Your Guide to Patio Stonework

September 23, 2022 Patio Design

When designing a dream patio, the impact of stonework flooring is often overlooked. But, just like with countertops, because of its prominence in your outdoor space, it can easily elevate your patio from good to great. 

There’s plenty of stonework to choose from, which all vary in price, color, and durability. While we mainly install porcelain tiles, travertine, or pavers, here are some common options you’ll see in patios everywhere.

Travertine

It’s hard to go wrong with travertine. Known for its durability and low maintenance, this natural stone will take just about anything you throw at it and not crack under pressure. It also comes in tons of colors and shapes, meaning it fits almost any design you can come up with. Most outdoor granite is textured, which minimizes slipping and makes it great for pools and hot tubs.

It is one of the pricier stonework options, but the benefits easily outweigh the cost.

Bluestone

Primarily found in the northeast, bluestone is the perfect stone to give your patio a natural yet sophisticated feel. Like granite, bluestone is a flat, durable, and slip-resistant stone that can last decades when maintained properly. 

Because bluestone is porous and holds in water, it’s generally recommended to seal bluestone pavers every few years to prevent weathering. This keeps your patio looking brand-new for years to come.


Brick

For a rustic, timeless look to your patio, it’s hard to go wrong with brick. Brick can come in multiple shapes, colors, and textures, allowing it to work in almost any patio design. 

Compared to natural stone, brick is less costly and requires little to no maintenance outside of the occasional sweep or wash. However, similar to bluestone, pavers should be resealed every few years to keep them in top shape. Inexpensive, durable, and versatile, brick does it all.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile brings the beauty of marble flooring with even more durability. This strong tile has a rougher finish which prevents slipping when wet, making it perfect around pools. Because it’s tile, this is one of the more cost-effective options while being customizable for any size, style, or shape.

Limestone

Limestone is a versatile and durable stone that fits almost any type of patio design. Although it’s on the pricier side, the stone is generally very durable and can withstand wear and tear while still maintaining its timeless hues. 

Like other natural stones, limestone is porous, meaning it should be sealed every few years to keep it from weathering. However, this maintenance shouldn’t deter from limestone’s classic look.

Flagstone

Flagstone brings a great natural look to your patio while providing unparalleled durability. Because of this durability, little maintenance is needed to keep the stone looking great. 

However, although flagstone can withstand almost any climate, it can become very slippery when wet and very hot during the summer, making it not ideal around pools. But if you’re looking for a natural design you won’t have to worry about, this stone is the way to go.

Stonework can be an essential part of any patio’s design. Because of the many options and factors when deciding which stone to use, there’s truly something for everyone. 

We mainly install porcelain tiles, travertine or pavers.  Or do stamped concrete. 

Finding the Right Countertop for Your Outdoor Kitchen

September 23, 2022 Patio Design

When designing an outdoor kitchen for your patio, there are many factors that go into picking the perfect countertop. Here are some of the most popular surfaces.

Granite

Granite makes for a versatile and durable countertop for all weather conditions. It comes in a multitude of colors and shapes, meaning it can match almost any patio design. It’s also scratch and crack resistant, meaning it can withstand just about anything you throw at it. 

Although it isn’t the most affordable option, granite’s durability and design make it ideal for almost any outdoor kitchen, which is why it’s one of the most popular options.

Wood

It’s hard to beat the rustic yet modern look of a wooden countertop. However, this beauty comes at a price. Wooden countertops often require a large amount of maintenance to keep the surface from splintering, scratching, or staining. This may not be an issue for those willing to sand and polish it every few years, but for those looking for a no-stress countertop, you may want to look elsewhere.

Concrete

While it might not seem like an obvious choice, concrete countertops are a very versatile and reliable option. However, concrete isn’t immune from stains and scratches like any other stone or tile. A downfall is like any concrete, it can break, and small hairline cracks will appear as moisture seeps in and the material expands and contracts.  The concrete look might not fit everyone’s design, but for extreme durability and the opportunity to pour into any shape, concrete is an excellent choice of countertop.

