Building a Patio: The Best Surface Options Depending on Where You Live

Building a Patio

A patio is a space on the outside of a home or building (usually in the back or on the side) where people can gather to eat, talk, entertain, or even just enjoy the scenery. It’s a great addition to your home where you can host family gatherings, your kids can have somewhere safe to play, and you can extend your home decor outdoors.

Having a patio can also increase the value of your home: it extends your indoor space, giving your home more square footage, and it creates another gathering space or second kitchen— which is the most important room in a home. However, the maintenance of a patio can be difficult if you don’t choose the right material for the region you live in.

Arizona and the Southwest

Arizona and the Southwest United States (New Mexico and Western Texas) are known for their hot, desert-like climates. This area doesn’t get as much rain as the North Pacific or even the Southeast U.S. (including Southeast Texas), so residents in this area can use flagstone as their patio material.

Flagstone has an earthy appearance to it, but it’s also very porous and prone to water damage and erosion. This type of patio material requires adequate drainage, which isn’t a problem in the Southwest U.S. The Arizona Sandstone variety of this summer is the most porous, but it’s also the coolest in the summer.

California and the West Coast

A patio is a great upgrade for your California home, or anywhere else on the west coast (Oregon, Washington, etc.). The best material for a patio in this region would probably be clay brick. It’s one of the most “green” building materials, and it works well with both traditional and contemporary architecture.

Clay brick also does better in dry heat than in humid heat, and it also tends to crack when temperatures drop extremely low— something that the West Coast (California specifically)
doesn’t have to worry too much about.

Colorado and the Rocky Mountains

Colorado and the other states included in the Rocky Mountains region (Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana) are lucky enough to experience all four seasons, but winters can be especially cold and harsh. For this reason, a tile patio is best, as it can hold up well under these conditions. Porcelain tile, specifically, can hold up in the cold.

Just keep in mind that glazed tile is slippery when wet, although it’s not likely that people will be sitting on their patios when it’s snowing in the Rockies. However, it’s still a good idea to go with unglazed tile to reduce your chances of slipping and falling.

Connecticut and the Northeast

Connecticut, the other New England states, and the Mid-Atlantic states can also see some pretty cold winters— but they can also see some pretty hot summers. With such diverse
weather conditions, patio pavers may be the best option for this region.

Patio pavers can be made from a variety of materials, such as:

  • Clay
  • Concrete
  • Stone

Your exact location and weather conditions will influence your choice of material for your pavers.

Florida and the Southeast

Florida and the entire southeast U.S. are known for being hot and humid, especially during the summer. It’s also pretty rainy during the summer. For this reason, it can be hard to find the perfect material for a patio. Cut stone (made from blue stone, limestone, marble, or slate) is some of the more durable options, able to withstand heat and water.

Indiana and the Midwest

Indiana and the Midwest states (Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, etc.) are other regions that experience all four seasons, so outdoor weather is pretty enjoyable most of the time. Because of this, a sturdy concrete patio will be perfect for this area. Concrete is prone to getting hot, but it’s not likely to get dangerously hot in this region. On the other hand, it is
prone to cracking during freeze-thaw cycles, so states in the north Midwest (North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan) should take extra care of their concrete patios. If you’re in the north-central Indiana area, call GRA-Rock to pump concrete for your patio. A concrete patio isn’t a D.I.Y. job like some of the other options listed above.

Overall, you can use any type of material for your patio, as long as you take proper care of it. You can even use loose material, such as gravel, mulch, or even sand if you’re willing.

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