Brick or Flagstone for Your Patio: Durability, Difficulty of Installation, Maintenance, Function

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If you've decided to have a patio built in your backyard, then you need to think about what type of material to use. Several things will dictate this. First, what are you planning on using the patio for? Second, do you want to install the patio yourself, or hire out? Lastly, how much upkeep and maintenance do you want to do?

Below is a list of two popular materials and a discussion of their durability, installation requirements, what type maintenance and upkeep they will require, and lastly, how they function.

Flagstone

Flagstone is natural stone, unlike brick, which is baked in a form. If you are looking for a natural patio material that will blend in with the backyard lawn, the flagstone is perfect. Unlike brick, a novice can easily lay flagstone. This is because it can be dry-laid (that is, set down without the assistance of mortar or concrete).

Flagstone is super durable. It is even stronger than brick. You don't have to worry about replacing a flagstone, as they are very unlikely to break (unlike brick which can crack.)

However, when you lay flagstone down, understand that you will have to trim the grass, or tend to the weeds that grow between the individual stones. Because they are not set in a mortar base with grout, the spaces will be filled with dirt, which will allow grass or weeds to grow. This will require a weed-wacker or lawnmower. Because of this, some people choose to promote moss growth. Moss does not need to be maintained like grass or plucked like weeds.

If you want a patio that does not function as a prime seating area (no chairs, tables) then flagstone is great. You can set a few lounge chairs on it, but picnic tables and chairs are a bit chancy because of the uneven ground. It is perfect for a patio that is meant to be a quite space for tranquil reflection, not a hot spot for parties and BBQ's.

Brick

Brick is very durable and it requires very little upkeep. It does, however, require some skill to install. The brick will need to be set in mortar. This is a skill that requires much practice. If the bricks are not set correctly they will not be even, and in some worst case scenarios, the mortar won't fasten onto the brick and the patio will have loose bricks. If you find the process overwhelming, consider hiring a bricklaying professional to do the job.

The benefit to a brick patio is that you can sweep it with a broom and be done with it. Every few years you may need to repoint the patio. This is a process that will fix any damage done to the mortar over the years. The repointing process involves sanding down a layer of mortar and applying new mortar. This will keep the moisture out from the base and keep the bricks secure.

The bricks themselves are very resilient; it is the mortar that is going to need to be tended to every few years. Bricks are an excellent choice if you want to have furniture on your patio and don't want any grass or weeds.

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31 December 2015

Finding Flooring You Will Love Forever

When we started renovating our home, I knew that it was going to be a long process. By the time we got to the flooring, I was tired of making big decisions. Part of me just wanted to give up and let the contractor choose something that he thought would mesh well with the rest of the paint colors. However, I realized that since I would be living with the flooring for awhile, I should really take the time to choose. I spent a few weeks evaluating different flooring samples, and I ended up going with a really nice travertine. This blog is all about finding the right flooring for your home.