So, you’re thinking about installing a patio and you want a floor that’s attractive but not too expensive. Or perhaps you want to update your outdoor living space and you’re considering your flooring options. Whatever the case, there is a range of patio flooring to choose from and, if you think outside the box, creating something both distinctive and practical doesn’t have to break the bank.
1. Stone pavers
Nothing looks classier than paving stones in an outdoor area, and they are also incredibly functional, easy to maintain and long-lasting. ‘But don’t they cost the earth?’, you ask. Well, they don’t have to if you do a bit of online research into what’s available in your area. For instance, there are numerous outlets that sell reclaimed pavers or factory seconds in a variety of colours and sizes; there are also pavers going cheap (and sometimes for free) on sites like Gumtree. Who knows - you may find your dream paving stones piled up in the back of someone’s garden just around the corner!
To make the process even cheaper, consider laying the pavers yourself – it’s not a difficult job if you do the preparation and have the right tools, and there are plenty of ‘How to’ videos on YouTube. Imagine the satisfaction you’ll feel at not only sourcing a supply of cheap pavers, but in completing the job yourself.
There’s lots to love about timber flooring, with its combination of elegance, warmth and stability, and its capacity to offset just about any style, from rustic all the way through to industrial. And, like stone pavers, installing timber flooring doesn’t have to cost the earth. A range of timber outdoor flooring options are available that utilise recycled or reclaimed timber, giving your floor a depth of character and strength that is lacking in new timbers, while at the same time reducing the cost. You can also install a timber floor over concrete, so it is a perfect choice for those wanting to renovate their patio without spending a fortune.
Unlike stone pavers, however, you’ll probably want a professional to install the flooring, unless you are an experienced DIY-er. Also, timber needs fairly regular maintenance to protect it and keep it looking good, so you’ll need to factor that in to your decision. In the end, though, it will be worth it, as timber is one of the most beautiful and timeless flooring options out there.
3. Polished concrete
More and more, people are opting for polished concrete as a design element in their homes and outdoor spaces, not only for its durability and thermal mass, but because it has a distinct aesthetic appeal without the expense of slate or tiles. And for many, it’s a case of enhancing flooring that is already in place, which adds up to a huge saving in time and money.
One of the big reasons for concrete’s popularity is the different looks that can be achieved from the one basic material. For example, depending how the concrete is polished, it can provide the sleek, contemporary feel of tiles, the appearance of Mediterranean slate, or a warm, vintage industrial tone, as in the photo above. Alternatively, concrete can be acid-etched (where the aggregate is exposed and then polished), resulting in a smooth, sand-textured non-slip surface that is ideal for an outdoor area.
If you are planning to lay fresh concrete for your patio floor, it’s probably best to hire a professional as, given its quick-dry nature, fixing up mistakes can be difficult and costly. Similarly, concrete polishing requires some degree of knowledge and skill, so talk to a few companies that specialise in the process to find a price that suits your budget.
4. Brick paving
There’s a good reason brick paving is a perennial favourite for patio flooring – bricks are beautiful! On top of this, they’re economical; they don’t require much maintenance; and laying brick paving is a pretty easy DIY project.
Bricks are usually cheaper than stone paving, particularly if you do a bit of hunting and find some good quality second hand bricks. Again, Gumtree is a great place to start your search, although finding the exact type of brick you envision might be difficult. For more choice in terms of colour and style, there are numerous companies that specialise in recycled bricks, which also means your bricks will be clean and ready to lay.
If you decide to lay your brick paving yourself and you haven’t done it before, we’d recommend spending some time doing your research, as ending up with an uneven patio floor is not a desirable outcome! There are plenty of instructional clips on YouTube with DIY advice, so make the most of this resource and you’ll probably discover that laying brick paving is actually a very meditative thing to do.