How much time are you willing to spend?
Depending on the type of flooring you will need to invest more or less time in transforming your fresh air oasis. Therefore, always consider the time and financial outlay for your project. You can lay wooden planks or tiles on existing balcony or terrace floors. This will save a lot of time. This is not possible on natural stone or concrete floors. Here, the old flooring has to be prepared before the new one is laid.
Starting from scratch? Then you can determine the layout. If you can't make any structural alterations, or only have a limited budget, you're well advised to opt for simple solutions, such as a floor covering made from natural wood.
The least expensive option is a carpet. This gives your balcony or your roof a new look and creates a cosy atmosphere. Special outdoor rugs made from durable, weather-resistant fibres are available. You can also use it only in specific areas such as your lounge seating area. Carpets are a good way to partition off your roof terrace.
Decking – rustic and warm
Wood is the preferred material of most outdoor designers. The reason for this is simple: its warm character. In addition to its attractive appearance, wooden flooring is also a good option in terms of price, outlay and upkeep. For example, wooden tiles are inexpensive and easy to get onto the roof terrace. With small, square plastic grids that have a wooden plank trim and slot into each other, you can cover as big an area as you like. A great solution if you live in a block of flats and want to hide the cold concrete floor without having to take it up.
Important: make sure the wood is weatherproof. The rule of thumb is the harder the material, the better. Ash and oak are particularly high quality. The wood is fairly dense and will stay firm and attractive for many years. Softwoods such as Douglas fir or pine are a cheaper alternative. These species are reinforced using heat treatment or long-lasting impregnation.
If you don't want a patina to form, you should varnish the wood regularly. But maybe you like the worn, authentic look. This makes it cheaper to care for the material.
Natural, concrete or stone floors – a cool alternative
If you prefer a cooler atmosphere, paved floors made from artificial or natural stone, outdoor tiles or concrete slabs are a better choice. You can expect to pay around €10 to 50 per tile. This means the flooring is not as economical as plastic tiles, but is much more robust and weather-resistant. Like wood, even stone floors develop a patina, which can look beautiful. Smooth stone surfaces are particularly practical, as they are very easy to keep clean.
There isn't the same overhead involved in installing the floor because natural and artificial stone paving requires a foundation, a drain, a gravel bed, etc. A lot of work, ideally only done by experienced DIYers. There's less to do with concrete slabs. They are laid on a bed of sand and then fixed using a vibromachine.
Not forgetting the existing floor covering. As described above, you can't lay a stone floor on existing flooring. This means more work and costs. The only exception is a system of paving slab supports and square panels. This is used to create a floating stone or concrete floor. The advantage is that it can be dismantled at any time.
If despite all the above, you still favour the stone alternative, you should take the weight of the flooring into account. Stone tiles are very heavy and may impose a significant load on the balcony structure. You also need to calculate the thickness of the tiles. Finally, these need to be completely flush with the door sill.