• Kat Cervoni

Design Hack: Covering an Ugly Concrete Patio

What to do with an ugly concrete patio? I have two go-to solutions that check a lot of boxes on our clients (and our) wish list.



I've always had a love/hate relationship with concrete. There are times when industrial or Brutalist-inspired architecture looks picture perfect thanks to a giant expanse of concrete floor, walls, or support pylons. Concrete planters tend to have a contemporary coolness about them as well - even if they don't tend to hold up well over time. But few things sour the excitement of a new backyard at your new house than an old, or worse, incorrectly poured concrete patio. Jagged, weedy-infested cracks, mysterious stains, and iceberg-like chunks rising against the strain of underground tree roots just begging to be tripped over, or at least have a toe stumped on. Unfortunately, getting rid of them can prove as unpleasant (in addition to expensive) as enduring them. 


So what to do with an ugly concrete patio? I have two go-to solutions that check a lot of boxes on our clients (and our) wish list. 


Option 1 ($ - DIY friendly)

If a quick, cheap and easy fix is what's right for you, I recommend checking out Ikea's outdoor decking tile system. These permeable wood tiles easily lock in place together for a fast and effective veneer that's permeable (i.e., allows drainage!). If you have a good electric saw, you can cut these tiles to fit funky shapes and corners for an extra customized look. 



Pros: 

- Affordable and readily available 

- Quick and easy to install

- Neutral style that can fit in with most outdoor spaces

- Allows for ample drainage

- Modular design allows for easy access to concrete pad, maintenance, etc. 


Cons:

- Limited styles, colors, and sizes

- Limited durability - Underside lock mechanisms are plastic and breakable 

- Does not fix issues with the slope or uneven pavement

- You can feel a bit of flex/bounce when walking on the tiles sometimes 

- Leaf debris can be hard to clean out




Option 2 ($$$ - professional installation highly recommended)

My second recommendation - while more expensive - is very effective, extremely convenient and long-lasting. Bonus points for being attractive, and having the most color/texture options. This option involves going with either a porcelain paver + pedestal system, or hardwood decking pavers + pedestal system. In a nutshell, a new patio or decking surface is laid down and secured in place with a pedestal system, which rests directly on top of your concrete patio. We're big fans of Bison Innovative Products and Archatrak.  





Pros: 

- Long-lasting

- Durable

- Low-Maintenance 

- Attractive options in a variety of styles

- Corrects issues with slope and level of existing patio 

- Allows for ample drainage

- Modular design allows for easy access to concrete pad, maintenance, etc. 


Cons:

- Expensive

- Requires professional installation (you need someone who owns a tile saw and knows how to use it well)



Got questions or other ideas for hiding ugly patios? Give us a shout in the comments!

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