A children’s riddle for connoisseurs of suburban architecture: not inside and outside, in summer – better, in winter – worse. Guess the correct answer is the terrace. But the next task is not so simple to solve: how to choose the perfect material for its facing?
Imagine that John turned to us for help. He does not have much time and no million dollars. He has a country house, an unfinished terrace and high requirements for decoration. We decided to help and selected the five best finishing elements.
Wishes of the future owner of the terrace:
- A modern finish that looks expensive and stylish.
- The house is located in a region with high humidity, where it often rains. The material should not absorb moisture, rot, change shape and size.
- Protection from absorption by “unicellular” and insects.
- The owners are a large active family. Need a coating that does not wear out and does not crack for many years.
- The weather often goes to extremes: cold winters, hot sunny summers and sudden changes in temperature. The terrace should be friends with natural phenomena. Do not become ice in frost, do not fade in the sun in the heat.
Thermally modified decking
The country houses of our grandparents are made of wood. They say that they breathe easily, sleep soundly. In the past there were a groan of creaking floors, the smell of raw wood and the aesthetics of shabby blue paint on the boards. Now everything is different.
Modern processing has improved building wood. This is still a natural massif, preserving the romance of the forest, but without the previous drawbacks.
Thermally modified materials are selected wood that is terminated according to American technology in West Wood chambers. Heat treatment changes the molecular structure of a tree: resins and polysaccharides evaporate, the product becomes strong, uniform, and durable.
Thermally modified product benefits:
- The ideal geometry of processed products. And the wood texture is a trend in modern design. Wooden structures look natural, noble, visually evaluated above their value.
- The material does not absorb moisture, therefore it does not rot and does not swell – the board retains its original size and shape. It can be used in open space when decorating terraces, arbors, verandas and are not afraid of rainfall. Even direct water.
- A coating of oil will not allow the wood to “turn gray” under the sun. However, even without coating, it will burn out by only a hundredths of a millimeter. Easy sanding and the board will take its original appearance.
- Thermal wood lasts 25 years longer than raw materials.
- The processing does not use chemicals: formaldehydes, plasticizers, modifiers. The material is environmentally friendly.
- Resistance to biological influences. Insects, molds and bacteria “bypass” the thermal products side – and this does not require chemical treatment.
- All natural material is wood.
- Relatively high price in comparison with artificial materials.
Which tree is best for a terrace? Hard and hard rocks, such as:
- Ash thermally modified
- Birch thermally modified
Natural products in the interior is a status that sometimes needs to be maintained. It is necessary to update the protective coating with oil every 5-6 years, this will save your presentability and extend the life of your terrace.
Another coating option is made from WPC – wood-polymer composite. An alternative to natural wood, which only simulates its appearance. But less whimsical due to the “plastic” ingredient.
Composition: 40-80% fine wood, 20-40% polymers, 4-10% eco-additives and dyes.
Advantages of a composite board:
- Not afraid of water, appropriate in buildings under the open sky. It does not deform, does not change shape.
- The product practically does not fade in the sun. The degree of protection depends on the quality of the polymers in the composition. In cheaper versions, polyethylene is used, in more expensive ones, PVC. In the first case, the coating begins to fade after 5-6 years, in the second it will last 15-20.
- The more polymers in the composition, the less it is subject to burning: smolders, does not burn. But the statement that the KDP does not burn at all is a lie.
- The absence of scuffs, scratches and splintering on the surface, even in passage places. Does not crack from high loads. Easy to clean from dirt.
- A good composite board with PVC is not cheap.
- Slippery surface after rain, burning – in the heat.
- It does not tolerate high temperature and humidity at the same time.
The optimal ratio of flour and polymers in the composition of 50/50. If the polymer content is higher, the board becomes similar to plastic, if lower, the board becomes more fragile and absorbs moisture.
Be, not seem to be. Imitation stone materials can look amazing, but real rocks are unrivaled. Stone tiles, like thermally modified wood, are natural materials. And naturalness is always in fashion.
Tiles for outdoor terraces are made of granite, basalt, slate. Limestone and sandstone – soft and less moisture resistant rocks – are more suitable for enclosed annexes. It is possible to lay thin tiles up to 2 cm wide on a reinforced concrete base, and a base made of sand or gravel pillow requires a thick “lining” of up to 6 cm.
- Presentability, external high cost, a unique pattern on each product. Large selection of textures: mirror, matte, velvet or artificially aged.
- Withstands attacks of fungi and insects, does not deform when exposed to water.
- Does not burn. This building material belongs to KM0 – the zero fire hazard class.
- It easily tolerates frosts, does not crack at sudden changes in temperature.
- May crack when hit hard.
- It is not created artificially, therefore the number of colors is limited, it is difficult to choose for an already finished interior.
- High cost, like any natural building product.
The stone must be constantly treated to protect it from dirt, rust, salts, acids, mold and lichen. The latter is better handled by hydrogen peroxide or ammonia.
Powerfully and thoroughly. It will be about concrete slabs. These products are not distinguished by sophistication and poetry, but can last up to 100 years.
It is better to lay them on a cement-sand base, but it is also possible to glue them with glue mixtures for outdoor use.
- It does not deform when precipitation hits – it will survive even the rainiest days without loss.
- Elements are easy to remove and replace in case of breakage. And when installing communications, the coating can be removed and put back.
- One of the most durable coatings. That is why it is often used in urban spaces with high traffic of pedestrian “legs”.
- The fall of a knife, chair, barbecue, perhaps even an ax, will not harm the surface.
- Large palette: adding pigments, manufacturers can reproduce any color and shade.
- Repeated alternate freezing and thawing can reduce the strength of concrete slabs.
- Slippery surface in winter.
- Can sag with an improperly prepared foundation.
When laying concrete, it is necessary to observe the slope for water flow – at least 2-2.5%. This will facilitate cleaning and reduce drying time after rain.
Porcelain tile – a type of artificial finishing stone. Despite the name, the material is not related to granite. And it consists of a pressed mixture of white clay, feldspar, quartz sand and dyes.
Advantages of porcelain stoneware:
- With proper styling, it will survive rainy and frosty days. The moisture absorption level is almost zero. Important: for the design of the terrace, you should choose products marked “frost-resistant”. This one can withstand temperatures up to -50C.
- To clean from dirt and ice, you can use products containing alkali and acid. For wooden coatings – impermissible luxury.
- A variety of colors, patterns, textures. Imitates masonry, parquet, flower fields or even reptile skin.
- Does not burn.
- Slippery surface of some products.
- Cold to the touch, if the terrace is in the shade, walking along it barefoot will cause discomfort.
- Fragility during transportation.
- For finishing the terrace, only unpolished rough tiles are suitable. It is installed on a concrete foundation using frost and moisture resistant glue. They also produce special thickened porcelain stoneware, which can be laid on a sand and gravel pillow without glue.
There are many materials, one terrace. Carefully approach the choice of finishing material: each has pluses and minuses. Natural materials have exceptional aesthetic qualities, but require periodic care. Our hero John studied the tips and decided that the natural coating is “worth the candle”. He opted for a thermal tree, which ideally fit the facade of his country house.