FALLBROOK – Curb appeal can have a dramatic impact on prospective home buyers. Landscaping improvements and renovations to the outside of the home create a strong first impression, with many feeling a home with an appealing exterior has an equally impressive interior.
A patio is one area of a home that can boost a home’s appeal and value, while also providing a great place for entertaining and outdoor living and dining.
Many homeowners waver when choosing a material for their patio, because each material has its own advantages and disadvantages.
A backyard patio is a place where friends and family members can convene in the nice weather to enjoy dining al fresco. In the cooler months, a patio is a great place to gather around a fire pit and warm chilly toes while sipping mugs of hot cocoa.
When designing a patio, homeowners must make a host of decisions, not the least of which is choosing a patio material.
Wood, stone, concrete, paving blocks, and tile all can be used to create appealing and functional patios. Because of the widespread availability of concrete, pavers and wood, many patios are constructed of these materials.
Concrete allows for a long-lasting patio surface. Using the popular colored and “stamped” concrete, homeowners can enjoy more colors, textures, and designs than ever before. The new technology in tinting and styling enables concrete to look like other expensive stone materials at a fraction of the cost of stone.
For the experienced mason, pouring concrete is a relatively easy job. It may be more difficult for the novice do-it-yourselfer because laying concrete requires knowledge of grading and also installing spacers correctly to deter cracking. Because concrete is not as labor-intensive as some other materials, homeowners may save some money if they choose concrete.
Concrete is durable, but over time, cracking can be inevitable. Some concrete requires the application of a sealant every few years to protect coloring and durability. Around pools, concrete can become slippery when wet if the surface wasn’t properly finished with an anti-skid method.
Many homeowners gravitate toward paving stones because their varied texture and shapes can create quite an appealing look. If installed correctly, pavers will not crack and it is possible to easily add on to an original design because of the portability of these stones. And because they can be moved, pavers can be repaired from underground and stones can be replaced without any demolition. Homeowners like that pavers can quickly make a yard look high-end.
Although pavers can be installed as a do-it-yourself project, such installation can be labor-intensive. The ground needs to be accurately leveled and prepped before the stones can be placed to help ensure there is no shifting or movement. Polymeric sand should be applied and pushed into the joints between blocks to alleviate shifting. The sand contains a polymer that hardens and locks the blocks in place. Such detailed work can be beyond the abilities of some homeowners, who typically pay a substantial amount to have the stones professionally installed.
Though the sand may inhibit weed growth, weeds can still pop up between the blocks, so maintenance is necessary. Also, paving blocks are slightly uneven and they can loosen, which can prove a safety hazard to the elderly or young children who aren’t surefooted.
Wood is often thought of in a raised-deck scenario, but it can also be laid at ground level to create a low-lying patio. A wood patio can be unique and stained or painted in a variety of colors. It also may be less expensive to install than concrete or pavers. If the shape is relatively simple, a do-it-yourselfer also may be able to do the job without hiring a professional.
Though wood is a good choice for many homeowners, it is undoubtedly high maintenance. Wood must be routinely cleaned, stained, and sealed. Even with the best care, wood can warp, splinter, and chip. When surrounding a pool, wood can quickly deteriorate after coming in contact with chemicals from the pool water. Though most wood is treated, it may be susceptible to boring insects and other pests.
Creating a patio can add value to a home. The hard decision is selecting a patio material that fits one’s budget and gives the patio the look ultimately desired.