Outdoor Flooring That Stays Cool in the Heat

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Is there such thing as outdoor flooring that stays cool in the heat, or are you stuck wearing sandals on your deck or patio anytime it’s hot? We’ve got the answers and some budget-friendly DIY solutions to try this season.

It’s summer. Your pool awaits. The pinnacle of comfort would be to simply race out of the house barefoot, and plunge into the water. But you can’t do that: the floor that separates you from your destination is hot enough to fry eggs. Can that be fixed? It sure can, and in more ways than you might think.

What Makes Outdoor Flooring Stay Cool?

The answer is simple: solar reflectivity. I’m going to explain how that works, and what it can do to help keep your toes cool all summer long.

As you may have (correctly) surmised, solar reflectivity is used to express the amount of solar energy a given material bounces back into its surroundings.

A low reflectivity means that the material in question is absorbing the energy, which causes it to heat up—and sometimes to unsafe degrees. This is not an isolated or recent concern; departments of energy at every level of government have regulations on the matter, and it is even a criterion for Energy Star certifications in some cases.

It is, thus, hardly surprising that this has its very own numerical representation: the SRI, or Solar Reflective Index. While this feature won’t be mentioned frequently throughout this article, it is definitely relevant to the first alternative we’re about to cover for you.

Paint Your Existing Deck or Patio Flooring

Indeed, it’s possible to make your concrete or wooden floor safe for bare feet just with a few passes of a roller. To clarify, however, we’re not talking about any old paint.

Deck stairs that have been painted

If you’ve ever been to a theme park and marveled at how you’re able to run on their floors without scalding your feet, then you’re about to find out why:

Encore Cool! Deck Paint

This one is used in several theme parks and resorts throughout the US, and it is designed to reduce heat buildup by close to 40%. Not only that, it is also capable of permanently filling in cracks in concrete, and it makes surfaces less slippery.

A 3-gallon bundle will be sufficient to cover roughly 150 feet. Inherently resistant to peeling off or chipping, and resilient enough for pressure washing, manufacturer recommends applying their proprietary acrylic sealer for optimal protection.

Important to note, this product is intended for concrete only.

Liquid Rubber Cool Foot

It boasts a slightly lower heat reduction (35%) and it won’t fill up the cracks on your floor, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good choice, as this one is available in 3 colors—grey, beige and brown—and it can be applied on wood aside from concrete.

1 gallon covers 40 sq ft, or 30 is the area is particularly high-traffic.

Interlocking Tiles

It may seem simplistic, but it is definitely effective: buy a stack of tiles, set them down on the area you want covered, snap them together so they will stay in place, and you’re done!

Balcony with interlocking tiles

Not only do they look nice, they are usually waterproof, and you can remove them any time if you so please. What’s more, many types will stay cool enough for you to safely tread on them barefoot.

Here are a few examples:

Yaheetech 27PCS Wooden Interlocking Tiles

To be fair, they are not entirely wood—the bottom and locking parts are plastic—, but they are still a great alternative to the conventional, far more expensive flooring, and genuine as it can be; the manufacturer does specify that differences in color (and even knots!) are to be expected in the tiles.

Each tile is 1 sq ft, which means that this package can cover 27 sq ft.

Playsafer Rubber Garden Pavers

Instead of specialized edges, it is their shape that enables them to lock onto one another and remain in place. A good way to bring the look of terracotta into your space while benefiting from the flexibility and resilience of rubber. Also available in black, one 40-pack can cover a little over 10 sq ft.

Grass tiles are also a thing; while they are a good option to consider if you’d rather place and remove them at will, our next option could be a better fit if you’re looking for a more permanent, expansive solution.

Artificial Grass

This one is worth looking into if you’re a fan of the green, but don’t really feel inclined to spend so much time and effort maintaining it.

Patio with artificial grass on the floor

If you like how this sounds, then you might want to consider the following item:

Petgrow Artificial Grass Mat

It looks like the real thing, it feels like the real thing, and it lasts considerably longer, capable of enduring even your pet’s potty breaks. Spills of any kind are no issue, as the rubber backing features enough holes to ensure optimal drainage. Available in various widths and lengths.


Silly though it may sound, it is still quite effective. All you need is the right rug, and in this case, it is not enough that it be good for the outdoors (which is a whole class in itself); the material should also be heat-resistant.

Rugs to help keep patio flooring cool in the heat

Here we present you with an option that covers that requirement:

SAND MINE Reversible Mat

Since it is made entirely in polypropylene, it’s resistant to water, wonderfully easy to clean, and won’t lose color easily. It won’t fray easily, thanks to its heat-treated edges. It is UV coated to further stave off sun damage, and several reports confirm it’s perfectly safe to tread on while barefoot. 5 colors and 3 sizes to select from.

Heat Resistant Patio Flooring

This option in particular can be strikingly more expensive than the ones we have discussed so far (especially considering the additional expenses related to installation), but it is viable if such is your taste and your budget will allow.

Terra cotta tile as an example of outdoor flooring that stays cool in the heat

Granite, slate, marble, porcelain, these are all viable alternatives you can place on areas exposed to the sun without them overheating.

However, many of them may be quite slippery—which might make them ill suited for placing too close to the pool.

In Closing

A patio or backyard where one cannot walk around without shoes, is a patio or backyard that is not fulfilling its intended goal as place of relaxation.

Whether you’d like to race to the pool or simply stand around enjoying the sunlight, any of the options for outdoor flooring that stays cool in the heat we have presented will provide you with the comfort and safety your feet deserve. All you need to do now, is pick the one that better suits your taste and needs.