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Deck vs. Patio: Which is the Better Choice for Your Outdoor Living Space?
When it comes to outdoor living areas, both decks and patios have their appeal. Which one is right for you and your home, though? Let’s look at both sides and all angles of the deck vs. patio discussion to get the answer.
Deck vs. Patio: The main differences
Decks are raised outdoor platforms connected to a house. They’re commonly made of woods like cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine. However, other materials such as stone, cement, and composite material that mimic the look of wood are also available.
Patios, on the other hand, sit flush to the ground and may or may not be connected to a structure. Patios are typically made from concrete, brick or stone pavers or stamped concrete, which is patterned or textured to look like flagstone, tile or other materials. Even within these two categories, though, there are different types of decks and patios to consider.
Types of decks and patios
There are two types of each kind of outdoor platforms:
- Standard Patios: As described earlier, a standard patio is flush with the ground and may or may not be connected to a home.
- Raised Patios: While this kind of patio still sits directly on the ground like a standard patio, the ground is graded (or leveled out) so that the surface where it meets the pavers is flat.
- Ground-Level Decks: As their name implies, ground-level decks sit at ground level and are only raised enough so that joists can be added for support.
- Floating Decks: Unlike their ground-level counterparts, floating decks sit several feet off the ground and typically have stairs and railings for access and safety.
Which of these options is right for you will depend on various factors including your budget and the characteristics of the outdoor space you’re working with. What should you keep in mind as you make your decision?
Weighing the options: deck vs patio
There are at least seven things you’ll want to think about: Cost, ease of installation, location, views, maintenance, lifespan, and resale value.
First, we’ll tackle cost, which is one of the biggest deciding factors for many homeowners. Is a deck or a patio cheaper? Well, it’s no surprise that final costs for both vary depending on the material used, size, and location. But you definitely wouldn’t want to go into a project of this magnitude without a number in mind. So here are the ballpark figures.
Typically, with installation, you can expect to pay about $35 per square foot for a deck. Since, by some estimates, the average deck is 300 to 400 square feet, the total cost of decking could come out to between $10,500 and $14,000.
What about patios? They’re generally cheaper than decks. Because they’re made out of less expensive materials, require less labor, and typically don’t require permits or inspections to build. They often cost $10 to $20 per square foot installed, although certain materials can be more expensive.
Given that a traditional patio is 144 square feet, you’d end up in the neighborhood of $1,440 to $2,880. If you also opt for a covered roof or a screened-in enclosure, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,000 extra respectively.
Ease of Installation
As mentioned, most patios can be built without permits because they’re at ground level and don’t impact the structure of a home. For this reason, the process of installing a patio can often take less time than building a deck. However, common patio materials such as stone can be excessively heavy. Specialized equipment may be necessary before your patio can be built.
So, while it might sound easy to lay pavers or pour concrete, it’s smart to bring in a patio pro. (If you’re gearing up to sell your home, your Realtor® can work with Curbio. Together, we can get the job done and handle any other pre-listing home improvements that are in order.)
In contrast, decks often require permits and inspections. After all, they’re raised platforms and are attached to homes with the ability to impact the exterior structure.
Getting the proper permits and having inspections done to make sure everything is up to code can take longer than homeowners would like. But it’s an essential part of the installation process since you could be fined for not adhering to regulations.
As for actually building your deck, (and especially if you plan to add a pool) it’s a pretty labor-intensive task. So it’s wise to have a professional deck contractor do the job to be sure that the substructure is sound.
Another difference between decks vs patios is that patios require a level surface. So, if your outdoor area is uneven, it would need to be graded to accommodate a patio. In such a case, a deck may be less of a hassle to build since it’s not dependent on even terrain.
Next on our list of factors that should influence your decision is the view. This includes the look you want to achieve, the sights you want to see, and the view your neighbors will have.
Both decks and patios can help to create a certain look, vibe, and experience for your home. For example, a floating deck can offer a great vantage point of your city and other scenery. However, it can also expose you to the watchful eyes of neighbors.
Patios and ground-level decks are often just the opposite, affording you more privacy, even if that means less of a view.
Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all right or wrong answer here. What you should choose depends on your preferences and the preferences of future buyers, which your real estate agent will be able to help you weigh.
Maintenance is another important consideration when deciding on a deck vs. a patio. Unless you go with a wood composite material, stone, or cement, a deck can require substantial maintenance. Not only can the stain or paint on natural woods fade, but planks such as redwood and cedar can start to look dirty and dingy over time. They may also need to be re-sealed to prevent staining and water damage. So sealing, painting, and power-washing will be on your to-do list at least every couple of years.
While you may still want to power-wash every so often to prevent staining, patios made of stone pavers, brick, and concrete don’t require much maintenance at all. They’re definitely the easier of the two to care for.
What will proper maintenance of your patio or deck get you? A natural wood deck will last 10 to 15 years, provided that it’s taken care of. A composite deck can last for 25 to 30 years. And a patio can last up to 50 years, although they are prone to cracking.
Last but not least, there’s resale value to think about. In most cases, the return on investment (ROI) of patios and decks correlates to the cost of building them.
Decks are more expensive and tend to have a high ROI (between 60% to 80%). Patios cost less to build and provide a lower ROI (up to 50%). While returns may be a bit higher in warmer climates, this is generally what you can expect.
Which outdoor upgrade wins your vote?
Now that we’ve weighed the pros and cons of both options, which outdoor platform would work best for your home? Ultimately, the best choice will depend on whether you’re updating your outdoor space for your enjoyment or to sell. If for yourself, your budget, location, and preferences regarding looks and maintenance will come into play.
And, if to make your home more appealing to:
- Local buyers
- Buyer preferences
- Resale value
You’re not going to regret it. Homes that get updated with Curbio tend to sell faster and for more. Why? Because we’re able to streamline the end-to-end solution. By sourcing the materials, managing the project so you don’t have to, and utilizing a network of licensed professionals – we can help complete work faster. Let Curbio install a deck or patio so you can sit back, relax, and make more money on your home sale.