The Great Debate - Deck Versus Patio

Deck vs Patio

Landscaping can be a great investment for increasing home value as well as aesthetics. Adding an outdoor living area, such as a deck or a patio can create a new atmosphere where you can relax and enjoy good weather outside of your home. Depending on the budget and desired function of your outdoor living space, there are several options when considering this type of home addition project.

Decks, Higher Maintenance Costs

Decks offer natural wood-look finishes and primarily add an aesthetic value to your home. Decks can be low-cost additions as a spring or summertime Do-It-Yourself project, but are labor intensive. Typically less expensive to build than patios (particularly if you do it yourself), decks can be constructed relatively easy, provided you are mechanically inclined and understand the fundamentals of geometry. However, if you’re thinking of building one, consider that decks require annual maintenance and constant upkeep. They are more sensitive to the weather, as wood is prone to rot, splinter, and warp. Depending on the quality and type of material used for the deck and the consistency of required maintenance performed, it may need replaced every 5 to 15 years.

In some cases, adding a deck may be the only option, especially if the entrance to your new outdoor living space is on the second floor, or higher than a few stairs can handle. Decks can be built for doorways very high off the ground.

Patios, Longer Lasting

Patios can be finished with many different looks to meet your personal taste, and are more often constructed by a professional. When picking materials for your patio, you can choose from poured concrete, concrete pavers, stone, gravel, outdoor tiles, and cobblestone. If you choose poured concrete, you will definitely want to seek professional assistance unless you have extensive experience in concrete pouring. One of the benefits of poured concrete is that the dye powder can be added directly to the concrete mixture itself, allowing varied coloring. If you choose to go the paver, brick, or stone route, you can have each stone stamped decoratively on the top.

Maintenance for patios is minimal as the materials used are more weather resistant, only requiring to be sealed every few years. Because of the low maintenance costs, patios are more cost-effective over time. There is a restriction for patios though; they can only be added to ground level doorways, or doorways within a few steps of the ground.

Something to keep in mind - If you’re having dye added to your concrete, be sure the colored dye is added to the whole concrete mixture, and not only sprinkled on the top layer. If the concrete chips or cracks, the newly exposed area will not be colored and will stick out like a sore thumb.

Outside of the Deck or Patio

When deciding on surrounding landscaping, your choice of vegetation varies depending on whether you choose a deck or patio, and the design of said outdoor living area. Adding plants, flowers, and other shrubbery to the exterior of your patio can take the aesthetics to the next level, bringing life to the simple construction. More often, setting up hanging baskets or lighting is the way to go with patios, to keep the open feel of the space. Decks can be enclosed with plants or shrubbery, but this may remove the open, outdoor feel.