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Patio Flooring Ideas--Help Brainstorming, Please - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Patio Flooring Ideas--Help Brainstorming, Please

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  • Patio Flooring Ideas--Help Brainstorming, Please

    I had thought we'd go with pavers. I love the product (we had them at our old house), and I can get them installed (labor plus materials) for $3.85/sf. I've done a small paver patio before, and the only reason it was acceptable was because it was entirely covered by the hot tub. ;-) Setting/cutting the pavers isn't the issue, especially with my HF saw, but the proper grading, tamping, etc. is--the pros who installed the pavers at our old house did the job SO much better and it made the difference between a nice patio and an incredibly amateur looking one. I'm wary of trying to do it for myself, and at $3.85/sf, it seems like a no-brainer to me. Materials cost, including delivery, would only take us down to about $2.75/sf.

    Now that it's time to do it, however, Husband is freaking out. Mostly because he had a wildly inaccurate idea of what the square footage of the space is (lots of insisting that the rules of mathematics must be wrong, a 432sf space couldn't possibly be more than 150sf, because he doesn't want to pay for more than that).

    Yeah, it's been a fun few days. So I'm trying to explore other options, cast about for other ideas, in the small hope that I'll be able to come up with a more affordable alternative. I'm already trying to redraw plans, reinvent the design, but that only goes so far--the space is what it is. Even eliminating the fire pit area and a walkway to join the existing patio with the outdoor kitchen only brings me down to 252sf. And looks stupid and incomplete, but that's a different issue.

    Here's what I've researched and considered:

    Plain concrete. Lowest prices around $3.50/sf, and since I had six concrete vendors, including two small-job premix delivery services flake out on me, plus it would be unattractive, I'm not particularly interested in this option. Based on my skills pouring the hearth, I'm not sure I could do a reasonable job doing it myself, either.

    Stamped concrete. Seems to be about $6/sf around here. Looks nice, but it's more expensive than the pavers. No go.

    Flagstone. Costs $11-$13sf installed. Materials to do it ourselves would run a little north of $5/sf. I'm giving birth in about 4 weeks and don't think I'll be particularly effective in hauling around 150lb slabs of rock for a while. It needs to be cemented in place, since ground cover really doesn't grow well in between the cracks (much as I absolutely love that look, and it sounds easier to install).

    Gravel. Ugly. Painful to walk on. Hard to move patio chairs around. Needs to be raked and maintained. Looks cheap and incomplete. Costs $22/ton to be spread, costs about $20/ton, plus delivery. We'd need at least 20 tons to do the yard, though, so it's slightly cheaper at the moment, but not very usable, and would need to be hauled away whenever we eventually put in a more permanent floor.

    Grass. We'd need to completely redo the sprinkler system--grass doesn't grow here without it. That would also mean we'd have to redo the curbing. At $2/lf for curbing, we're talking about higher cost for a much less attractive, less usable surface.

    Dirt. what we have. Incomplete, dirty, very dusty when the wind blows, grows weeds like crazy in our rainy season without rock barrier. The only positive is that it's free, but I'm not exactly happy just doing nothing and leaving the project incomplete indefinitely. If we're not going to get rid of the dirt now when there's cash in the bank to cover it, it's not going to happen in the future.

    Wooden decking. I could definitely do this myself, but people just don't have wooden decks out here. Perhaps it's the termites, perhaps it's the sun, who knows. It's just not done in this part of the state, and I'm afraid we would never get a return on our investment. The stuff I've already built is at a level appropriate for more standard patio, too, so we'd have to do substantial digout to make the deck the right height.

    Anything I'm missing? Throw out any ideas, no matter how wild they sound!

  • #2
    Re: Patio Flooring Ideas--Help Brainstorming, Please

    Living in AZ, you know how hot it can get in the summer (I used to live in Tucson). The best investment I ever made outdoors was to have Cool Deck put on our concrete patio (we had it done when we installed the pool). It was amazing the temperature difference between the portion that had Cool Deck and the portion that didn't. And no, I do not work for the company!


    • #3
      Re: Patio Flooring Ideas--Help Brainstorming, Please

      Oh dear, Nikki. It sounds to me as if you've got it pretty well covered and that the pavers are the best bet.

      Supposing you planned to do it in two installments, half now and half in a year or two? That wouldn't bring the total cost down of course, but it might make the individual steps more palatable.

      Or if you did it half pavers and half grass? Say a wide ledge of pavers round the working areas and grass in the middle - the pavers might even function instead the curbing... That still leaves the sprinkler system to be dealt with, but I could imagine something like that could look quite cool.

      Hm, maybe even a combination of gravel and pavers... if you had a pattern of gravel in different colours in the areas you least need to walk over?

      That's all I can think up just at the moment, sorry. I hope you come up with a solution you both can live with. And all the very best in four weeks time, I'll be thinking of you.
      "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)



      • #4
        Re: Patio Flooring Ideas--Help Brainstorming, Please

        Hm. Sounds like you have it all thought out. Much as I hate doing it, maybe you should think out some arguments on leaving it as it is, dirt, vs. finishing it with the lowest cost (pavers, sounds like) alternative. Such as: leaving it unfinished lowers the value of your home. Finishing it, and doing it well, will raise it. ( Maybe not as much as you spend, few projects do, other than kitchens and baths, but as far as I'm concerned, the enjoyment you will get from the use of the space makes up for that. ) Other reasons, I leave to you and whatever buttons work for your particular model.

        What kind of gravel were you talking about? Pea gravel is sort of attractive, although the problem with chairs, etc. would still exist. It isn't uncomfortable under one's feet, though. It may cost too much to be a viable alternative, though.

        I know it's awful when the spouse freaks over things. (especially when it's their own miscalculation that is the cause!) I do think it's wiser to have it installed, though, after spending some time in the last few weeks working on the labyrinth project at my church. We've had to haul tons of gravel and crusher, level it and tamp it with the machine. It's a lot of work, and you ARE pregnant. You won't feel up to doing it later, either, for a while. If the money's there, it's better to bite the bullet and do it. You've got a good price, and materials for most things (not roofing, that's hideously expensive right now) are at a better price than they have been for a long time.

        Good luck. Maybe when he's over the shock of it being larger than he had in his head he'll be better....



        • #5
          Re: Patio Flooring Ideas

          Originally posted by Modthyrth View Post
          I had thought we'd go with pavers. I love the product (we had them at our old house), <snip>
          All viable choices. I also have pavers and love them; I do not think there is a better choice in your case. Very user friendly and easy to repair after the fact.
          So, tell hubby to suck it up and move on with the pavers.

          Plain concrete. <snip>
          OK, but boring. And difficult to make any changes or repairs to after the fact. Drainage may be an issue to consider. And regardless of the quality of the installation, concrete cracks.

          Stamped concrete. <snip>
          Not as boring. This option shares some of the cons as above.

          Flagstone. <snip>
          Lots of other stone choices that could be considered. Still, not as user friendly as pavers, nor is it as cost effective.

          Gravel. <snip>

          Grass. <snip>
          May not be conducive to patio furniture and the like.

          Dirt. <snip>
          Also yuk.

          Wooden decking. <snip>
          This could work, depending on the layout and grade of the location.

          Hope that this helps...

          J W

          P.S. Why is it so much easier to type "teh" than it is to type "the."