Quartz

Durable, stain-resistant, and inexpensive, quartz is one of the best options for an outdoor countertop. However, quartz doesn’t do the best with direct heat and sunlight, and too much heat or light will cause the countertop to discolor. This makes it ideal to use in a covered patio where it is installed away from the sun.

Despite these flaws, quartz is still a durable and beautiful countertop material that, when treated with care, can last decades.

There are many materials to choose from when designing your dream outdoor kitchen. Make sure to do your research and take factors like durability, level of maintenance, and price into account before you get ready for your future outdoor gatherings.

The Pitfalls of Pergolas

September 20, 2022 Patio Design

Pergolas can be built at any price range, but most pergolas can be a lower-cost addition to your outdoor living space. With the right design and placement, it can transform a plain backyard into a great one. However, these additions may not be an effective long-term solution to your backyard.

Here are the main reasons why pergolas may not be right for you.

Maintenance

Most pergolas you’ll encounter are made out of wood, predominantly oak, cedar, and pine. While this gives the pergola a nice, rustic feel, it also means you’ll be spending quite a bit of time maintaining this look, whether it’s painting, cleaning, or staining. Regardless of which wood you use, it will have a hard time withstanding the elements and it can show its age quickly. Save yourself the splinters and steer clear.

SONY DSC

Durability

Wood, especially pressure-treated wood, doesn’t always stand up to the test of time. Mold and rot can cause the pergola to slowly break down, while the weight of the structure can increase the chance of the structure’s columns warping and bending. Not to mention, like any freestanding structure, pergolas aren’t great at withstanding extreme weather like tornadoes or hurricanes. If you’re looking for a patio fixture that will last a lifetime, pergolas are not the answer.

Insects

The quickest way to have a wooden pergola break down is a termite attack. These little insects are found all over the US and rotting wood is their primary food source. This means if you aren’t constantly maintaining the structure, you could wake up one morning to some serious damage.

(Also, if for some reason you own a pet beaver, it’s probably best to stay away)

SONY DSC

Home Value

Anyone thinking that a quick pergola project will automatically increase their patio’s value may be in for a rude awakening. While some people may be looking for a gathering place on their patio, the pergola’s design isn’t a hit with everyone, especially those who don’t want to deal with the maintenance.

Increases in home value can vary dramatically depending on the pergola’s location, build quality, size, and materials. So if you’re planning on building a pergola as an investment, it might be best to think twice.

Heat

Unfortunately, the grid design of the pergola roof, while visually appealing to some, isn’t doing much to guard you against the sun. Unless you only want to use your pergola early in the morning or late at night, you’re missing a lot of valuable time outside. 

While some may enjoy the design that pergolas bring, the hard truth is that the cons often outweigh the pros in most situations. When you’re designing your patio, it might be worth exploring other options.

Four ways to get your patio brick looking new again

September 2, 2022 Patio Design

Texas weather tearing away at your patio brick? Are weeds popping through your pathway? Here are some of the best ways to make sure your patio brick stays in tip-top shape year-round

Get to sweeping

Before doing any sort of brick cleaning, it’s important to lay some groundwork (no pun intended). It’s best to sweep any excess dirt, dust, bugs, or broken brick off of the surface you’re trying to clean. That way, you’ll be able to get to the bottom of what you’re trying to clean

Now you’re washing with power

Power washing is a great way to get in between cracks and clean most of the service-layer grit and grime on your brick. If you don’t have a pressure washer lying around, many hardware stores offer rentals. Just be careful to not use a pressure washer with too high PSI, as you’ll risk cracking or breaking the brick.

Get those stains out

If you’ve had brick for a long time, there’s a decent chance you’ve accidentally left a stain or two. Not to worry, there are plenty of simple ways to get it out. Many stains can be removed with soap and water (and a fair amount of elbow grease), but for tougher stains, a mixture of bleach, water, and scrubbing can get it looking brand new again.

Sand goes a long way

If weeds and insects are getting in between your brick, polymeric sand will do the trick. Getting into the cracks and quickly forming a polymer bond that won’t let anything through, polymeric sand can be a lifesaver for patio brick maintenance. 

