All too often, designers become caught up with the interior, when it is the outside of a building that sets the tone for what people can expect on the inside. It is what gives a lasting first impression and it’s something that can completely change a visitor or client’s perception of a space. Here are some of the types of exterior flooring that you should consider for your projects:

Concrete
From sidewalks and driveways to restaurant patios, exterior reception areas and strip malls, commercial concrete flooring can be found just about everywhere. Exterior concrete provides so many options, is easy to maintain and lasts a very long time. If there is already concrete on the property’s exterior, you can spice it up with staining, stamping or one of the many other effects that are available.

Stain can provide wide expanses of concrete with rich, vibrant colour. The stain designs, colour options and application techniques can derive a unique look for exterior floors. Stamped concrete is another popular option for exterior commercial flooring. Brick, slate, random stone and wood plank patterns are also popular designs that look natural and authentic, and can blend easily with existing stone, tile and wood facades.

Outdoor carpet
Very different to the ultra-thick plush bedroom carpet, outdoor carpets are approved for outdoor use. These carpets are often very short, low pile carpets similar to what you see in an office. Even low pile carpet is naturally soft and comforting, and there are more options available that what you might expect. Many outdoor carpets are available in carpet tiles, which lets designers mix and match colours to create fun, unique designs. You also get outdoor rugs which allow you to change the décor quickly.

Natural stone
Natural materials such as limestone, slate and quartzite are classic favourites for outdoor flooring. While natural stone can be pricey, the longevity of these floors makes it a worthwhile investment for clients who want an exquisite floor that will last a very long time.

If budget is an issue, then consider incorporating “splashes” of natural stone in pathways or other public outdoor spaces. Be sure to keep in mind that the glossy finish can be a safety hazard when wet. For commercial projects especially, a non-slip sealer or finish should be applied.

Seamless quartz flooring
Seamless quartz flooring is a high strength quartz flooring system that can add colour, versatility and chic to any outdoor space. Its appearance is that of an internal carpet but with a MOH hardness rating of 8, its strength rivals that of a diamond! These types of floors are low maintenance, stain resistant, slip resistant, easy to clean and are excellent for pool surrounds and outdoor entertainment areas.

TAL DecoQuartz

Porcelain and ceramic tiles
It’s no secret that porcelain and ceramic tiles can imitate everything from luxurious marble to rustic hardwood without the drawbacks of maintenance and costs that are associated with the real thing. Porcelain and ceramic exterior flooring is highly durable and is renowned for being very easy to clean and maintain. Be sure to check out the PEI rating when specifying the tiles. A PEI 1 rating is the least scratch and wear resistant, with 5 being the most resistant to scratches and wear.

Artificial grass
Landscaping can be a major expense for a client. Why not opt for maintenance-free artificial grass instead? The artificial grass that is being produced both locally and abroad looks realistic and is a vast improvement on the Astroturf from years ago. When specifying artificial grass, opt for a product that is strong, non-slip, weatherproof, child-friendly (if there is a play area on the property) and is obviously aesthetically pleasing. Ask to see photos of the installed product first.

Ottomanson Evergreen Collection

Bricks
Consider the classic, elegant look of brick architecture in 1960s New England and it is not hard to see why so many designers are opting for bricks to create striking outdoor features for their clients. A normal office block can be transformed into a foreign country thanks to the colour options and patterns that are available. Bricks are durable, virtually maintenance-free and can last until the bricks are destroyed.

Wooden decking
From traditional timber to composite products, nothing quite compares to the look and feel of a wooden deck on a property. It is a top choice for landscapers, designers and architects who want a natural-looking flooring option that accentuates the design of a building. Also consider an engineered composite for a vibrant, long-lasting solution that won’t rot, splinter or warp.

Decking from Ecosia

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.concretecraft.com, www.flooringinc.com and www.seamlessflooring.co.za for some of the information contained in this article.

Main image courtesy of Eliane.

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