sunglasses on pool deck

Outdoor Flooring That Stays Cool? 10 Best Options

In Buyers Guide by Jamie

One of the best things about having awesome outdoor spaces is that you get to enjoy better lifestyles. Today, almost every home will have an outdoor space which is their favorite zone to have fun and relax. However, what’s important is to set up safe outdoor areas.

Outdoor flooring can get dangerously hot and it is a concern that many tend to overlook. Excessive heat on the floors of your porches, patios, decks, and pool areas isn’t just a hindrance or inconvenience but can be unsafe too, especially where kids are involved. Just think about the times where you had to run because your feet were on fire?

Anyways, our list includes the best outdoor flooring that stays cool to keep your feet safe. There are a few details like the SRI and why cools floors are important below. This information is very important to know prior to planning an outdoor area, it will help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Importance of the Solar Reflectance Index (SRI)

One of the top solutions to the problem is creating or modifying your floors so it has a higher Solar Reflectance Index (SRI). SRI is a measure of the amount of solar radiation a specific surface/material can reflect and thereby remain cool under excessive heat. Absorbing solar radiation and retaining it can cause a surface/material to become heated. If the surface has a higher capacity to reflect, (has a higher SRI) the heat isn’t retained, and so the surface remains cool. In other words, surfaces with a higher SRI tend to remain cooler despite excessive solar radiation.

As far as material surfaces are concerned, those lighter in color tend to absorb minimal heat. In other words, these materials have a higher SRI. When it comes to surfaces with a lower SRI, however, a couple of strategies, such as applying coatings, paints, or even modifying the surface by topping it with tiles and stones can all be implemented so that the level of absorption and retention of heat is decreased.

Another thing to keep in mind with the SRI is that with aging materials, such as flooring, we can see the index change. The majority of the time the SRI value decreases, which means older flooring will more likely heat up more. If you have this issue and your flooring is aged, maybe an upgrade or change is needed.

Reasons why cool outdoor flooring is important?

Outdoors are meant for peaceful relaxation and enjoyment. A hot floor can be a hindrance to your outdoor activity, causing inconvenience and an unpleasant experience altogether. Moreover, it can be quite frustrating if you have to deal with this every day in the hot sun, and you are unable to ‘step’ into your porch or patio.

Additionally, hot floors aren’t safe, at all. They could cause burns and injuries, particularly to babies and elders. Pets and animals are likely to get burned severely owing to their soft paws and bodies.

Another concern is when you have guests over. You might not always be able to warn your guests about hot floors. If your guests aren’t informed, they could end up with injuries and accidents, too. Thus, to ensure that you, your family, your pets, and guests are safe, and get to enjoy a fun and pleasant time, you may want to look at the most suitable options for outdoor flooring that stays cool. Here are a couple of strategies and modifications that might be great for your outdoor floors.

10 Outdoor Flooring Options That Stay Cool

  1. Concrete with Cooling Paint
  2. Properly Picked Paver Stones
  3. Natural Stone Tiles
  4. Wooden Deck with Cool Foot Paint
  5. Composite Decking
  6. Outdoor Patio Tiles
  7. Just Keep Your Outdoor Area Natural Grass!
  8. Outdoor Rubber Flooring
  9. Painting Bricks Light
  10. Artificial Turfs

1. Concrete with Cooling Paint

cool flooring relief paint

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When it comes to concrete flooring, you need to give a couple of things some careful thought before you modify it. Cooling paints are commonly opted for in concrete surfaces as an effective solution. The Cool Decking Pool Deck Paint by Encore Coating is the top-rated choice. It’s trusted at theme parks, so if you’re looking for the answer, this could be it.

The best part about using cool paint is that they aren’t just great at keeping the surface cool, but increase grip so they are non-slippery. This is particularly important when it comes to the poolside or outdoor space for that matter. Kids may run about and play, and a cool but slippery floor wouldn’t be an actual solution. It might be a more risky thing than hot floors.

Additionally, some of these paints work as sealants, meaning that they seal and smoothen out the surface in case there are cracks, damages, and holes. All in all, it’s a great solution with multiple benefits, and might be just the right thing for outdoor poolsides or decks. But remember, you don’t need a pool to use it! It is still a great option to keep outdoor flooring cool.

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2. Properly Picked Paver Stones

Paver stones, such as travertine, sandstone, and perhaps, marble, are laid in specific outdoor areas, particularly because of their cooling properties. They have a higher SRI when compared to other paver stones. These may be a practical choice for outdoor flooring instead of the regular types, especially those that absorb and retain heat.

Paver stones are naturally matte and sometimes slightly rough, making it more ideal for the outdoors in terms of safety. In addition, they also make an incredibly stylish option, adding beauty and elegance to the whole area. There are several stone types you could opt for, however, as mentioned. The lighter ones in color might be a lot more ideal, especially when the heat is your primary concern.

When looking to save money on outdoor flooring options check out our article “9 Cheap Ways to Cover Dirt in Backyard“. We talk about many flooring options that are cheap and easy to install.

