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New colouring and stamping options make concrete resemble stone, bricks, or other higher-end materials

Great Outdoor Floors 

There is a wide range of options for exterior flooring materials, one needs to only keep an open mind.

While most of us spend some time thinking about the patterns and materials that we use on our indoor floors, we generally leave the decision of outdoor flooring to the builder or construction crew. The exterior ground also requires attention and one must choose the floor or deck material carefully while taking into consideration the uses to which the area will be put.

Here is a look at some flooring materials for exterior areas such as gardens, patios, decks and terraces.

Stamped Concrete

Concrete might not seem like the most innovative or exciting of flooring materials but if done right it can be the perfect blend of aesthetics and practicality.  This can be done especially well if one uses stamped concrete.

Stamped concrete is concrete that is designed to resemble brick, slate, flagstone, stone, tile, wood and various other patterns and textures. Previously in India only expensive commercial applications could use this method, but now with the introduction of more affordable options, this could gain momentum within residential applications as well.

New colouring and stamping options make concrete resemble stone, bricks, or other higher-end materials. Concrete pavers are durable, low-maintenance, and come in a wide variety of designs from brick to flagstone.

When you are designing with concrete, you can also leave sections open for plantings, trees or other garden features, creating a custom look.

Heavy and durable, slate is easy to install and can be cut in varying lengths and widths
Heavy and durable, slate is easy to install and can be cut in varying lengths and widths

Wood Panel Decking

Wood decking is one of the simplest ways to floor any exterior area. It is also relatively less expensive but wood requires cleaning and sealing every one to two years. However composite decking is an option if you want the look of wood with less maintenance.

Those who are environmentally conscious can still have wood decking by using local hardwood. This makes the deck building greener as well as less expensive, since the wood doesn’t have to be trucked in.

If your ground is sloped, consider building the deck in levels to follow the slope.

Deck Tiles

Deck tiles are a good option for those who want the look and feel of wood, but not the difficulty of installation involved. This innovative material is designed to be snapped together, creating a modular deck practically anywhere. It’s perfect for covering up an unattractive surface or creating a new patio quickly and easily.

Depending on the kind of tiles, you may also need to stain and seal them to protect them from the elements. This type of decking is especially practical in India as it’s easy to disassemble and store when monsoon weather sends you indoors.

Brick

A brick patio has a charming, old-world look. Yet the bricks used for patios are a little different from the usual kind used in home construction. They must be specially fired, so they’re less porous. If the building is in an area which experiences extremely cold weather, you need to check that the brick is the correct grade for the environment.

Along with red, bricks also come in tan, black and other shades. A different colour is not the only way to make brick patios more interesting, one can also  create patterns with the bricks.

Bricks can offer natural warmth and elegance, but there are some drawbacks. If installed on sand instead of mortar, you can have weeds popping up in between the bricks, yet these spaces also leave room for plants that might soften the look of the patio.

Another thing to look out for, especially in areas with heavy rain is the growth of moss. This might make the flooring slippery and difficult to walk on especially for the elderly.

Deck tiles have the look and feel of wood,but not the difficulty of installation
Deck tiles have the look and feel of wood,but not the difficulty of installation

Natural Stone

Stone can be expensive to transport and installation is labour-intensive. Local stone from your region (for example, laterite in the western part of India) costs less and is more eco-friendly. Once installed, natural stone is extremely durable and almost maintenance-free.

There are also many types of natural stones which one can choose and the ideal material depends on one’s needs and the environment. Flagstone and slate are some of the possibilities.

Flagstone is relatively inexpensive and hard wearing, making it a popular choice for patios and paths.

Slate is a type of flagstone that has been used by builders for centuries. Heavy and durable, slate is easy to install and can be cut in varying lengths and widths.

Slate stone colors range from dark blacks and brown to reds, rusts, purples, greens, to blue-grays.

Natural stones have beautiful colour variations which can form part of the pattern and overall design of your outdoor space.

Text  By Alyssa Lobo

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