Design and maintenance of the patio: all you need to know

In summer, a well-maintained patio is a particularly sought after criteria for holidaymakers. Conversely, a cottage without a patio can quickly end up at the bottom of the search list. Without embarking on the construction of a multi-level patio, a space that provides enough space for a table, barbecue and deck chair can easily increase the rental value of your cottage. On the design side, linear shapes, aluminum structures and natural materials such as wood and polished concrete have the palm this year. Maintaining them is as important! Otherwise, a few options for hybrid materials that require less maintenance are available to you, such as composite wood and fibreglass.

Natural wood for a durable and warm patio

The timeless wood harmonizes with most types of cottages, modern or traditional, and is an ecological choice and quite economical (depending on the wood type). Versatile, white pine remains the least expensive option to buy. Its lifespan varies between 10 to 15 years if well maintained. A little more expensive, but affordable, treated wood also has a good outdoor life. However, we do not yet know the impact of the new preservatives used to treat it. Regulated from Western Canada, red cedar is gaining popularity for its rich colour and natural resistance to mold, insects and climatic variations. This species has a lifespan of more than 25 years and is a renewable material with a very low environmental impact. As for exotic species, EPI wood and teak are among the most durable, with a lifespan of 50 years, even more. More expensive to buy, they are particularly resistant to insects, fungi, mold. Roasted wood (baked wood) is also a sustainable option. It is more stable, rot and weather resistant and does not contain chemicals.

Maintenance: All those who already have a patio made of wood know that it must be maintained frequently, every year. Except for treated wood. A tincture can be applied every 3 to 5 years. For dyeing and varnishing work, it is necessary to plan a weekend where the weather is nice and dry. Sometime between mid-May and mid-June or at the end of August, beginning of September. Like it or not, wood is a living material, subject to the bad weather of our North American winters! The key is to apply a product that will prevent water infiltration into the wood. We also suggest cleaning the wood with a brush and a specialized cleaner. High pressure cleaning is not recommended since the cleaned surface may be uneven and the wood damaged in the long run.

Design trend: kill two birds with one stone with your wooden railing and transform it into a bar counter! For a clean and uncluttered effect, go for a white paint.



Polished or stamped concrete for a clean look

Polished or stamped concrete is also a sustainable option. The life of a concrete patio extends to 50 years if properly sealed and installed by professionals. If the wood gave free rein to the more manual to make their own patio, the concrete must be poured by professionals, considering the equipment that requires. Once installed, the advantage is that it resists freezing and thawing and blends in well with the elements of nature and other materials such as wood and aluminum. Different textures and finishes can play with the material, or even imitate the wood! We are talking about a stamped finish. The principle is to stamp wood in the concrete to reproduce the grain. Note that this process requires more time for work. It must therefore be foreseen. As for the polishing of the surface, it helps to keep the natural appearance of the concrete. A high quality sealant is needed to protect it and make it slip resistant. Given the desired finish (matte, satin, textured or gloss), stain, sealers, epoxy or polyurethane help preserve concrete against abrasion and staining. This is a good point to discuss with a company specializing in concrete patio installation.

Maintenance: Concrete requires annual maintenance. It is suggested to clean it with a brush, a little water and baking soda for a homemade solution. Otherwise, for more stubborn stains, there are soaps specifically designed to clean concrete surfaces. Make sure you choose those that are not harmful to the environment, especially if your cottage is near a water source. To avoid: metal brushes and high-pressure cleaner. Both worn out the concrete in the long run. It is advisable to refresh the sealant and stain after a few years. This remains specific to the finish of your patio.

Design trend: the large concrete slabs, matte finish, give a silky and clean look, leaving free choice of colours and textures for the decoration of your patio. Add green plants, hanging bulbs and benches to recreate the atmosphere of the most beautiful restaurant terraces. The mini garden potted or paired with the patio is also part of the summer trends.



Composite wood for a practical imitation

Made from a mixture of recovered materials: wood fibres, plastics and artificial polymers, composite wood is an alternative imitating natural wood that requires very little maintenance. This material is advantageous since it is particularly durable (20 to 35 years), it is anti-slip, resistant to rot, fungi, parasites, moisture and deformation. This makes it an ideal option for a cottage located near a water point. When you buy, the cost is higher than wood. It's a long-term investment. In his defence, you will not need to buy dye and protective sealants every year!

Maintenance: Annual cleaning is recommended with the help of an all-purpose cleaner or designed specifically for this type of material. In particular, a specific cleanser containing an anti-mold agent is ideal in a more humid environment. The good news: no retouching (stain or varnish) is necessary!

Design trend: lined with other more natural materials and textures, such as wicker, stone, linen and natural wood, composite wood will look more natural. Enjoy the rise of the bohemian look to create a warm and natural world. The favourites of the year: the suspended swing and hammocks with fringes!



Fibreglass for a waterproof textured finish

Fibreglass is another interesting option for cottages located near water points. The design of a fibreglass balcony requires several steps. It is therefore not suggested proceeding alone with the manufacture of the latter. Non-slip and waterproof thanks to its texture, the fibreglass deck has resistance to ultraviolet rays, corrosive products, frost and even fire. Several colours are available to you, but it is advisable to choose lighter shades that blend well with the environment. A dark-coloured patio absorbs heat and can become uncomfortable. Fibreglass can last from 20 to 25 years without maintenance. However, the material is not yet recyclable or recoverable. Even today, it has to be sent to landfills.

Maintenance: A fibreglass surface requires little maintenance. It is possible to wash the balcony with a simple liquid soap. For a more thorough cleaning, we suggest brushing. All types of brushes are suitable for cleaning, except the metal one. We propose to move the elements left permanently on the balcony to avoid colour variations and rust. If a crack is formed on the surface, it is advisable to act quickly to slow down the infiltration of water. It is possible to cover the surface again if it is too damaged.

Design trend: also used for the manufacture of boats, the fibreglass matches well with the nautical look. Hook oars, buoys, marine knots and opt for striped cushions to recreate the nautical universe found on tall ships and catamarans.


Hoping that this article has inspired you to make your patio, the attractive element of your cottage. Good summer season!

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