If you’re looking to redo or add a patio, you’re probably wondering what type of material is the best one. At GreenEarth Landscape Services, we get that question a lot, and it’s a good one.
There’s a vast variety of paving materials available, and you should consider each one as you move toward a decision.
What Is The Best Patio Material?
There isn’t one “perfect” material for a Florida panhandle patio: It depends on your budget, how the materials fit in with your house and landscaping, and — of course — your taste. This article will examine the pros and cons of several paving materials for your patio.
As you decide between natural stone vs pavers, pavers vs concrete, we hope the information we present here helps make your decision a little easier.
Natural stone — including slate, flagstone, travertine, limestone and bluestone — has a beautiful look and adds a unique look to a patio. The colors vary and have an earthy look, also providing a rich, textured appearance.
When choosing a natural stone, you’ll decide whether you want regular or irregular shaped pieces. The shapes, along with how closely the stones are set together, affect its look. Irregular stones are set further apart because they don’t naturally fit together, and the patio may have a bumpier and more organic feel to it.
Disadvantages of Natural Stone
As for disadvantages, natural stone is usually more expensive to purchase and install for a couple of reasons:
- It’s quarried and requires transportation from the site
- It can be harder to work with because of its uneven thickness
That uneven texture and thickness can mean higher labor costs, as the installers need to make sure the stones are level in spite of their different sizes. Stones are usually set in between concrete, which can crack and require repair.
Pavers are modular, with the same thickness, which makes them easier lay down. They can be set with a gravel or sand base, and don’t usually need mortar. For these reasons, they’re less expensive to use for your patio, compared to natural stone.
If you like the look of brick or natural stone, you can find pavers manufactured with that appearance, and they may even be more durable than the real thing!
As for design, some paver manufacturers make it easy on consumers and installers, selling pavers in shapes that make edging or design patterns simple to install. Maintenance is simple, too; sealing your pavers protects them through Florida's varied weather.
Disadavantages Of Pavers
Some homeowners find pavers to look a bit “busy” against the structure of their houses, depending on the material. (Pavers next to a brick house? Maybe not the best choice if you’re seeking a simple look.)
Maintenance is also an issue: Pavers can separate from one another over time, which can cause an uneven surface. Weeds or grass can also grow between them, depending on the type of sand used to set the pavers. (It’s worth noting that properly installed, well-maintained pavers won’t do this — if your pavers separate, it was likely an oversight during installation that could have been corrected with better grading and other preventive measures.)
Concrete has a bit of a bad rap as a durable but uninspired surface. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Sure, you could go with a plain, poured concrete patio slab, but there are many ways to jazz it up, adding character and visual interest. Concrete can be dyed before it’s poured, so that the color is maintained even with wear and tear. Or you can use a color stain on top.
Have you considered a stamped concrete patio? This method allows you to insert designs of your choice in wet concrete, adding texture such as brick-like scoring. It’s also easy to intersperse other materials for a more decorative look, like adding brick or tile in a pattern.
Concrete is generally the least expensive durable patio foundation.
Disadvantages Of Concrete Patios
Concrete can crack in freeze/thaw conditions, showing surface cracks. This is less of an issue on the Florida panhandle, but can occur. If using a color stain, you’ll need to restain every year or two, as heavy traffic can affect the surface color.
If you’d like to talk with us about what type of patio materials would work well at your house, reach out to the professionals at GreenEarth Landscape Services. Give us a call at our Panama City Beach office at (850) 236-1959, or call our Santa Rosa Beach office at (850) 267-0010 to set up an appointment. You can also fill out the online form on our website to schedule a consultation.