Redoing a hot old concrete patio

Matt925April 30, 2013

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!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have yet to see a professionally installed flagstone patio that is uneven.

What's the height difference between your door threshold and the top of the patio?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 8:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The contractor said it would be flat, too, but you couldn't really tell in his photos. I'm from the Northeast and maybe I'm thinking of a different type of stone patio (slate?), that tends to have an uneven surface.

It's 6" from the threshold down to the one step and another 6" from the step to the patio surface. It's also about 3-4" from the patio surface up to the bottom of the stucco siding. We're going to build a larger step that would span the full width of the sliding door, which would bring the concrete up to cover the bottom of the stucco siding. This was recommended by the contractor and would eliminate the 3-4" gap between siding and patio that accumulates windblown debris and spiders, but that's another thing I was wondering if it's a good idea or if that gap is supposed to be there for ventilation/barrier to termites or etc. The little step we have now already comes up above the bottom of the siding but the new step would extend over the full 12' width.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 10:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Since you're wanting something that is cooler, I would first look at coatings made for pool decks. One brand is Kool Deck. A relative had this installed around her patio and pool and apparently it's supposed to be much cooler than bare concrete. Personally, I'd call some companies that specialize in coatings and review all your options. Here's one company I found that's in the East Bay.... their photos will give you some ideas.

Another option is stamp overlay, such as this .
Also thought you might like seeing a nice photo of travertine.

I had flagstone along the walkway of my previous home and you're correct about the surface being uneven. We had to be careful about the type flagstone we chose since we wanted as smooth a surface as possible. I can't say I found it any cooler than concrete with a SW exposure.

I would have concerns about covering the edge of your stucco with a concrete step. Check the link below for info on stucco and the importance of drainage. Here is an excerpt from page 7: "Rain will soak into any stucco coating; the water will head downwards, and it must escape at the bottom. Weep screed lets water out through its perforations, and it stops the stucco from bonding to the cement foundation and creating a dam where water might pool. The screed should span between the wood framing or sheathing and the concrete foundation, and it should terminate at least 8 inches above grade".

Here is a link that might be useful: Stucco

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:10PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
question about fencing
Hi, I know this isn't a fencing forum but I couldn't...
clear roof over patio
I would like some advice/help with the clear roof over...
Cement tiles on raised deck?
As a result of home renovations, I will be raising...
Deck stain question for ipe and cedar and pine:
screened in application. ipe floor, clipped. cedar...
Covered concrete walkway weeps water on surface
I have a concrete walkway along the house that is covered...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™