3. Natural Stone Tiles

Speaking of stones, you also have another choice to experience the same effects and benefits like those mentioned above. Natural stone tiles are an equally stylish and practical solution for hot floor issues in the outdoor areas. There are quite many types you could pick from with higher SRI values:

  • Travertine
  • Marble
  • Porcelain
  • Slate
  • Granite

While tiles and pavers might seem like the same thing, you might prefer tiles to pavers for personal reasons. Some may find it more convenient and easier to lay out. It might also be a cheaper option in most cases. Otherwise, it will keep your floor cool, and have an anti-slip, and anti-fade properties, just like pavers.

4. Wooden Deck with Cool Foot Paint

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When it comes to wooden decks and floors, the most practical solution would be foot paint. They are usually available in various ranges. However, you might want to opt for paints that are non-toxic and eco-friendly, especially if you have kids and pets. These are highly UV resistant, which is the key factor you would look for, and are incredibly easy to apply. A couple of heavy coats on clean wood might do the job. Once done, they will look amazing, too!

The Liquid Rubber Cool Foor Deck Coating is a super popular option that I would recommend. You can choose from 4 color options including white, misty grey, pale brown, and neutral beige. I think white would be best if looking for the coolest option.

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5. Composite Decking

Composite decks are built using specific types of boards that are combinations of wood, plastic, and other materials. The combination gives the board special properties that are usually advantageous where long term outdoor use is concerned. They are highly durable, eco-friendly, and incredibly easy to clean and maintain.

In addition to all of these, they are believed to be effective in resisting heat and remaining cool. This is particularly owing to its combined properties. If you wish to get them for your outdoor porch or patio, or any space that’s exposed to the sun, you might want to look for decking in light colors and shades that have a higher SRI value.

6. Outdoor Patio Tiles

Many people opt for outdoor patio tiles made of real/organic wood which are great in many ways. These prove to be amazingly durable, but most of all, they have strong weather-resistant properties. The interlocking tiles might be convenient and easy to assemble and disassemble as required.

The best part is that most of them come pre-oiled, which means they are ready to assemble straight away. This also means that they keep out the heat effectively. If you are concerned about appearance and style, this might be just the thing for you because they come in a range of patterns and colors. However, if cool flooring is your biggest concern, make sure you opt for light colors, always!

7. Just Keep Your Outdoor Area Natural Grass!

There certainly is nothing better than going natural. Keeping the grass intact is great in more than one way. Firstly, your relaxation might feel more authentic with the freshness of green grass. Secondly, it’s always a beautiful sight to look at. Thirdly, of course, it helps keep the whole area cool. You needn’t make an effort to try and maintain the coolness because your grass will keep it that way naturally!

8. Outdoor Rubber Flooring

Many believe that rubber flooring is entirely about being non-slip, but they are great when it comes to heat resistance, too. They come in interlocked pieces, usually, and are easy to lay out. They are non-toxic, safe, and convenient.  It’s also an affordable option.

Duragrid has 12’x12′ packs of 12 hard rubber tiles that you could use for flooring, it would also be an option to have it placed on outdoor flooring that gets super hot. This can lift you up off the hot floor and protect your feet. It might not look luxurious but it works!

9. Painting Bricks Light

If you’ve got brick floors or walls in your outdoor area that require cooling solutions, again, you could opt for appropriate paints with heat resistant properties. Even without heat resistant properties, you can choose paint. Make sure you pick light colors so it works most effectively. They need to be safe, with anti-slip and non-toxic properties. Otherwise, you could just opt for cooling paints that are used on concrete, which is the perfect surface paint in every way.

If I were to pick one myself I would choose Encore Coatings Pool Paint, but it’s totally up to you.

10. Artificial Turfs

These aren’t just meant to provide a naturally beautiful appearance to your outdoors, but can sometimes be an effective solution for heated floors. If you choose artificial turf for your outdoors, you may want to pick one that’s specifically made to be cooler than the regular decorative types. You might need to do a little research beforehand.

If looking for the best artificial turf on Amazon, the Realistic Deluxe Artificial Grass by LITA is the best option.

Also, keep in mind that turf still heats up to very hot temperatures, however, when in use watering the turf frequently should help in this case!


Other Solutions For A Cool Outdoor Floor?

luxury backyard sun protection

Apart from all the above points, there are a couple of simple and basic solutions anyone could opt for. One of these is putting up roofs and shades to minimize the amount of sunlight that hits your outdoor area. This should help a great deal.

You might also consider building pergolas with high-quality material that will help with heat resistance in addition to providing shade. Watering your exposed floors frequently also helps keep them a lot cooler. Lastly, if there’s a possibility to have accessories in your outdoor setting to block out some of the sunlight, such as blinds, it might be helpful, too.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are numerous solutions to cool your outdoor area that you could opt for. However, the key to making the right choice is to carefully consider the specific setting, layout, and details of your outdoor space so you pick a solution that’s most appropriate, and practical. For instance, artificial turf might suit your neighbor’s patio better than yours, while the stone tiles in your outdoors might just not be the best for theirs. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to suitability and practicality so you can choose an option that works best for you.