Redoing a hot old concrete patio
Hi there. As a homeowner/diy I have read these forums often in the past for advice but this is my first post.
My wife and I moved recently and came into possession of an old concrete patio. About 400 sqft: 12x17 behind the patio door with a strip all along the back of the house. It looks sound with only one hairline crack I can see, in the narrow strip, no heaving or etc. The previous owner (who was the original owner of the house since construction in 1989) did most things first-rate so I'd guess the patio is properly installed, reinforced and etc. However it is u-g-l-y with weathering, some of the joints have been filled in with what looks like some kind of silicone caulk, and the 12x17 portion has been painted blue.
The first idea was to use an opaque IR-reflecting stain - Coolstain Pro is the product I'm most aware of - to pretty up the existing concrete somewhat at low cost, while also cooling it down. But several concrete and coating pros said that it would be hard to remove the existing paint thoroughly enough for a stain to adhere well.
The second idea was to tear it all out and replace with stamped and stained concrete. But one of the contractors we brought in for bid on that option suggested laying flagstone on top. That would look great but I don't care for an uneven patio surface so I'm thinking about tile.
Could travertine tile be laid right on top, and hold up? We are in the East SF Bay area, 20 miles east of San Francisco. It gets over 95-100 often in the Summer, a few nights of frost in the winter and maybe a handful of nights a year below 32F. This patio is facing Southwest with no shade and travertine is attractive because I've read it stays a little cooler in the sun than other materials. Any specific recommendations for tile in the area, or minimum thickness or other specs?
Should that blue paint (or maybe it is some kind of epoxy coating meant for concrete) and "caulk" be removed before tile is laid? The contractor who suggested laying flagstone on top said that powerwashing would be good enough.
Any other suggestions for materials or solutions, if we want a great looking patio that will stay as cool as possible under the hot Sun? A deck is not an option, btw.
Whatever tile or topping we choose, the contractor will have to break out a trench through the patio to run irrigation, electrical and drainage lines underneath and out to the new garden. Is that process likely to unsettle the whole patio and might we be better off just tearing the whole thing out after all, and starting fresh?
Thanks for any help!