After consulting with the owners and looking at the patio, we decided that a “floating floor” topped with a trowel-down texture that we would then cut to mimic the look of tile would complement the space nicely. Not only would it look good, it also would not come apart like the original tile floor did. Because this style of floor coating is not directly tied to the patio slab, it has a degree of flexibility to it that prevents cracking and breakage.
First, we laid the “floating” floor which consisted of large, rectangular concrete boards and then applied the floor coating texture to it. In each project that we do, the texture is what really makes a customer’s flooring unique. We used trowels to spread the texture on top of the flooring, creating very subtle swirls and slices in the pattern, so it had an artisanal appearance instead of looking like a mass produced product. Once we had applied the textured floor coating over the entire surface of the patio, we cut out the tile pattern using hand held grinders. The beauty of this project is that the home owners got the look of a tile floor, which they liked, but without the inherent problems associated with actual tile (like popping off and breaking.) One of the big benefits of using a floor coating is that it is so versatile; it can be reworked to mimic the look of tile, stone, stucco - virtually any solid surface material! To top it off, we added the same floor coating to a porch underneath the patio.
As with any floor, especially one that is exposed to the elements, there are preventive measures that can help minimize damage to a floor coating. First and foremost, applying a sealer to the floor (as we always do) and routinely reapplying it (about every two to four years) will help keep it looking new and will prevent staining and discoloration. Another way is to be vigilant about preventing standing water from resting on the patio for extended periods of time (we are talking about weeks here, not a day or two). This is usually addressed by proper drainage. Case in point, a few years back we had installed a stamped overlay in a back patio. The owners then decided to extend the patio afterwards. We got a call one day saying that the sealer we had applied to protect the overlay was failing, very unusual as it is designed for exterior applications. We went to fix it and during the cleaning process found out that water was pooling between the new and old slabs, standing there for days on end. The guys they hired had actually sloped the new patio extension towards the house, not the lawn. Whenever it rained, the water didn't have anywhere to go. Our sealer is good, but it's not designed to seal a pool!