Tips for building the perfect patio
A patio is a fantastic addition to any home, providing an outdoor space that's perfect for parties, sunbathing and al fresco dining. If you're thinking about having a patio built on your property, here are two important factors you'll need to consider.
When it comes to choosing a material with which to build your patio, it's crucial to think beyond aesthetics and make sure that the kind you select is practical as well as pretty. For example, many people love the look of a patio made from terracotta tiles; however, terracotta is not usually a sensible choice for those who live in temperate or cold climates, as it tends to become dangerously slippery when wet and can crack when exposed to very low temperatures. If you live in this type of climate but are determined to have tiles, then slate would be a far better option, as this material can withstand severe temperature fluctuations and is far less slippery than terracotta.
Brick is another popular choice amongst homeowners, and with good reason; it adds a touch of sophistication and class to any property. However, because of its porosity, brick has a tendency to absorb and retain moisture; when the temperatures drop, this moisture then freezes and expands, causing cracks. As such, brick is generally only a suitable choice of patio material if you live in a mild or consistently warm climate.
Poured concrete is perhaps one of the most durable and cost-effective patio materials. Its semi-liquid state means that it can easily be moulded into virtually any shape, making it an excellent choice for those who want something other than the standard rectangular or square-shaped patio. Whilst concrete patios that are exposed to heavy foot traffic can sometimes develop pitting, this issue can be resolved quite easily using concrete grinding machines which help to skim off the damaged top layer, to reveal the smooth surface underneath.
If, when having your patio built, you fail to consider potential drainage issues, you will most likely have to deal with serious water damage in a few months' time. As such, it's worth taking the time to consider this matter carefully before the construction work begins.
If for example, there is a downspout next to the area in which you intend to build your patio, it would be wise to adjust this section of your property's guttering so that the flow of rainwater from it is no longer directed at the patio.
Additionally, if the shape of the land where you'll be building the structure will not allow for a pitch which enables rainwater to naturally flow off the patio area, you may need to ask your contractor to add an integrated drainage system, with channels in between the patio slabs that will prevent an accumulation of water. Alternatively, you could opt for water-permeable paving stones for your patio; these will ensure that any rainwater that lands on the patio will sink down into the ground below.