Finding suitable floor coverings for a variety of outdoor environments, both for domestic and commercial settings can be limiting; constraints such as operational downtime, budgets and inclement weather all play a part in the selection process.
Modern homeowners see great value in not only improving the interiors of their homes, but increasingly are looking to revitalise all their available outdoor space, which can range from gardens and conservatories through to garages and balcony space or even swimming pools for the affluent proprietor. Sourcing the correct surface, which will continue to perform in the long-term, can be a difficult task. A variety of hardwood decking is available up and down the UK in garden centres and DIY shops. Although seemingly a perfect ‘natural’ choice, wood decking is prone to getting slippery in wet climates and should frost set in, a beautiful wood surface can become an extremely dangerous floor covering to walk on. Being a natural material, it is also essential that the wood is treated to ensure its longevity, which of course is time consuming.
Balconies in modern apartment blocks offer owners the use of an outdoor area, but it is important to select the right type of covering for these small entertainment spaces. Wood decking is a heavy option and slatted varieties ought to be avoided on balconies to prevent small items slipping through. Synthetic surfaces such as astro turf or carpet are not ideal, given their need for maintenance and their ability to grow bacteria and mould within a very short period of time. In coastal areas, it is also key to select a surface that will withstand the wind, sand, sea spray and UV rays from the sun; nature’s ability to degrade its surroundings in such environments, means that outdoor flooring choice need to be highly durable and long lasting, therefore ensuring its cost effectiveness.
Garage and workshop floors are also areas that homeowners and commercial operators are keen to improve. Options such as specialist floor paint offer a short-term solution and very quickly start to wear in terms of peeling, so maintenance of the surface soon becomes a regular activity. An epoxy resin will provide an alternative surface, however installation is not straightforward and conditions need to be exact: floor preparation, temperature, drying times and humidity are all important factors. Even taking all these factors into consideration, owners often report peeling, stains and tyre marks in high usage areas, which are difficult to repair or eradicate. Solid rubber tiles are available in a wide array of colours, but unfortunately, do not allow for easy maintenance; hosing down the floor will cause problems with damp, as water will inevitably seep through onto the sub-surface, which will mean the rubber tiles will have to be removed to allow the floor to dry properly underneath.
Another outdoor area that needs consideration in the selection process for flooring is swimming pool surrounds. Traditionally, you will find these to be constructed from ceramic tiles or paving stones, which can create a beautiful floor, if not an expensive choice. Difficulties can arise, once these types of floor surfacing started to erode or get damaged. Removing a single or section of tiles or paving slabs, without damaging unaffected areas can be challenging and the removal of bacteria laden grout can mean the swimming pool remains out of use for longer than anticipated and costs can escalate bringing it back into full working order.
Somerset based Tact Enviro Ltd specialise in innovative retro-fit flooring solutions, and their TactTile interlocking floor tiles are an ideal surface in many outdoor flooring applications, such as garages, patios, balconies and swimming pool surrounds; both for domestic homeowners and commercial operators, such as schools, leisure centres and hotels to name a few.
With the onset of Spring and warmer weather, the company sees a greater increase for outdoor flooring, in particular swimming pools. With a successful track record of pool surround refurbishments in schools, colleges, leisure centres, hotels and residential settings, their expertise in rejuvenating such environments in a short amount of time, is evident from a recent residential pool project:
The Stiff family’s swimming pool and fitness suite is housed in an attractive timber building in their garden. The pool surround area had been fitted with a synthetic carpet, but this had become rotten and dirty and was holding surplus water. The client was looking for a hygienic floor solution which was self-draining, anti-slip, hygienic and quick to install.
After weighing up all the various alternative options to be considered, it was deemed that the Piazza TactTile range would solve the existing mould and waterlogged nature of the existing covering, given TactTiles perforated design, which allows water to free drain and air to circulate, preventing any future puddle issues.
Tact organized a contract team to remove the rotten carpet; then dried the existing sub-surface in preparation for laying the new interlocking floor. The next step was to cut drainage channels into the concrete slab, followed by sealing the concrete against chemical attack with a coating of Tact PoolCoat. A timber trim to match the chalet building was fitted around the edge of the room and Piazza TactTiles in Sand were laid over the entire floor. The floor measured approximately 150 m2 and the project was completed in an impressive three days. Tact ensured an exemplary service from consultation through to removing waste materials upon project completion.
John Highnam, Sales Director, emphasises the benefits of their modular interlocking flooring systems for two of their popular applications: pool surrounds and balconies. “Ceramic tiles certainly are aesthetically pleasing in the first instance, but after a few years of use, you will experience mould growth in the grouting, deepening cracks and they can become particularly damaged by frost.”
“Our highly durable, injection moulded polypropylene TactTile floor systems offer a cost effective safe surface, which simply locks together, without any need for glues or bonding agents; you can just simply lay, click & walk!” ‘Not only are they slip resistant and have antibacterial properties in them, they are also UV resistant, ensuring the floor looks as new, even after years of use, and should any damage occur, any size section can be removed and replaced with ease.” “An added benefit is that they can be recycled at the end of their lifetime, making them environmentally sound.”
Each tile measures 378mm x 378mm; interlocking lugs on two sides connect the tiles together using a mallet, and can be taken apart as easily as being put together with an individual tile lifter or a multi zip tool to disassemble larger areas. All TactTiles surfacing can also be cut to fit using a Jigsaw or handsaw and be fitted flush or finished with bevelled edging and corner tiles for increased footfall safety. Many TactTiles feature a unique free draining, perforated top, to allow air to circulate through the surface and will prevent puddles forming, minimising any slip hazards, which is paramount in any footfall area.
Maintenance is cheap and minimal; TactTiles can easily be swept, washed and scrubbed using normal floor cleaners and rinsed with clean water. For any stubborn marking, simply apply household bleach (following manufacturers’ instructions) – leave for a few minutes and then rinse well.
TactTiles come in a variety of styles and colours, allowing for an individual bespoke design. Their most popular ranges include Piazza, Metro and Briq; available in a number of complimentary colours, which can enhance any surrounding outdoor area for a sleek, contemporary look and finish.
Interlocking floor tiles offer a premium and innovative solution as a retro-fit surface which can be either fitted DIY or via residential and commercial building contractors who specialise in outdoor flooring requirements.