Whether you’re building a new patio or updating the deck, you’ll need to pick out some flooring for the outdoor space.
You have several options to choose from in outdoor flooring, and the type you choose will depend on the purpose of the space, your personal tastes, and your budget.
If you’ve chosen wood over brick, concrete, or tile flooring for the patio or deck, use these tips for selecting the best outdoor flooring and patio flooring for your space:
A Closer Look at Composite Wood Flooring
Composite wood flooring, also known as composite wood decking, gives you the feel and look of wood without the risk of damage in the short term.
Since natural wood can be a porous material and prone to warping, it’s not the ideal material for a deck or patio; it’s subject to rain and changing temperatures.
This is why many homeowners choose composite flooring, an artificial version of wood that looks and feels just like your favorite type of wood.
Just like vinyl flooring, you would use inside the home, composite wood flooring is easy to maintain and to install. Here are some other benefits of composite wood outdoor flooring:
- Fire Resistant – Composite floors are designed to be fire-resistant, so you can set up a fire pit, light candles or torches, and have open flames from a barbecue out on the patio without worrying about the risk of a fire.
- Affordable – Compared to pressure treated wood and other types of traditional flooring, composite flooring is much more affordable. If you’re a homeowner on a budget, this type of outdoor flooring could help you get that larger project done without going over budget.
- Ideal for Smaller Spaces – If you have smaller outdoor spaces, such as a balcony or a smaller deck, composite wood flooring or composite tiles can create the wood look you want without spending a fortune on the flooring materials.
- Easy to Shop – You’ll find a variety of colors and styles of composite wood flooring, and you don’t have to worry about whether the wood is real. You can just pick out what you want and have it installed relatively quickly.
- No Treatments Needed – Since composite floors are not made of wood, you don’t have to worry about having the floors treated or use special cleaning materials to polish them and keep them looking as good as new. The cost-savings from not needing these treatments can add up over the years, especially if you have a larger deck or patio or live in a colder climate where you need to clear the deck of snow and ice.
While composite flooring offers several benefits, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind. Since composite floors are made of different types of plastics, they will retain heat and take a while to cool down from the summer sun. If you live in a very hot or humid climate, your best bet would choose to floor in a lighter color.
Another drawback is cost. Even though composite wood floors are less expensive than traditional wood, they are still on the higher end of the cost spectrum when you compare them to the cost of brick, concrete, or porcelain tiles for an outdoor flooring project.
A Closer Look at Traditional Wood Flooring
If you’re looking for traditional flooring for your deck or patio, and aren’t afraid of the cost, you can choose traditional wood.
Since wood can warp easily and wear down faster than other flooring materials, you’ll need to have it treated with a sealant regularly and have it professionally installed to avoid premature deterioration and problems with your patio flooring.
Some of the benefits of wood for outdoor flooring include:
- Stays Cool – Wood floors do not retain heat, which is why they’re a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor spaces of homes in hotter climates. If the deck or patio receives a lot of sunlight all day, and you live in a tropical environment, natural wood may be your best bet for keeping the floors cool.
- Natural Look – Since the floors are made of real wood, you will create a very natural, rustic, and even stately look outdoors. Real wood really can’t be compared to composite wood when it comes to the texture, feel, and sturdiness of the material.
- Adds Value to Home – Having a solid wood deck or patio can be a valuable addition to the home and even increase the overall market value of the property because it’s a sought-after feature.
Traditional wood has a number of benefits, but there are still some drawbacks to consider with this outdoor flooring material. For many people, the cost of installing wood flooring is significantly higher than other types of outdoor patio flooring.
The cost of materials, installation, and treating and staining the wood regularly can make for a significant investment. Most wood decks and patios need annual sealing treatments to prevent wood rot, termites, and other types of deterioration.
Another drawback of wood flooring is finding the right type of wood. There are many wood flooring installation companies out there, but you need to know where they are sourcing their wood and if it’s 100% wood—not a composite or artificial.
You’ll need to do your homework to make sure you’re purchasing your flooring materials from a reputable supplier and getting what you paid for.
Wood flooring can be just what you need to create a rustic and more traditional look on the patio or deck. You’ll need to consider the pros and cons of composite wood and traditional wood compared to other types of outdoor patio flooring, such as concrete, brick, and ceramic tile.
Take some time to compare different types of wood and make sure you have a reputable installer to handle the project for the best possible outcome with your project.