Tips on Converting Patios into Indoor Living Space

Many homeowners would like to convert their existing outdoor slabs into sun-rooms and enclosed patios but there are a few things to keep in mind about the concrete once the outdoor becomes indoor living space. Shawna Turner, General Manager at Direct Colors, is here with us today to talk more about patio conversions and what to look out for.


Amie Nolen: Shawna, how popular are enclosed patios and sun-rooms generally?

Shawna Turner: Everyone wants more space in their home. Patios, especially in cold weather climates, can only be used for a few months out of the year so it makes sense to convert those slabs into something that can be enjoyed year round.

Amie Nolen: What issues do you see arising with existing slabs after they’ve been enclosed?

Shawna Turner: Outdoor concrete is usually finished with more texture than your typical indoor floor for safety reasons. Slabs can also have stamped or decorative finishes on them you wouldn’t ordinarily find in a home. Depending on the age of the concrete, the patio might have deteriorated or weathered over the years as well. All of these factors can make it more difficult to properly refinish the concrete to make it a more hospitable indoor living space.

Amie Nolen: What options does a homeowner have to address these floor problems?

Shawna Turner: Well, if the floor is in fact too rough or has an undesirable textured or stamped finish, it can be refinished using a concrete overlay. Concrete overlays are troweled on and provide a blank canvas for the homeowner to acid stain, integrally color or do whatever they wish with the floor. Really it’s like starting over. I recently had a customer call me with a sun-room project and the concrete had been finished using salt. What that means is rock salt was tossed on the surface and later washed out when the concrete was cured leaving salt impressions in the surface. While that might be okay for a patio, it’s definitely not okay for an indoor floor. Dirt is nearly impossible to clean out of the crevices and it can look quite unsightly over time. He elected to overlay and acid stain the floor to address the problem. No question he made the right choice. I would also clean, patch and overlay damaged concrete for much the same reasons. There’s no place in a home for flaking concrete.

Amie Nolen: What are some of the advantages for a concrete floor in a sun-room or enclosed patio vs. carpet squares or other flooring options?

Shawna Turner: Decorative concrete is an anything goes kind of flooring. It’s easy to clean and require very little maintenance. You don’t have to worry about water should flooding or heavy rains occur. Really its peace of mind in a space that might be a little more prone to calamity than other rooms in the house. Check out our photo galleries at for sun-room project pictures. I have a few favorites but there’s a great picture of a sun-room in the Shifting Sand Project Photo Gallery that I really like. It was an entry to our End of Summer Facebook Photo Contest a few years ago.

Amie Nolen: Thanks very much, Shawna, for spending the time with us today.

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