Best Outdoor Flooring Options for Patio, Deck, Backyard

When you’re designing a new outdoor space, your flooring choice matters. Certain flooring products are better at standing up to the elements or offer better traction in wet conditions. Plus, some floors let you achieve a particular look. As a result, wondering, “What’s the best outdoor flooring for a patio, deck, or backyard?” is common.

Several types of outdoor flooring work well for patios, decks, and backyards. Composite or traditional wood decking are popular choices. Poured concrete, concrete pavers, and stone pavers are classic choices, but other options are worth considering.

Knowing which floors work well outside allows you to select the best outdoor flooring for your project. Here’s what you need to know.

Best Outdoor Flooring Options for Patio, Deck, and Backyard

1. Composite Decking

Best Outdoor Flooring Options

Don’t overlook composite decking when you’re looking for the best outdoor flooring for a patio, deck, or backyard. The material is designed to resemble genuine wood, but it’s far more weather-resistant and durable. Plus, it’s a low-maintenance option, as you won’t have to worry about staining or sealing.

You can get composite decking in a broad selection of colors and a range of plank widths and lengths. Installation is reasonably straightforward, and issues like rot or splintering are non-issue. Plus, it’s stain, water, and mold-resistant.

However, composite decking typically costs more than traditional wood decking. Still, the lower maintenance requirements and potentially longer lifespan could offset the additional expense.

2. Outdoor Tile

Outdoor Tile

Outdoor tile is a group of options explicitly designed for outdoor use. These manufactured products are typically designed to resemble another material, stone, wood, or brick. Plus, they’re more durable than genuine articles and often cost less.

One popular option in this category is quarry tile, which resembles terra cotta or brick. Quarry tile is non-porous and more durable than terra cotta or brick, and it doesn’t have a surface glaze, giving you more traction. It’s suitable for patios, outdoor seating areas, and walkways.

3. Artificial Turf

Artificial Turf

Artificial turf or grass is a less conventional outdoor flooring option for backyard spaces. Artificial turf uses synthetic materials to create a textured surface that looks like regular grass, though the degree of realism varies by product.

Artificial turf is easy to install and is practically maintenance-free. The durability is generally high, and it will maintain its green color for a long time, as most artificial turf resists fading. If you use it on your lawn, watering is no longer required, saving money.

One issue with turf is that growing trees or plants isn’t an option. Instead, you’d need cutouts for the plants. As a result, it’s best to use it only in large open areas where additional plants aren’t wanted.

4. Outdoor Carpeting

Outdoor Carpeting

Typically used on patios, outdoor carpeting is a textile-based option. Usually, it’s sold as peel-and-stick carpet tiles, though you can also find outdoor rugs that don’t adhere to surfaces.

The main benefit of outdoor carpeting is that it’s soft underfoot. Outdoor carpeting also offers great traction and is available in various colors and patterns.

While outdoor carpeting is water, mold, and mildew-resistant, that doesn’t make it a great choice if there’s a lot of water exposure. As a result, it should only be used on covered patios or decks or in regions where rainfall is minimal.

5. Traditional Wood Decking

Wood Decking

When it comes to classic outdoor flooring options, traditional wood decking is a quintessential example. It’s relatively low-cost – depending on the wood species – and is easy to find. Plus, you can sand and stain a deck to get your preferred color, allowing you to alter the look of cheaper woods.

Installing wood decking is straightforward, making it DIY-friendly. The result is also a natural-looking surface, which some people prefer.

When it comes to drawbacks, traditional wood decking is a higher maintenance option. Regular cleaning, sealing, and staining are usually necessary to protect the material, as it’s not especially water-resistant. Traditional wood decking isn’t as durable as some alternatives, too, so it may need replacing more often.

6. Poured Concrete

Poured Concrete

For patios, poured concrete is an affordable, durable option. Plus, it’s far more versatile than many homeowners realize.

Along with concrete stains to change the color, you can stamp concrete before it cures to add patterns. Since poured concrete is installed on-site, it’s also easier to get customized shapes when you’re setting up for the slabs.

Another benefit of poured concrete is that the material is fire, water, and corrosion-resistant. Overall, poured concrete is also relatively low-maintenance and offers decent traction. It’s also VOC-free, though it can be prone to mold or mildew if not properly sealed, and cracks are difficult to repair if they occur.

7. Rubber Paving Stones

RevTime 20 pcs Hexagon Rubber Pavers 10-1/2', 3/4' Thick for Garden pavers, Deck Floor Tile, Patio Floor mats, Lawn Stepping Stones, Terra CottaWith rubber paving stones, you can choose from various colors and textures. The material is lightweight enough to work on decks, but it’s also suitable for patios or placement in the yard (if you have the right base).

Rubber paving stones are durable and offer excellent slip resistance in various weather conditions. They’re also slightly soft underfoot and quiet to walk across. Plus, installation is simple, and replacing damaged tiles is easy.

