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Patio Flooring? Don't buy until you've read this...

Fire up your grills and bring on the BBQ sauce because it looks like the weather has finally caught up with the season!

We can't think of a better way to celebrate the warm weather than to invite some friends over and enjoy the day in your own backyard. Having a patio can only enhance this experience by adding some refinement and protecting your grass from shoes and fold-out chairs. The problem is that many people dive head-first into the patio installation process without really knowing which materials are best for the task.

The first thing to consider when deciding on which medium to use for your backyard haven is the ultimate purpose. What kind of gatherings do you envision taking place out there? Is there a certain reaction you're hoping to draw from your guests when they first see your patio? On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate the overall importance of your patio's aesthetic?

If the purpose of your patio is to impress or entertain, cement leaves a lot to be desired. It gets the job done but won't add much to the look of your back yard. For that reason, we're leaving it out as a contender for this blog, though it is technically an option. Instead, we want to focus on the most elegant choice for outdoor patios, which is tile.

Now, with tile you get to choose between two mediums: porcelain or ceramic. Spoiler alert, porcelain is always the correct option. Here's why:

1. Unlike porcelain, ceramic tiles are highly absorbent. All it will take is one season of cold weather and they'll start to crack. And let's face it, Michigan is no place for anything that can't stand up to a frigid day.

2. Porcelain tiles can stand up to a lot of wear. Because they are denser than ceramic, porcelain tiles are much more durable and won't scratch easily. This is especially important if you have patio furniture or guests with difficult shoes sharing the space with you. They also won't fade easily.

3. Porcelain isn't as slippery as ceramic. This asset is especially important for outdoor patio tiles. Some (not all) porcelain tiles are designed with non-slip textures, so you can walk confidently on them even when they are damp. We're not saying to go crazy or anything, but the added protection will keep you and any rambunctious kiddos safer in the long run.

4. Porcelain tiles are easy to keep clean. If you've ever walked down the street, you've probably noticed more than a few stains on the cement sidewalks. That's because cement is a porous material, whereas porcelain is not. This makes it practically stain-proof! If you do find yourself needing to clean a porcelain patio, know that all you'll have to do is give it a good sweep and wash it with some soapy water when necessary.

5. Porcelain tiles have an amazing look! This alone is reason enough to put them on your patio wish list.

Short answer: ALWAYS go with porcelain tiles that are designed for the great outdoors!

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