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Top 5 Materials Used in Patios

Poured Concrete

Concrete is basically a combination of cement, sand and gravel that's mixed with water to make a gooey substance that hardens when dry. The semi-liquid nature of concrete allows it to be formed into almost any shape or size. This versatility gives homeowners the freedom to do very geometric or more curved patios. Poured cement is also a very economical option for creating a patio that offers a hard, flat surface that requires little maintenance.

Poured concrete does have a few drawbacks. First, the actual mixing of the concrete can be tricky, since the process must be done to exact specifications for the best results. If the concrete is not dried correctly, or has drainage problems, it can crack over time. And very smooth concrete can get slippery when wet. According to Birkholz, concrete may also not be the best choice if your patio will be over sewer or electrical lines because of the possible cost associated with repairing the patio if those lines need attention. Finally, concrete can have a very industrial or stark feel that might not fit with a more natural setting.

Now, let's look at a very different option -- tile.