Expanding your living space is one of the most appealing goals for a backyard renovation. You can increase your home’s square footage by creating an outdoor living area. This will allow you to enjoy the outdoors and also make your house more spacious. Imagine yourself sitting on your deck enjoying your morning coffee, or having a relaxing evening with friends around the firepit.
A patio or deck is the next step to creating livable outdoor spaces in your yard. What is the difference between patios and decks? Which is best for you? What are the essential elements to consider when planning a patio or deck? Which one is the best for resale? What if your ground is uneven? What maintenance will you need? We have the answers.
What are the Key Differences between a Deck & a Patio?
Materials & Location
Let’s start with the basics. A patio and a deck are different depending on their materials. Decks are made from wood or composite boards, and attached to the house’s structure. This elevated platform can be built on uneven terrain, or raised to create a second deck.
Decks are usually equipped with safety railings around the perimeter due to their elevation. This extra height, whether it is a foot above the ground or on the second floor, can help you enjoy stunning views from your deck chair.
What is a patio? A patio is a ground-level structure made from brick, stone, concrete or gravel. Because they are directly placed on the ground, it is important that the surface be levelled before installing them. Patios do not require structural support. They can be built either abutting the home or freestanding.
Concrete patios are the most popular type of patio. However, there are many options available, including stamped concrete, concrete slabs, large stone pavers and modern pea gravel patios. You can also fireproof all that stone if you are looking for the ideal location for a fire pit.
Patio vs. Deck Cost
Patios are generally less expensive than decks when it comes to construction. Decks, on the other hand, have a more upfront cost than patios. This cost is influenced by many factors.
Concrete and stone are usually cheaper than wood for patios. Deck construction requires a lot of carpentry and time. Concrete pouring or laying stones will result in a higher cost. Some areas may require permits or charge fees to build decks. We’ll discuss this more later.
Patios are a cost-effective option for outdoor living. However, you need to consider leveling the ground if you plan on building on an uneven site. The cost calculator can help you estimate how much you will need to build your dream patio.
A wooden deck requires more maintenance and care. Wood decks need to be stained and resealed every couple of years, depending on where you live. They will last between 10-15 years and then they may need to be replaced.
Wood is also susceptible to termites and other woodboring insects. This makes it even more important to maintain your deck. Composite decking materials are more expensive upfront, but will make maintenance easier.
Patios on the other side are easy to maintain. Stone patios or gravel patios can last a lifetime and need very little maintenance. They are durable and can last for many decades with minimal maintenance.
A deck can provide a better return on your investment than a patio, and may increase your property’s resale potential. A spacious deck made of wood or composite is a big hit with home buyers.
Permits & Restrictions
Check the local building codes in your area. Because decks are considered part of the building and must be inspected, some regions require permits. A second-story deck is a more dangerous construction.
You will need to be aware of the weight restrictions for your deck when you inspect it. When choosing deck furniture, keep these restrictions in mind.
Patios are not subject to similar restrictions as they are built directly on ground and have no elevated construction surfaces. This makes them a more practical choice for those who want to avoid paperwork.
Sustainability and Environmental Impact
Composite decking is a combination of plastic and natural wood. Decks are usually made from wood. Wood decking can be used as a renewable resource. It can be burned or composted after its use, but has the lowest lifespan of any patio or deck material.
It is possible to prolong the life of your deck by investing in durable and hardy woods like redwood or cedar, but they will last less time than composite decks or stone patios.
Composite decks are more durable and less likely to be damaged than natural wood. Depending on the manufacturer, the production methods can be surprising eco-friendly. They may use both recycled wood or plastic.
Composite boards can’t be recycled or composted. They will be destined for landfill when the deck is taken down. Both materials have their pros and cons. It all comes down to personal preference and your building needs.
How to Get Started
You’re sold on the idea of an outdoor living space. What do you do? How do I choose between a deck and a patio, what materials should I use, and how can I actually start building?
Identify Your Objectives
Before you rush to buy hardware at the hardware store, think about your plans for your patio or deck. Consider some important questions:
What amount are you willing to spend upfront? A compact patio is best if you have a limited budget. A beautiful redwood deck can be a great investment for the long-term.
- What level of maintenance are you prepared to put in? You might be able to do a little maintenance on your deck, such as scrubbing, staining, and sealing it every year. A patio might be more for you if you like to do all the work quickly and then relax.
- What length of time do you expect it to last? While a patio will last for many years, a deck can typically last 10-15 years with proper maintenance.
- Which terrain are you building? A deck might be an easier choice if you are building on a hilly terrain. You don’t need a lot of space to build a patio.
- Are you looking to DIY your deck installation? A deck requires a complicated and lengthy build process. We don’t recommend it for amateurs. If you are able to lift heavy objects, patios, especially those that are installed on level ground can be self-installed.
- What are your plans for the space? An elevated deck offers a place to relax with a great view. Patios, on the other hand provide a sturdy surface for high-traffic areas or showpieces such as a fire pit or a lush patio water feature.
- Which do you prefer? Personal preference will determine the aesthetics of a patio or deck. This space will be your home for many years, so make sure you take the time to create a backyard that you love.
These questions are important to you. Is budget your top priority? Do you really believe that your patio will still be around when you retire. Do you finally have the funds to build that Pinterest-perfect deck? It all boils down to what factors are most important to you.
Plan It Out
It’s time for you to start planning and building your deck. This guide will help you get started on building your deck or patio.
- Layout your garden. Think about the space and the areas you need to build. How to make it functional for you. How to integrate your deck or patio into other backyard landscaping ideas.
- Choose the right material for your project. Now is the time for you to compare prices and find what suits your budget.
- Build your patio/deck. This is the place where it all happens. If you are laying patio pavers yourself, get ready to work hard or call a deck builder or patio landscaping expert to help make your dreams come true.