Should You Build a Deck or Patio?

Jun 29, 2023

Adding space outside to enjoy warmer days can create fun and long-lasting memories. However, choosing between installing a deck or a patio can become overwhelming. There are many factors to consider before deciding. First, it is important to understand the key differences between the two. A deck is an elevated structure connected to your home’s first or second floor. It has a railing along the edge for safety and is typically made from wood, composite, or vinyl. Unlike a deck, a patio is built on the ground floor, either attached to the home or as a separate structure. They are comprised of concrete or bricks, as opposed to wood, making them durable and long-lasting.

In addition to understanding the difference, you must decide which option best serves your family’s needs. Consider the following six factors before making your decision.

Cost—Generally, patios are less expensive to install than decks because they require fewer materials and construction. Decks, however, need foundational support, which is more labor-intensive. The cost comparison is approximately $5000 for a patio and $20,000 for a deck. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t only consider the expense as a factor. Consider your location, yard type, and prices of various contractors. If you have a leveled property that you feel can be more fully enjoyed on the ground and don’t want to have an unsightly view of a highway, a patio may be a better choice. Also, shop around for the best price if a deck is what you want. Also, consider that you will need extra insurance coverage if the deck or patio is unattached to your home because they would not be included in your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Yard and soil type—If any changes need to be made before you build, your cost could increase. For example, if you have a sloping property, you must have the land leveled to install a patio to avoid cracks. In this case, erecting a deck may be more cost-efficient to eliminate the need to bring heavy machinery to even the ground before construction. For patio construction, sand is better than clay soil since sand drains well and is less likely to cause cracking. Clay soil would have to be treated to make it less likely to expand and contract with changes in moisture.

Goals—What is your purpose for your new outdoor enhancement? If you want your outdoor area to be an extension of your indoor space with an elevated view, a deck would be the better option. A deck is also better if you don’t want guests to track dirt in from the property when they return indoors. Conversely, if you prefer to add landscaping, such as shrubs and flowers, you may want to build a patio instead to attract guests to the ground level. If you are concerned about fire safety, opt for a patio due to its protective concrete.

Maintenance and durability—Both patios and decks require cleaning, but decks will need to be stained every few years to keep the wood fresh unless it is composite decking. For a patio, a quick hose down occasionally will suffice. Decks are susceptible to rot and will last an average of 10 to 15 years. Parts will need to be replaced and repaired to protect against safety hazards. Paved patios, on the other hand, can last about 35 years, give or take the weather patterns, tree roots, and shifting ground. In a humid and buggy climate, opting to build a patio would be the better choice.

Value—Due to its higher price tag and ability to provide appealing views, a deck generally adds more resale value to your home than a patio. Although a patio can enhance your property, a city or ocean view from a deck can add tens of thousands to the resale value.

Patios and decks are desirable open-air spaces for your family to enjoy the outdoors. Although both add to your living area, having either has benefits and drawbacks. You should consider your budget, yard structure, goals, and personal preferences when choosing which to build.

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