Some people prefer their flooring materials to be economical, while others are willing to pay more to get the desired quality.
One of the similarities between these two people in choosing outdoor deck flooring materials is that they consider the pros and cons of their choices.
The deck is another word for outdoor terraces, usually made of real wood but can also be made of fake wood.
It looks great on small patios, terraces, or places in the garden where people pass through. The deck floor gives any patio or garden a natural and modern look.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the types of materials for outdoor deck flooring before discussing their pros, cons, and the best economic and quality benefits choices.
Later on, we will also learn other aspects that we should know about materials for our outdoor deck floors.
Why is it important to think about flooring materials for outdoor decks?
The outdoor areas are the center of people’s activities, regardless of whether they go solo or become part of a group. It’s not rare to see people swimming, watering plants, sunbathing, playing with pets, and more around the outdoor areas.
The wide variations of outdoor activities also mean more people will enter the outdoor areas. Ideally, when we step through the outdoor areas, we wish for our feet to feel comfortable. In terms of the outdoor decks, the comfort feels in the types of woods and the deck structures.
Deck structures are what we mean when referring to different materials for outdoor decks. So, the unique types are the things we will explore more over the next part of this article.
Types of outdoor deck flooring materials
The coating used outside to build terraces and pool edges is called the deck floor. It is made of boards that can be of different heights and are very stable and long-lasting.
There are decks made of natural wood and plastic with cellulose (WPC).
Before selecting one of these materials, it is crucial to understand what it will be used for and how it will be used.
Here are the types of materials for outdoor deck flooring that we can consider:
Hardwood decking boards
Hardwood decking boards are from South America, Africa, and Asia with a red or brown color. The decking boards have high resistance against insects, among other things, and last twice as long as standard wooden decking boards. The average lifespan of hardwood decking is about 20 years, so purchasing this decking is a good long-term investment.
Composite deck flooring
Composite wood decking means decking the floors with artificial wood to make the floors more durable and low maintenance. Composite decks don’t need to be treated and don’t need to be fixed up. They also last a long time. Also, decking made of this material changes color less quickly than wood decks, so the planks look better for longer.
Natural wood deck floor
Woods like cedar, teak, mahogany, ipe, pine, eucalyptus, quebracho, and timbó can be used to make it. Most of the time, conifers are used because they don’t get damaged by moisture. However, a protective treatment must be put on the wood to stop fungi and insect attacks and make it last longer outside.
Standard wooden decking boards are not as resistant to bugs and mold as hardwood decking boards, but they can last just as long if the wood is treated.
If you choose wood decking boards that have been impregnated or thermally changed, you don’t have to worry that the quality isn’t as good.
Also, wooden decking boards are made of high-quality, attractive coniferous wood and look like they were made in nature.
Concrete deck floor
They look like wood but are made of concrete. Some of their features are that they don’t need to be taken care of, which makes them great for use outside, and they can’t catch fire. Each plank is reinforced concrete because it has a piece of iron armor inside it.
Bamboo decking boards
Bamboo decking boards look different and are made well. Do you want decking in your garden, on your roof terrace, or on your veranda, but you don’t want to use wood or hardwood?
Then you should use bamboo decking boards, which have a unique look and are just as good as decking boards made of wood and hardwood.
Other types of outdoor flooring materials
Porcelain and ceramics
Porcelain makes an extremely durable flooring material due to the over 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit heating process. Meanwhile, ceramics are popular materials with lots of color and style combinations that we can DIY.
Rubber and vinyl tiles are the best outdoor flooring tiles for a deck. Meanwhile, please avoid peel-and-stick tiles because they wear down easily and are not water-resistant. Outdoor floor tiles can become slippery in the rain, so it is best to opt for non-slip tiles.
Most people build their outdoor deck floors with concrete pavers. However, brick pavers can also be your choice for accentuating rustic looks. Paving offers a wide range of looks and prices, from contemporary to classic, and can be laid on blocks or concrete slabs. Slabs and paving require a level surface for installation.
The vibrant grass colors make these flooring accessories some of the most popular choices. The installations are convenient, and they don’t require much maintenance effort.
Grass or lawn
A must, the lawn guarantees a calm and warm atmosphere for your exterior. It is a natural and soothing floor covering for outdoor use, particularly pleasant under bare feet. However, lawns need maintenance, soil, and a lawnmower to get mowed!
Concrete slabs are cheap and strong, making it easy to build patios, walkways, and even paths in the garden.
Even though a raw concrete slab might not look the best, it is still the base for any other type of cladding. The slab can be painted, tiled, or covered with stone pavers, grids, etc.
From granite to slate to marble, natural stone comes in many different shades, colors, materials, and prices. This type of outdoor floor is popular because it looks good and strong, but some can’t stand up to freezing weather. Maintenance can be hard, and the cost can be too high.
Gravel, pebbles, and sand
If you live in an area where drought or water restrictions make it hard to keep the grass green, Your yard might be best with loose material. With stepping stone pavers, your patio will look like a sandy oasis.
Pebbles or peat gravel will also give your patio a unique look. If you don’t want to build a big patio, loose materials are cheap and easy to work with.
Considering the pros and cons of outdoor deck flooring materials
We should consider many factors regarding the pros and cons of each outdoor deck’s flooring materials. For instance, we need to consider the durability, the installation processes (convenient or complex installations), DIY capabilities, and other characteristics of the materials (such as being water-resistant or having vibrant and aesthetic colors).
So, aesthetic values and prices alone are insufficient to consider the materials’ pros and cons. Besides choosing from the lists of available material types around the nearby stores, you need to adjust the materials to your maps and your purposes in designing each outdoor part of your house.
