When we moved me into my original apartment (in our current building), I found that the previous tenants had left a parting gift of sorts. For reasons all their own, they felt it was a “good” idea to glue yards of that fake astro-turf looking outdoor carpeting to the balcony floor — which might have been workable in my case too, except for the fact it was old, gross, and full of cigarette burn holes. I asked building maintenance to come and tear it out, but even that left bits of black rubber backing and uneven cement. Obviously, I couldn’t leave it like that as it was both an eye-sore and an unfriendly surface for bare feet. So, for the next 5 years, I layered inexpensive straw beach mats out there during the hot weather, which served as a pretty decent solution — until one unusually wet August. I was out of town for a good part of that month, and without someone to hang-dry the mats between rainstorms, they began to rot from underneath. Unable to source the same type of mat I had come to rely on (and desperate for a new option), I decided to look into some kind of wood flooring — but what?
IKEA to the rescue! Anyone who knows me, knows that I practically live there — and on one of my usual expeditions, I saw a display of what would serve as the most amazing solution to my outdoor flooring needs: PLATTA*! Now, at $34.99 per package of nine “tiles,” this project ended up costing hundreds of dollars to do, but I saw it as a real investment in creating a true outdoor living space.
Not only could the new wooden floor be taken apart, but the pieces could be safely stored over winter months to prevent cold weather damage. All that was required was a Sharpie marker (to label the reverse side of the tiles to keep the same configuration in following years), a simple hand-saw (to cut apart the existing tiles as necessary), and a full day to fit the floor. The individual, full tiles snapped together without tools, however, adjustments were needed to accommodate the balcony’s specific dimensions. It was a great project for a novice DIYer and completely doable without a second set of hands.
I am happy to report that even when we moved up five floors into our marital flat, with only a few additional pieces tucked in on one end (thankfully extra tiles were part of the original purchase — in case of future repairs/replacements), the decking is still a perfect fit!
DIY Rating: Beginner project
Time Spent: Between two trips to IKEA, plus customizing and fitting the decking tiles? I’d say plan for an 8-10 hour day, without help.
First Impression: Simple to snap together. Nice finish to the wood, and a great surface for bare feet!
Tools Used: A hand saw, wire cutters, measuring tape, Sharpie, and scissors
Cost: 34.99 CAD per package + taxes
Best Feature: Great air circulation — the wooden tiles sit on a plastic framework which allows for quick drying when wet.
Good to Know: It can be taken reconfigured, reused and re-stained, as well as moved and/or taken apart for storage. I can now lay the floor in just over an hour, solo. Not bad!
Value for Money: Definitely an investment, but well worthwhile!
Learning Curve: Absolutely worth the time and effort!
Source: Purchased from IKEA
*PLATTA as such has been discontinued, but there are currently several comparable “easy use” decking options to choose from.