Usually, the biggest drawback of rubber paving stones is that they don’t look natural. Additionally, this outdoor flooring option is more expensive than many alternatives.

8. Concrete Pavers

Concrete Pavers

Concrete pavers are another option that works well for patios or for creating walkways and sitting areas in the backyard. They come in various shapes, sizes, styles, and colors and are reasonably easy to install.

By going with concrete pavers over poured concrete, repairs are also less challenging. You can remove and replace damaged pavers if spares are available. In many cases, concrete pavers are also more durable, and they provide similar water, fire, and corrosion resistance.

Since concrete pavers don’t need to cure, you can use the surface immediately. The texture on the pavers also makes most versions slip-resistant. Just be aware that dealing with weeds between the pavers is potentially cumbersome, and you’ll usually need to install a base before adding the concrete pavers to your yard.

9. Stone Pavers

Stone Pavers

For those who prefer a natural material, stone pavers are worth considering. Most have natural texture, creating good traction, and the final look is more elevated when compared to wood decking, concrete, or brick.

In some cases, preparing a suitable base for stone pavers is time-consuming and challenging, but adding the stone pavers is simple once that’s done. Further, this flooring choice is incredibly durable, low-maintenance, and environmentally friendly.

Generally, stone pavers cost more than concrete or brick. Additionally, the stone is a hard surface, so it isn’t as comfortable underfoot as some alternatives and is often loud when walking across it.

10. Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile can help you achieve a higher-end look with your outdoor flooring. It’s available in various colors, sizes, and patterns, allowing you to choose tiles that match your preferred aesthetic.

Installation isn’t overly challenging if you’re an experienced DIYer, though you may need specialized tile saws to make cuts. However, if you haven’t laid tile before, you might want to hire a professional.

Overall, porcelain tile is incredibly durable, low-maintenance, and easy to clean. Additionally, it’s typically mold, water, and stain-resistant. When it comes to slip resistance, you need to choose a tile with the right texture or finish to ensure it’s not overly slick when wet.

11. Ceramic Floor Tile

Ceramic Floor Tile

Comparatively, ceramic outdoor flooring is less expensive than porcelain, though it’s also less durable. However, installation is easier since it’s less challenging to cut and isn’t as heavy as porcelain.

You can find various colors, patterns, and shapes if you choose ceramic tile. The material is also reasonably easy to clean, which benefits higher-traffic outdoor spaces.

When it comes to drawbacks, ceramic tile is more prone to cracking than some alternatives. Additionally, the material is porous, which makes ceramic tile more prone to milder, mold, and water damage.

12. Outdoor Laminate

Consider outdoor laminate for easy installation and a wood-look flooring option that’s less expensive than genuine wood. It’s a durable, water-resistant material, though it’s not weather-resistant enough to use anywhere except on covered decks and patios.

Laminate is scratch and slip-resistant. Plus, it’s inexpensive compared to many alternatives. You need a stable subfloor for installation, which may make it ill-suited for some outdoor areas.

Additionally, laminate is more prone to chipping than some other types of outdoor flooring. However, it’s an inexpensive option, and replacing damaged planks is an option that makes it worth considering.

13. Outdoor Vinyl

Outdoor Vinyl

Outdoor vinyl flooring is durable, low-maintenance, and easy to clean. The material resists scratches and stains, so it maintains its look well. Plus, the synthetic materials make it water-resistant or waterproof, and click-and-lock versions are simple to install.

While vinyl flooring is designed to resemble stone or wood in many cases, it’s not as natural looking as the genuine article. On the plus side, it is more comfortable underfoot than stone, concrete, or tile.

In most cases, outdoor vinyl is only suitable for covered patios or decks, as constant exposure to the weather reduces durability. Also, it may contain VOCs, so keep that in mind.

14. Plastic Deck Tiles

36 sq. ft Plastic Interlocking Deck Tiles,36 Pack Patio Deck Tiles,12'x12' Waterproof Outdoor Flooring All Weather Use, Patio Floor Decking Tiles for Porch Poolside Balcony Backyard,Dark Grey

Plastic deck tiles are excellent for areas where water exposure is a concern. Along with being slip-resistant, they’re mold and mildew-resistant thanks to built-in drainage features. Most are also fade-resistant, so they won’t change color due to high levels of sun exposure.

Since the material is synthetic, you can get plastic deck tiles in a broad selection of colors and patterns. Installation is typically simple, and this outdoor flooring type is very low-maintenance.

When it comes to drawbacks, plastic deck tiles are hard underfoot. Additionally, they typically look synthetic, so they won’t align with everyone’s style preferences.

15. Outdoor Sports Tiles

Outdoor sports tiles are highly durable and weather-resistant. Plus, they’re a bit soft underfoot and won’t produce a lot of noise while walking across them. The surface is also slip-resistant, even when wet, and they offer excellent drainage.

