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So: what to use for patio flooring?


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Renovations at my place will soon wind down. If there are no further financial surprises, I may, I said *may*, offer to redo the common courtyard at my expense. (It's about 40m^2, much longer than it is broad, in a small co-op.) This is in the Paris area - a similar range of temperatures as the south of England, only somewhat hotter in summer, and of course with about 2/3 the rainfall.


I know next to nothing about outdoor flooring. What I've learned:


(a) Terracotta flooring is probably a terrible idea (water seeps in, water freezes, good-bye to the tiles). A seller in a fancy shop selling very expensive Italian tiles puffily asserted the contrary the other day, but I can't afford her tiles anyhow.

(b) while outdoors travertine tiles are surprisingly inexpensive at one of the main French chains, and have good reviews (http://tinyurl.com/3d846c47 ), my sister (who lives in a subtropical climate) has just advised me against it - her side of the family bought a place with travertine floors outdoors, and they have cracked. Not sure what people here think.

(c) A few months ago, I was speaking to someone experienced-sounding behind the counter at the bookshop of the Compagnons (who are some intermediate form between masons and freemasons, from what I understand - well, they also do carpentry and so forth). He confirmed (a) (energetically) and recommended "beton teinté dans la masse" (coloured concrete). From what I understand, it's a durable material well-adapted to the outdoors, but, while its cost is on the low end, labor costs are significant (more or less than for tile?) - and it may be more of an annoyance to neighbors who have to cross the courtyard while it sets than tile might be, no?

(d) I imagine cement tiles get stained too easily for outdoors usage, and stoneware may crack too easily. (One of my neighbors likes to do weights outdoors.) Are porcelain outdoors tiles a thing (and a good idea)? Tiling the garage/bike shed with inexpensive porcelain tiles turned out to be a good idea, but the fact that one can drive a car on them (not that I have one) does not necessarily mean that they will cope well with impact or outdoors conditions.


Not sure what to go for, then.


Here is the courtyard, in its current, depressing condition.


No photo description available.


No photo description available.

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