Using any combination of these brick treatments, not only are you going to have a great looking patio, but you’ll also keep your brick healthy for years to come.

What is Transitional Style?

August 5, 2022 Patio Design

Many customers start the process of building an outdoor space without knowing their design style. There are many steps you can take to determine what you’re drawn to which will help us design your space, including checking out our blog on several of the different design styles. But, there is one style that we see our customers leaning towards the most often. It’s called transitional. Because it’s a blend of modern and traditional styles, it can make your space look classic while also feeling current.

Transitional Style Basics

This versatile style has wide appeal because it marries traditional and contemporary furniture, finishes, materials, and fabrics for a timeless look. The modern right angles and crisp lines are balanced with rounded traditional silhouettes and comfortable furniture so it’s neither too edgy or too stuffy.

Some key attributes of transitional style include:

  • A neutral palette
  • Patterns and texture
  • Symmetry
  • Wood accents
  • Concrete/solid colors (not tile)
  • Modern lighting
  • Clean roof lines and colors
  • Comfortable seating

Your Backyard Getaway

Many fans of transitional style feel like it gives their home a “resort” feel, like they are getting away in their own home. However, this doesn’t mean it has an exotic look or a European style, just more clean and relaxing. Transitional often blends well with your current home but takes it up a notch, which our customers love and is one of our specialties. It’s a great way to update an out-of-date house and bring in serious style without looking like it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the home.

Transitional Style Examples

Contact Us

Take a look at some of our transitional outdoor designs and give us a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth so we can help you bring your relaxing, transitional escape to life.

The Different Types of Patio Doors

July 22, 2022 Patio Design

A great way to connect your indoor and outdoor spaces is to install patio doors. They give you instant access and can let in much needed light to make your home feel bigger. Here’s a look into different types and some tips on installation and timeline.

Patio with traditional door

French Doors

These are a set of two hinged doors that close into each other. They can both be opened to widen access to the outside or one can be locked to give you flexibility of airflow. They typically consist of many small window panels that can be designed in simple patterns or more ornate depending on the style you’re looking for.

Tip: French doors can be combined with windows on either side to let in more light.

Pool and patio with french doors

Sliding Doors

These minimalist doors are great for a more contemporary look. They help save space by reducing the room needed for doors to swing out, and they let it more light since they are not obstructed by panels.

Pool and room addition with folding doors

Folding Doors

Also known as accordion doors, these are the ultimate way to create a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors. They feature a sliding track that lets the door completely fold out of the way. While they are typically used in more modern or contemporary homes, they come in a variety of styles that can fit into any decor. 

Tips: 

  • Currently, 16-foot folding doors that collapse and open from the middle are a very popular option that many homeowners are installing
  • It can cost up to $30,000 for folding doors due to the price of the doors themselves and the complexity of installation.

Door Materials

Once you decide the style of door you want, you can then determine the materials used. 

  • Wood: typically used on french doors, they are the least expensive and most customizable option
  • Vinyl: they are energy efficient and have a low upkeep
  • Fiberglass: similar to vinyl, they are inexpensive yet solid and lightweight
  • Aluminum: they are durable against the elements and resist mold and mildew
  • Steel: the strongest option, they resist rotting, warping, and shrinking and offer great security 

Tips: 

  • You can combine materials by using decorative wood on the inside and a sturdier material on the outside
  • If your outdoor area is covered, you may not need more expensive doors since they are already protected from the elements
Outdoor eating area with big patio french doors

Door Installation

Once you’ve decided on your style and material, it’s time to install. Custom doors can take 5 months or more for delivery. Due to the complexity of installation, you should only use professional door installers to ensure proper structural support, energy efficiency, and protection from the elements. 

If you’re looking to give your outdoor space a new life, give one of our outdoor specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth. We can do it all, including custom patios and outdoor living spaces with premium patio doors installed by experienced experts.

Outdoor Water Features: The Different Types

July 1, 2022 Patio Design

Whether you want to add a touch of elegance, a bit of nature, or if you just love the soothing sounds of water, outdoor water features can be a perfect touch for your space. Here’s a look at the different types and what it takes to install them.

