces, much like tiles would be inside your home, repairs are easy. Just like bricks, individual damaged pieces can be removed and replaced.
The major downside of choosing a natural stone patio over other types of patio materials is the price. Since natural stone is a more expensive material and requires special equipment to cut and lay in place, the costs can be prohibitive, especially for larger patios.
You Aren’t Limited to One Material
Of course, you can use several different types of materials in creating your patio and other paved surfaces in your backyard. Using natural stone for smaller walkways and then stamped concrete for the main patio would look amazing, for example, while gravel can be used as edging around other paved surfaces.
There’s No Such Thing as Bad Patio Surfaces
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a patio material. It largely comes down to personal taste, and what you decide you’ll primarily use the patio for.
Living in Texas and interested in installing a new patio in your yard? Contact our team today for a free consultation! We’ll help you choose the best patio surfaces for your needs, and design an ideal outdoor space for you and your family.