You can find outdoor sports tiles in nearly any imaginable color, and it’s relatively easy to create patterns during installation. Installing them is also easy, as most use a hook-and-loop system.

The downsides of sports tiles are that they look synthetic, and the cost can vary dramatically. As a result, they won’t blend with every style and may not work for every budget.

16. Foam Floor Tile

Foam floor tiles cost less than rubber, and they offer similar benefits. Installation and cleaning are easy, and they’re comfortable underfoot. Plus, replacing damaged or worn-out tiles is simple.

Foam floor tile is also very lightweight. You can also find this flooring type in a range of colors. However, you won’t usually find patterns that resemble natural materials, and the overall look is very synthetic.

You may also see dents if heavy objects are left on foam floor tiles for a lengthy period. It’s also possible to tear or puncture the material.

17. Gravel

Gravel Patio

For a low-cost option, gravel is a solid choice for outdoor flooring. It’s available in many colors and sizes and is generally easy to install. Plus, if it wears thin in some areas, you can reposition the gravel to level it out or top it off.

When it comes to maintenance, you’ll need to redistribute the gravel if it shifts. Additionally, without a suitable barrier in place, weeds can come through. The overall look isn’t typically as refined either, which is off-putting to some homeowners.

How to Choose the Exterior Flooring

If you need to choose an exterior flooring option, you need to weigh several factors. In most cases, it’s best to start by determining your budget. Once you know what you can spend, you can decide if the price of specific outdoor flooring options eliminates them from contention.

After that, decide what look you’d want to achieve. For example, if you’re explicitly looking for wood-like flooring, you could consider composite decking, traditional wood decking, wood-look ceramic tile, outdoor laminate, or outdoor vinyl planks.

Not all outdoor flooring types offer the same colors and patterns. Knowing what you want the result to look like, you can further narrow down your choices.

Also, factor in the amount of weather exposure. Some materials are more weather-resistant than others, and some should only be used in areas with low rainfall or covered spaces.

Most Slip-Resistant Outdoor Flooring

Several outdoor flooring options are highly slip-resistant. Outdoor sports tiles are one of the strongest performers, as they’re slip-resistant even when wet. Rubber pavers, artificial turf, and outdoor carpeting also perform incredibly well.

Concrete generally isn’t slippery unless it gets icy. The same is true of modern composite decking and natural wood decking. However, if organic matter sticks to either type of decking, it can end up slick when wet.

Plastic outdoor tile is typically manufactured with texture to improve traction. However, if they get icy or there’s organic build-up, they may be slippery when wet, too.

Gravel isn’t traditionally slick. However, since it’s a loose flooring material, it can shift underfoot, even in dry conditions. As a result, it’s not an ideal choice for anyone with mobility issues, regardless of the climate.

In most cases, porcelain and ceramic tiles are the most likely to end up slippery when wet. Polished natural stone is also slick, though unpolished versions with some texture offer decent traction.

What Outdoor Flooring Goes Over Concrete?

If you want to cover a concrete patio, you have several options. Composite decking, rubber pavers, and outdoor carpeting are all options for outdoor spaces that aren’t covered. You could also go with sport or foam tiles and artificial turf.

Concrete is a suitable mounting surface for outdoor, porcelain, or concrete tile. You could also place laminate or vinyl planks or tiles on it, though you should only go that route if the patio is covered.

What’s the Cheapest Outdoor Flooring?

Generally, the cheapest outdoor flooring materials are outdoor carpet, poured concrete, and gravel. However, outdoor carpet usually requires a sturdy base, so it isn’t ideal if you don’t have an existing concrete slab or similar surface. Gravel will require a weed barrier, though installing one isn’t costly, while poured concrete usually only needs some ground preparation.

In many cases, traditional wood decking isn’t overly expensive. However, the cost varies depending on the species, and ongoing maintenance can make the total cost of this route notable, though not excessive.

Artificial turf is another relatively affordable option. Since it’s also practically maintenance-free, the cost of installing it is typically all you’ll deal with until it needs replacing.

Finally, foam tile is typically the least expensive among the softer options. You will need an existing base if you’re aiming to keep costs down, as installing one significantly increases the price of your project. Additionally, while foam tile has a reasonable lifespan, it isn’t as durable as many alternatives, so you may need to replace damaged tiles regularly.

What Type of Flooring Is Best for Outdoors?

Technically, there isn’t one option that’s the best outdoor flooring. Instead, it depends on personal preference and your budget. If durability is a concern, composite decking and stone tiles are excellent choices. If you’re worried about poured concrete could be a better option. However, any of those listed above are worth considering, so keep that in mind.

Did you find out everything you wanted to learn about the best outdoor flooring types? If so, let us know in the comments. Also, if you know someone who’s choosing flooring for their outdoor spaces, make sure to share the article.

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