Natural Pond

For an organic look, these features can be built to flow with your existing landscape and can be a home for plants and wildlife. They are normally excavated from the ground and given a liner and a pump to keep the water clean.

Pros:

  • The shape and look is completely customizable
  • They can appear as if they were naturally occurring

Cons:

  • They require some level of excavation, which may need specialty equipment
  • Liners can rip or get punctured
  • Pumps can sometimes fail, requiring maintenance

Waterfalls

These elegant features provide the sound of trickling water and can become a focal point for your outdoor space. They are normally built where the water slowly flows down and is pumped back up from the reservoir.

Pros:

  • They are very customizable as they can be made from a variety of materials to match your space
  • They can be built on an existing wall or as a new freestanding feature
  • Lighting can be added to create whatever mood you wish

Cons:

  • They require a filter that needs to be changed
  • They periodically break down and maintenance can be costly

Scuppers and Sconces

If you’re installing a pool, these features add visual interest and are a great way to cool off. 

A sconce is a small decorative piece that provides a small trickle of water. Multiples are often used together to create a bigger effect.

A scupper is a feature that brings water from one section of a pool to another. For example, it can bring water from the spa into the main pool area.

Pros:

  • They add an elegant look and sound
  • There are many design options, including lighting to accentuate the feature

Cons:

  • Scuppers can be expensive
  • They make pool construction a little more complicated and add time

Fountains

Whether you want big and bold or a slow, soothing trickle, a fountain delivers the sights and sounds of flowing water. These features can be a part of pools or ponds, or can be added as their own freestanding element. Similar to waterfalls, they use a pump that feeds water from a reservoir back to the top of the feature. How high they spray or flow over is up to you.

Pros:

  • They can fit any design style from natural to more high end
  • There are many pump sizes to fit whatever scale you need
  • They can accompany other water features such as bubblers and sconces

Cons:

  • Filter changing and cleaning makes them difficult to maintain
  • Maintenance can become expensive

Give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth and we can help help you plan your perfect backyard space.

Retractable Porch Screens: The Pros and Cons

June 24, 2022 Patio Design

Retractable porch screens have long been considered a functional addition to any patio design. However, many people don’t like the idea of a permanent enclosure that blocks their view. After all, part of the enjoyment of an outdoor living space is the natural ambiance.

Retractable screens offer a more flexible and cost-effective alternative to permanent screens or walls. They allow you to appreciate the outdoor elements you enjoy and block out the ones that aren’t as pleasant.

You should be aware of a few things when deciding whether to install retractable screens. They offer several benefits, but there are a couple of drawbacks. 

Let’s start with the beneficial aspects.

Patio with retractable screens and fireplace

Pro: Year-round Indoor Outdoor Living

One of the most attractive reasons for installing a retractable porch screen is to be able to enjoy your patio year-round. If you live in an extremely hot climate, you can block the sun and keep the cooler air circulating. In cold temperatures, you can keep warm air circulating—whether it’s from a fireplace or from inside.

Patio with retractable screens down around dining area

Pro: Protection from Bugs

Keep your invited guests safe from uninvited guests such as mosquitoes or other flying insects. Imagine dining outdoors without any surprises landing in your wine glass! 

Pro and Con: Cost

Retractable porch screens can be pricey for some budgets. But they are still less expensive than most permanent screens and walls. 

In addition, retractable screens add value to your home, so they can be worth the investment.

Overall, retractable porch screens are extremely convenient, however there are some cons. 

Con: Maintenance

Retractable screens have moving parts that require maintenance. If any of these components are damaged, several adjustments might need to be made during a repair.  

Other climate factors may also play a role in how well screen parts hold up. For example, humid conditions may cause the moving parts to rust more quickly.

Con: Pet Damage

Screens may take some getting used to for your furry friends. Pets can cause damage by trying to squeeze underneath or clawing at the screen.

Final Thoughts

Retractable porch screens can be a wise investment with proper planning and maintenance. They provide protection from less than favorable outdoor conditions with the convenience of being hidden when not in use.

If you need help creating a design that incorporates a retractable screen into your outdoor living space, give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth. 

Check out our STAR Award-nominated spaces!

