Any economic solutions to improving our terrace gratefully received

11/16/2009 - 11:29

After having numerous channels drilled into it for new pipework, and not to mention cracks widening after an earthquake our terrace by the apartment needs a facelift, its base is concrete, has anyone got any bright cheap ideas on how we may improve it?thanksA



Don't know if this will help you but we have a problem with an external staircase and a cantina underneath it and it was suggested that we tile the area with swimming pool cement and tiles, Thought it was a good idea and am planning to do same next year. I believe it works out reasonable cheap, although the cement is pricier than the tiles

Angie and Robert, if your concrete base is sound then its not too big a job to tile over if thats what you want to do and obviously depending on the tiles you choose expect to pay something in the region of €30m2.  If you have to reconstruct or renew the base (with reinforced concrete and ties)  then you are probably talking a price upwards of €70 m2.

Hello, recently had the terrace redone with tiles and can confirm Capo Boy is correct with the prices he is suggesting.  A photo of your terrace could help others provide more suggestions.  Good luck.

I think we need a photo.To my mind cracked scruffy cement terraces /patios can make a house or appartment look really awful.A cheap option would be gravel or stones laid on top with a nice edging ( old bricks or you could use raileway sleepers)No-one will know that this covers a multitude of sins!

Thanks all for the suggestions, I wonder re the gravel and if it would work, we already have a gravel drive and its very crunchy, not sure if a gravel terrace would be too much, as always looking for the most economic solution that is also attractive is difficult, and if I knew how to load pictures I would do so, dont think I am allowed to direct you to our website so you can see what I mean but if anyone wants to pm me, will pass it on.A 

 A If you want a good surface to a gravel terrace you need to use a self binding gravel which will bed down well – it’s a mix of different sizes of stone, including dust, that tends to lock together – unlike single size gravel that is always easy to move about   [see  for some outline info]  -  Self binding gravel is a commercially used mix, so should be readily available in Italy - if you know what to ask for,   [which I don't!!!!]

I speak terrible Italian, but I reckon if you asked for   "Mixture - Stone from 10 mms to dust"     [for me thats  "miscela  -   pietra da dieci millimetri a polvere"]   that should do it You might want to drop the upper size a bit [say to 8mm] if, when you look at a sample, it seems a bit lumpy [but its really the mix of big and small, rather than the max size, that's important]

Why not spread a 2.5- 5cm strong sharp sand and cement base, then while wet add large gravel on the top surface, lightly tamped down, which will bind into that layer. It would be quite easy to lay in sections and if you edged with old bricks etc., would take lots of wear & tear.

Its the mix of clay and sand that does the binding but I'm not sure that but having this type of mix you would not encourage  weeds to take root ? Whereas just gravel would not ?The crunch you mention could be a deterent to anyone creeping around ! You could plant low spreading thymes into it.The best thing is to create a border so the gravel cannot be kicked off the terrace or easily trod into the house.If you fancied a really artistic project you could make a mosaic !  The mosaic pieces can be pricey but if you can beg lots of broken tiles/pottery your costs would be minimal.You would need a flat level surface to begin with then its just a case of spreading a base to set the mosiac in and grouting it when finished.

Have you thought about having a word with Ian Brown? He's generally full of good ideas, and is certainly very economical compared to Italian builders from what I hear.