Artificial grasses and pebbles are great economical choices for DIY-ing outdoor areas. Porcelains are also great for additional safety measures, yet, they are less resistant to complicated climate conditions when we compare them with pebbles, gravels, and the like.
Any decking can have long-lasting durability, particularly composite decks with more than one material. However, such characteristics don’t mean they don’t have any liabilities. For instance, traditional decks are the most vulnerable to termites and molds, while composite decks are not resistant to (extreme) heat.
When it comes to putting down the flooring on our outdoor decks, we have two options.
The first and the most common choice is through DIY installations, and the second involves asking for professional help.
Even though the first choice is always cheaper than the second choice, it all depends on the steps we execute and the places for installing the flooring materials.
Professional help can be a waste of money if we have no ideas how the flooring companies are working in our area. On the other hand, DIY installation needs us to pay attention to the environmental conditions before flooring our outdoor decks with our materials.
Another thing that we should possess is the law knowledge in terms of flooring our outdoor decks.
We often also need to handle our floors’ disputes and renovation aspects. In addition, different states may impose unique sets of rules and regulations on the average flooring costs. Such knowledge is crucial for both DIY and professional installations.
Choosing the best outdoor flooring material: Complete checklists
There are numerous varieties of outdoor flooring to choose from. Each type of outdoor floor comes in different sizes and materials. Each material has its pros and cons, as well as different costs and upkeep needs.
You could also choose to mix and match different types of outdoor floors.
We’ve included a list of actions you may take to get closer to the outdoor floor of your dreams.
1. What is the style of the house?
The style of your interior is important to start with. Do you live in a modern house or do you like living in the country? Do you live in a brand-new house or one that has been fixed up?
Maybe a terrace made of concrete patio tiles would look better on a new house, while wooden decking would be the more obvious choice for a house that has been remodeled.
Whatever you pick, try to make the garden as similar to the house and its interior as feasible.
The color of the floor on the outside is also often important. Do you choose neutral pavement and warm colors, or are you more interested in a Mediterranean look with beige and cream colors?
2. What is the function of the outdoor floor?
What do you want your pavement to be used for? The main thing that determines the exterior floor is its use.
For example, a driveway needs thicker tiles or stones than those used on a path or terrace. Should it be somewhere to hang out, eat, and drink?
Then a wooden floor outside might be a good choice. Most of the time, wooden decking is not a good choice for walkways because it can get dangerously slippery.
Again, tiles would be a good choice for a walkway. In short, you should know the material and how it works.
3. Which material should I choose?
Every kind of material is different and has its pros and cons. In general, when choosing a material, there are nine important things to look for:
- Placement method
- Frost resistance
- Dirt resistance
- Scratch resistant
- Environmentally friendly
Good material in every way doesn’t exist because some properties are the opposite of each other.
So, choose a material that does well in the qualities you care about the most.
4. Does the outdoor floor have to be maintenance-friendly?
Maintenance is also a key factor when deciding on the outside floor. Generally speaking, paving materials like garden tiles made of concrete, ceramic, and natural stone require less upkeep than timber decking.
A substance that should already have an anti-slip layer applied, especially if surrounding trees and the terrace is covered in leaves in the fall and winter.
Fewer joints and less room for weeds to grow in larger tiles.
Ceramics is the easiest material to maintain in terms of stain sensitivity, but the real stone is the most sensitive, and concrete tiles frequently need to be cleaned.
5. Does the outdoor floor have to be durable and environmentally friendly?
What is the desired lifespan of the outdoor floor? Concrete patio tiles are entirely recyclable and have a long lifespan.
Stones are sustainable because the clay may be produced by nature, they last an average of 125 years, and they can be found nearby.
You may want to consider the product’s longevity and whether you are making a decent decision.
Consider sustainable and biodegradable materials. There are numerous options available in the wood industry, such as bamboo, which is scarcely hazardous to the environment.
6. What is your budget?
What kind of outdoor floor you can buy depends on your budget; cheap outdoor flooring options might not be wise.
Remember that the paving lasts far longer than the somewhat more durable garden floor, which frequently has a higher price tag.
While some decking is simple to install, others need specialized knowledge and equipment. Consider or factor in the complexity of installation if this is your first time performing the task yourself. Labor charges into your budget.
Additionally, natural items like wooden decking or tiles made of natural stone typically cost more.
Choosing low-maintenance decking
The simplicity of maintenance for a terrace may be a significant factor when choosing a floor. Materials that are easy to maintain include:
Composite wooden decking:
It is sufficient to clean using a broom or mop and soapy water. Even if the color has faded, renovation products can still be used.
Concrete patio maintenance:
It is sufficient to sweep, then wash or rinse with clean water. Waterproofing the floor is required.
It’s enough to sweep and then wash with a cleaning product.
It must be treated with an anti-staining agent to keep different dirt from sticking to the reconstructed stone. White natural stone is easy to get dirty, so it needs to be cleaned in a certain way regularly.
To keep it in good shape, you must sweep and wash it with water and black soap. Wooden decks need to be oiled, degreased, or even stained from time to time, depending on the type of wood and how it was originally treated.
Get a few quotes online to compare them and choose the best material for patio flooring.
You want your floor deck to look good for as long as possible, no matter what material you use.
Now, being outside is usually a lot harder than being inside, but it’s not impossible.
If you’d like, you can seek the assistance or advice of a professional for the floor covering installation.
Even if it costs more to hire a professional, it might be worth it if they have the skills and resources you need for your choice.
In addition, unlike an installation completed quickly and without the essential skills, most artisans guarantee a long-lasting and sturdy installation.