What Kind of Fan is Right for Your Outdoor Space?

May 27, 2022 Patio Design

A ceiling fan is one of the simplest upgrades you can make to your covered patio. The right outdoor ceiling fan adds a decorative and functional touch to your design. 

Choosing a ceiling fan for your outdoor space is similar to selecting a fan indoors. However, there are a few things to consider to ensure the longevity of your ceiling fan.

Moisture

Outdoor fans have damp or wet ratings. This rating indicates the amount of moisture a fixture is built to withstand. 

Damp-rated fans can withstand moderate amounts of moisture. However, you should avoid installing these in areas that may be directly exposed to rain. Therefore, damp-rated fans work better under covered patio spaces.

Wet-rated fans have a more waterproof design. As a result, they can withstand more moisture and are better suited for exposed areas such as pergolas.

Outdoor fan with pool

Other Environmental Factors

High winds and salty humidity may impact ceiling fan performance. If you’re in an area with special weather conditions (hello, Houston), look for a fan specifically designed to withstand the elements.

Determining the Size

The best way to determine the best size for your ceiling fan is to use the square footage of the space. For larger areas that may require two fans, use the square footage of each section to determine the most suitable size for each fan.

Spaces up to 75 square feet = 29-36 inch

Spaces 76-144 square feet = 36-42 inch

Spaces 144-225 square feet = 44 inch

Spaces 225-400 square feet = 50-54 inch

Outdoor living room with ceiling fan

DC vs. AC

DC fans are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and quiet, less bulky motors. However, these fans tend to be more costly and usually require remote control operation.

On the other hand, AC fans usually cost less and can be controlled via a wall panel and remote. Some also come with chain switches, making operation more reliable.

Pool house with fan

Style

Now for the fun part: choosing a fan that complements your outdoor living style

Whether you’re looking for an iconic mid-century modern design, something more traditional, or anything in between, there are styles available to fit any space.

One simple approach is to use the same ceiling fans you’re using indoors. If you plan to do this, make sure that your indoor ceiling fan is damp- or wet-rated.

Need help designing your outdoor living space? Give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Patios for a Ranch-Style Home

April 22, 2022 Patio Design

Most people choose a ranch-style home for it’s accessibility and focus on indoor/outdoor living. Adding a patio or redesigning the current patio on your ranch-style home can extend your living space and complement the current elements of your home style.

Ranch-style homes are known for single-story, open floor plans. Other common design aspects such as large windows and glass doors help incorporate natural elements into these spaces. Choosing the right patio design can assist with the seamless transition from indoor to outdoor living.

Here are some design features that can transform your patio into an extension of your current living space.

Ranch style patio cover

A well designed cover

A well designed patio cover should look original to your home. Choosing the right contractor can ensure that the job is professionally done and seamless. 

You can also add interest underneath on the ceiling by using a material, color or pattern that complements your outdoor style.

A kitchen/dining area

Enjoying a meal outside is part of the communal outdoor experience. A strategically placed kitchen or grill allows the host to engage and be a part of the action while preparing meals. 

Fireplace and seating area

Living space with a focal point

An outdoor living space with a focal point gives guests a gathering point for conversation. Elements such as a fireplace with a mounted tv or a fire pit help keep people entertained and engaged. 

Ranch style tile flooring

Upgraded flooring

Some people opt for a standard brushed concrete. But other outdoor flooring options such as pavers can add a touch of elegance to your patio design. 

Upgraded flooring not in your budget? An outdoor rug can make your space feel more like home.

Choosing the right element for a ranch-style home patio provides an outdoor/indoor flow that’s ideal for entertaining and engaging with guests.

Need help designing a patio for your ranch-style home? Give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Have a project in mind? We work throughout the Houston and Dallas - Fort Worth areas.

Our Customers Love Us

We love our new patio cover and would definitely recommend Texas Custom Patios. Our contractor, Mark, and everyone that worked on our project was professional. The patio cover looks like it was built when the house was built. They used top quality materials, the roofline is seamless, and everything matches very well. Great job completed in a timely manner and we are totally satisfied with the whole experience.

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