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      3 Trends in Outdoor Living

      Ken Cook | January 10, 2022

      In 2020 and 2021, many people installed or significantly overhauled their outdoor living spaces. Did you get in on the trend during COVID or were you updating other parts of your home? Maybe you were waiting for supply chain to get back to normal? If you didn’t get in on the trend, there are new and exciting products that you can take advantage of.

      At Ernest Maier here are 3 products/trends we are very excited about as we look towards Outdoor Living in 2022. 

      Porcelain Tile Pavers

      Tile hasn’t historically been a common outdoor material for a few reasons, chief among them: design, durability, finish, and price. That is changing.

      Design

      Indoor tiles have undergone an awakening in the last decade. Advancements in manufacturing have expanded what tile can be: tile can now simulate wood, stone, or even carpet and larger format tiles have become more common. What is true for indoor tile has now made its way outdoors, giving you another design option for your outdoor hardscapes.

      One place porcelain pavers excel is in lighter colored options. Lighter-colored stone is naturally porous meaning it tends to stain easier, and requires a higher degree of care. Light colored concrete, while possible, tends to have a higher price point and is also porous.  Porcelain is naturally non-porous and can easily have light colors as well as dark colors.

      Outdoors (landmarkceramics.com)

      Durability

      Porcelain pavers are harder than concrete, but they aren’t immune to chipping. Advancements in manufacturing have made it cost effective to add color throughout the tile (like it is with concrete pavers). This means that instead of that unsightly red color, the chip has a much less dramatic difference from the surface.

      Finishing

      With the advancements in finishing, it’s now easy to apply a textured surface to the porcelain tiles. This make tiles non-slip, and also allows it to better simulate the surface of natural stone like travertine.

      Lucas-Canitia-Pavers-Hardscape-Scene

      Patterns – Silver Travertine Travertine – Landscape (msisurfaces.com)

      Price

      The relative cost of porcelain tile pavers has also changed pretty dramatically over the last 2 years. Raw material shortages, labor shortages, and high hauling costs have all raised the costs of concrete pavers and natural stone products. While still adversely impacted, porcelain paver prices are better insulated from these same economic challenges. Porcelain pavers are now cost competitive with other hardscaping options.

      Porcelain @ Ernest Maier

      As you look for the right look, porcelain tile pavers now offer some beautiful designs. Ernest Maier and its subsidiaries carry 3 different brands of porcelain pavers

      • Arterra (MSI) – light colored options and options that mimic natural stone. Reasonable price point.
      • Belgard (Mirage)- wide array of design options. Premium price point
      • Landmark Ceramics– streamlined design options. Advantageous price point for commercial jobs

      Deck Conversions

      Decks are wonderful structures. They allow outdoor spaces to be elevated or terraced without filling in the space below with dirt as you would have to do with a hardscape surface. However, until now your deck had to either be wood or composite. 

      The Stone Deks product is able to convert your deck to a stone, paver, or tile surface. This substantially upgrades the look of your deck, and makes it easier to maintain. The product is simple to install and lays right on top of your deck framing. While you do need to be cautious about the suitability of the footers of the deck, most modern decks can be converted without issue.

      Outdoor Living = Outdoor Kitchens

      No matter where it is in a house, people always congregate in the kitchen. As we have looked to gather and entertain outside, it only makes sense that we have brought our kitchens with us.

      Most indoor kitchens consist of modular components that can be arranged in a dizzying array of combinations. However, the same modular concepts and components had not been available for outdoor kitchens. Rather they have largely been custom installations to meet a homeowner’s needs.

      As outdoor living has become more common, manufacturers have adapted. They have done so by standardizing sizes (e.g., width of a grill) and building components that do not require one to be a masonry expert. This should lower the costs associated with building an outdoor kitchen to entertain friends and family.

      Unilock U-Cara contemporary outdoor kitchen

      Sales-Outdoor LivingKen Cook

      Location
      MD: Baltimore
      Languages
      English

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