When choosing a terrace design and deciding on how to build it, you should remember that a terrace should meet a few key requirements:
- it should complement architectural properties and features of the house;
- it should be separated from the house by a small threshold that will prevent water from flowing into the house and at the same time will smoothly and naturally extend the floor space of a house;
- it should be slightly elevated above ground but the elevation should not disturb the harmonious transition or make unnecessary architectural barriers;
- its surface should have a slope of 1.5-2% to facilitate draining water to the garden. In terraces, paths and stairs built on permeable layers it is acceptable to have a slope of 0% because precipitation water does not flow off the surface but permeates through slots along the bricks. It flows off into deeper parts of the foundations eventually reaching subsoil layers;
- materials used to build it should be resistant to temperature fluctuations, frost and abrasion. Only with these features, it is possible to avoid rapid damage and costly repairs;
- the top layer should always be smooth with anti-slip properties;
- on a terrace with steps, it is important that its steps should be quite low and wide enough to enhance their comfort of use. They can be finished off with clay paving bricks laid as a barge course or with granite sets.
Terraces and steps made with one of the most common methods, i.e. using ceramic tiles fixed to a base, may cause many problems over time. Frequently, cracking, scaling or loosening of tiles are some of the troubles that terrace owners may face. They may be avoided by a simpler and cheaper method, i.e. using clay pavers. They do not require special materials such as flexible and frost-proof adhesives, an expensive and time-consuming damp proof course; they are laid faster. You can use bricks again in the same or different ways while keeping their aesthetic properties because bricks are not fixed permanently to the base but only arranged on an aggregate bedding layer.
How to do it?
The most cost effective solution is to build a terrace on a gravel base. It will allow water to drain and prevent damage to the terrace surface. Note that water and its effects is the arch enemy of every construction!
How to do it?
When building a structure such as a terrace, a path or steps, first fix the kerb (e.g. made of pavers or solid bricks placed upright) using a mortar for suitable for bricklaying. Then, fill in the interior area with aggregates of suitable size, compact it and lay the paver layer.
When you make steps, fix another stair, put another layer of aggregate material, compact it and repeat the procedure until you get the required level.