Transform a Concrete Patio
Tiles made of hardwood or composite strips can make over a slab for as little as $3 a square foot. Here, what to consider before you commit
TILE THICKNESS Make sure your tiles won’t interfere with doorways or create tripping hazards. The thinnest ones (⅞ inch) sit on plastic grids. The all-wood ones at left, 1 11⁄16 inches, rely on corner connectors.
PATIO CONDITION Check that the slab pitches away from the house by at least ⅛ inch per foot. An insufficient slope can sometimes be corrected by troweling on a topping mix. Fill dips with concrete patching compound; plug cracks with a polyurethane crack sealant and grind down any unevenness.
EDGE TRIM If tile edges are visible and unsightly, cover them with solid trim pieces. If your tile maker doesn’t offer trim, make your own to match.
SEALING The cut ends of the hardwood strips should be coated with a wax emulsion to prevent splitting. Some tiles are sealed at the factory, like the ipe squares shown here (from $9.77 per sq. ft.; Advantage Lumber). When installing, have sealer on hand, such as Ipe Seal ($22 for a quart; Home Depot), in case you need to make cuts.