By Trisha Harinath

Create striking outside areas with the variety of outdoor flooring options currently on the market.

There are many reasons why selecting a superior quality flooring option is the only way to go – for starters, since the outside of your home is the gateway to the rest of your abode, you want to have something that leaves a lasting impression on your guests. Secondly, since your outdoor area is where you will entertain, good quality flooring that is durable and easy to maintain, will not only look good for years to come, but will also add value to your outside entertainment area.

From wood and concrete to tiles and natural stone, trends in the outdoor flooring industry currently showcase materials that are not only practical but aesthetically appealing as well.

Concrete and related products

“Concrete was found in the 17th century, and since then has become one of the most common construction materials of our time,” says Johan Coetzee who represents Stucco Italiano and QS Concrete Grinding and Polishing. Johan adds that concrete is not only durable and low maintenance, but it also offers great resistance to the weather elements and has been proven to age well in these conditions.

Another type of concrete product that can be used for your outside entertainment area is cast stone, which is a highly refined architectural precast concrete building stone manufactured to simulate natural cut stone. “Cast stone products are long lasting, aesthetically pleasing and can match the style of different homes,” says James Metcalf of SmartStone.  When asked what type of maintenance is required for cast stone, James advises hosing down the flooring on a weekly basis. “However, you should not use a high pressure hose for this purpose,” he cautions.

According to a representative from Lafarge SA, another type of concrete product that home owners can use is the Artevia range. “Artevia is a range of decorative concretes that is ideal for outdoor and indoor use. This range offers durable design solutions that are coupled with many advantages,” says the Lafarge SA representative.

Timber/wood

For home owners wanting a more natural appeal, wooden/timber decking and flooring is the way to go. “Wooden decking provides a natural look and a stylish outdoor floor area. It is also suitable for various places around the home including the patio, balcony, around the swimming pool and jetted spa bath as well as in the garden,” says Helen Marshall, marketing manager of Floors Direct.

Mark Norris, of EagleWood Contracts, also known as EagleWood Sundecks, concurs adding that timber is indeed a versatile material. When it comes to maintaining your wooden/timber flooring, Steven Suntup of Suntups Wooden Flooring, recommends using an oiled finish first and then the maintenance from there on is simple. “Once or twice a year the deck should get hosed off and when dry, you should brush it with a coat of decking oil,” explains Steven.

Natural materials

“Natural stone has many benefits for outdoor use,” says Lars Nielsen, of Natural Stone Warehouse. “It is available in many different shades and finishes, allowing it to fit easily into the design style or colour scheme of your home. Also, being a natural product, the natural variations in colour, pattern and texture of each tile add to the beauty of any setting,” explains Lars.

Another natural product that can be used as an outdoor flooring application is natural quartz and Bryn Evans-Riche, the CEO of Natural Quartz Flooring SA, says that one of the products that his company offers is Textured Quartz, which is ideal for patios and entertainment areas where non-slip, seamless beauty and durability are the criteria.

According to an expert at Union Tiles, another natural material that is in great demand is quartzite stone which has a bull nose combination for pool surrounds. “Quartzite is one of the most durable natural materials for around the pool and entertainment areas, and the added benefit is that it can be used successfully around a chemical or salt chlorinated pool,” says the Union Tiles expert.

Tiles

According to Amraj Lux Dursan, of Italtile, porcelain and ceramic tiles can also be installed on the patio and entertainment area.

“The key benefit that comes with using tiles is the maintenance factor, as porcelain and ceramic tiles require very little maintenance,” explains Amraj. He adds that these types of tiles must be cleaned with a recommended tile cleaner which you can purchase from your supplier.

Artificial lawn

Finally, if you want something different for your outdoor entertainment area, look no further than DuraTurf, which is an artificial lawn from Belgotex Floorcoverings. Ideal for balconies, terraces and patios, DuraTurf gives home owners an innovative surface choice for outdoor entertaining, and an aesthetic foundation for a variety of decorating solutions. DuraTurf can be installed on any flat surface, however the substrate should be flat, stable, well-condensed and preferably porous to allow for drainage.

With so many varieties on hand, getting the ideal flooring option for your outdoor area is now really simple. However understanding your needs, doing in-depth research and consulting with professionals will not only save you time and money, but will give you an outdoor entertainment area that you can be proud of.

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