Outdoor flooring options and prices

A house with garden and lake
ARTICLE Anya Kussler  IMAGES BiForm and The Tile Depot

Composite decking

Composite decking, an alternative to wooden decking, has been used in countries like the US and Canada for around 30 years and has recently been introduced into New Zealand and Australia.

Consisting of a combination of recycled wood fibres and recycled plastic (usually at a 50:50 ratio), composite decking is super-robust and resistant to decay, giving it a much longer lifespan than wooden decks.

Solid composite decking, available as boards and tiles, is a premium, eco-friendly composite flooring product that’s also super low-maintenance.

Being ‘solid’, it won’t crack, warp or move like many of the hollow products on the market – and, unlike timber decking, it comes in a range of prefabricated natural timber colours, so there’s no need to stain or paint it. Better still: it’s easy to clean, and the only TLC it needs is a few soap washes per year.

A girl is playing on outdoor flooring with five toys

What’s more, Solid Composite Decking is slip-resistant (making it ideal for entrance ways), plus it contains mould inhibitors and is free from formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals found in treated timber. And you don’t have to worry about nails popping up and potentially hurting someone. That’s because a hidden clip fixing system holds the boards together, and it’s also easier and quicker to install than timber.

Solid composite decking boards come in two sizes and six versatile natural timber colours, ranging from a light driftwood colour to warmer hues like cedar, while the tiles are available in three shades. Suitable for any outdoor area, the boards can be installed straight on to a timber structure or butanol waterproof membrane.

The tiles, in particular, are an ideal choice for an apartment, especially ones with multiple balconies and a lack of proper deck space. They consist of a plastic underside base made with inbuilt connecting tabs that are quick and easy to install via a ‘quick-click’ system.

The front of a house with wood fiber decks and planting on the sides of it

Porcelain stoneware pavers

An elegant alternative to traditional concrete or expensive high-maintenance stone pavers – 20mm porcelain stoneware pavers are slowly but surely coming of age since they emerged around six years ago. Slip-resistant and extra-durable, they’re easy to install and maintain, and they’re also extremely versatile.

You can use them in all exterior residential applications, be it to frame your swimming pool, or make your terrace or driveway look the part. “The 20mm profile is also great for creating a seamless indoor-outdoor flow,” adds Mike Sydall, General Manager of leading NZ tile supplier, The Tile Depot.

The tiles can be installed by dry-laying them onto gravel or sand, as pavers onto grass, or onto an elevated deck jack system. 

“These options make it easy to change the design and re-install the tiles,” Mike explains. “And dry-laying them prevents efflorescence, mildew and mould from forming, so they’re easy to maintain.” In order to create a more permanent floor there’s also a fourth option: to install the tiles using traditional adhesives.

An inner courtyard garden of a house that has a ocean view

The tiles are made from ultra-fine clay and are inherently non-porous due to their high density, which makes them highly resistant to stains, water and wear and tear.

Their 20mm thickness also means they can handle high pressure and makes them ideal for any exterior applications and heavy pedestrian traffic. They don’t require sealing either, and can easily be cleaned with a broom and a hose.

In terms of cost, 20mm porcelain tiles are dearer than concrete pavers, but far more affordable than, for example, natural stone products. 

“Thanks to digital inkjet technology, there are now more stone replicas on the market that have the low-maintenance benefits of porcelain,” Mike explains. “As long as you can prepare a flat surface on your back lawn, you can transform your yard one porcelain paver at a time.”  

Permeable paving, an alternative option provided by manufacturers such as Firth, provides a sustainable solution to paving. This type of paving is designed to effectively manage stormwater runoff by filtering water through to underlying draining systems, while also filtering out pollutants. This type of paving is rather complex and must be installed by accredited pavers.

You might be interested in reading: How to achieve a low maintenance outdoor space.

This article by Anya Kusseler featured on page 102 in Issue 019 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine . New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home landscaping and renovations.

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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