You’re tired of stepping onto dirt when you walk out your patio doors, and hosing off the patio furniture because it’s covered in mud after it rains is no longer an option. You need outdoor flooring.
“Natural square cut flagstone has become more popular for patios and walkways. Clients are looking for something different. Square cut flag is a better choice over random because the joint space between the pieces are minimal making it harder for weed seeds to germinate. Random flagstone is a romantic idea, especially with growing moss or thyme between the joints, but you’ll forever be picking weeds out of them,” explains Michael “Mike” Scott, Owner of Michael Scott Landscaping & Design in Orillia.
Stamped concrete is another option if you want to avoid weeding, but it might crack where the saw cuts are. “It looks good, but needs to be sealed to maintain the look, or it’ll look tired after a few years and look more like plain concrete,” informs Mike.
If you’re envisioning yourself lounging on a deck rather than patio, consider maintenance free options. Composite decking never requires staining or sanding, never decays or attracts insects, and only requires occasional cleaning with soap and water.
“We’re definitely doing a lot more composite. It’s way better than wood, which expands, warps, and cracks. Composite comes in about the same price as cedar. When they first came out with composite, it wasn’t a great product. There were a lot of issues from it not being capped,” says Michael Scott, Owner of Simcoe Decks in Barrie.
A harder plastic capping is infused during the manufacturing process that provides composite decking with additional resilience against UV rays, daily living, and elements. In other words, the sun shining through your wine glass shouldn’t melt your newly installed deck.
“It all comes down to hiring a proper installer and using a product that’s tested. You want to do your research, so you’re paying for a product that will last,” advises Scott.
There’s also PVC decking, which is 100% plastic and could nearly double the cost of your deck. “It’ll never rot or deteriorate, or promote mould. You can use a mild detergent to keep it clean, or just take a garden hose to it, and wash it off,” says Scott.
Even though pressure treated wood decks require higher maintenance, they remain one of the most popular choices. “We still like to use cedar for the handrails since there’s less chance of getting a splinter in your hand,” says Mike.
Some of the challenges installers face when installing outdoor flooring is bad weather, electrical or mechanical elements that are in the way, poorly compacted earth, and unforeseen old footings or concrete buried in the ground.
Water is your biggest enemy, so you want to ensure there’s proper air flow and no water seeping into crevices causing decay or mould, advises Scott.
Whatever you choose for your outdoor flooring, “If there’s a will, there’s a way,” says Scott.