Deck or Patio: Which One is Better?

You are ready to invest in your outdoor space, which means it’s time to face the looming question: deck or patio? Both options can create a comfortable outdoor living area you can share with friends and family. But there are distinct differences between the results you will receive depending on the type of plans selected. 

Before you jump into this decision, it’s smart to talk to a deck contractor for information about your options. Learning about the industry is a great way to see how you can create the yard that you desire.

Difference Between Decks and Patios

Even though these terms are often used as synonyms, your patio contractor will distinguish the differences before you move forward with this decision. You can’t create the right outdoor living space without first understanding your options. This stage in the planning process helps you learn about the possibilities that can be created in your yard. Then, you can finalize the plans and we’ll move forward to create the deck or patio of your dreams.

Talk to any deck contractor in the area, and they will explain these differences between decks and patios:

  • Deck: When you have an outdoor platform or porch that extends from the house with an open design, then it falls in the category of a deck. These structures do not have a roof.
  • Patio: On the other hand, patios are built on the ground directly, without a raised platform. This patio area can also be attached to the house, or it can be separate from the house if you prefer.

As a general rule of thumb, patios tend to be cheaper than decks because the construction process is easier and you can save money on materials. Keep in mind that the cost of this installation varies – it depends on the material you choose. Most materials are priced by the square foot. For example, you will pay a different amount for a wood deck compared to the cost per square foot for a vinyl deck. 

Typically, the Return on Investment (ROI) of a new deck installation will increase the value of your home more in the future. But there are definitely benefits that you can enjoy from both patios and decks.

Pros and Cons of Decks

If you’re thinking about building a deck, then the next step is to talk to a deck contractor about your options. Not only do you need to decide whether this design is right for your home, but you also need professional advice about the materials used. Options include a composite deck or pressure-treated pine, depending on your preferred style and how much you want to spend on the materials.

Here are some of the pros you can expect if you build a deck instead of a patio:

  • Resale Value: Most homeowners find that they can recover as much as 76% of their investment because of the increase in the value of their property.
  • Maximize Views: Placing the outdoor living space above the ground gives you a better view of the surrounding areas. Depending on the location of your home, you can maximize the beauty of the surrounding areas.
  • Customization Options: The possibilities are endless to create the style you want. Talk to a deck contractor about your options for staining or painting the wood to match your desired shade. 
  • Uneven Ground: If you have an uneven yard area, then a deck design can be a simple way to create an outdoor space without major excavation work to level the area.
  • Comfortable: When the weather heats up in the peak of summer, wooden decks can be beneficial to absorb the heat and make your yard more comfortable.

Additionally, you might notice a few cons of this decision. Here are a few things you need to know about deck installation:

  • Ongoing Maintenance: Any time you install exterior wood (or other decking materials), it’s important to note that you will need to be proactive with maintenance. For example, make it a priority to power wash, stain, and reseal the deck every few years. This maintenance keeps it looking good and also extends the lifespan of the wood.
  • Weight Limits: The support beams of the deck can only hold so much weight. So, talk to your deck contractor if you want to put something heavy on the deck, such as an outdoor kitchen or hot tub.
  • Durability: Since wood can be damaged by weather, rot can eventually cause the deck to lose durability. Additionally, the sun and moisture can result in fading and discoloration, making your deck look rundown.
  • Cost: The final price of your deck installation varies depending on the square footage, installation requirements, and materials used. Most of the time, decks tend to be a higher cost compared to patios.

Pros and Cons of Patios

A patio contractor can explain the pros and cons of this installation, and also give you an estimated cost to install a patio. Depending on your preferences, patios require excavation to level the ground first. Then, the stone and concrete can be poured to create a beautiful living space. 

If you are thinking about installing a patio, then these are some of the pros that you might enjoy:

  • Save Money: The cost of patio installation tends to be lower than what you will pay for a deck. If you are on a tight budget, then this choice can free up your cash for other landscaping projects or indoor renovations. The average cost of concrete can be as little as $5 per square foot, compared to up to $30 per square foot for a deck. 
  • Privacy: Since the patio placement is directly on the ground, it improves your privacy when spending time outside. Fences and landscaping can create a space that is more private compared to the elevated visibility that you’ll have with a deck.
  • Reduced Maintenance: You don’t have to worry about staining or repainting a patio. Stone tile, concrete pavers, and concrete are all durable materials. You might have the patio sealed, but most homeowners have minimal maintenance after the installation is complete.
  • Long Term Durability: One of the benefits your patio contractor will discuss is the lifespan of the patio. Even with minimal maintenance, a good patio can last for many years.
  • Customization: Having the outdoor living space on the ground opens up your options for customization. For example, you might include fire pits or an outdoor kitchen.
  • Skip the Permits: Deck installation usually requires that you get the right permits before construction starts. On the other hand, patio installation can often be done without the need to get a building permit for the work. 

As you can see, there are many reasons why a patio might be the right choice for your installation. It’s also important to talk to your patio contractor about the potential drawbacks:

  • Uneven Terrain: If your yard has uneven ground, then it can be quite expensive to create the level foundation needed for patio installation.
  • Stained Surface: The harsh weather exposure could lead to stains in the concrete or stone. Even though you don’t need to worry about painting and refinishing, it’s common for patio owners to need to clean the surface frequently.
  • Cracked Concrete: As the ground shifts over time, there might be a risk of the concrete cracking. This risk is also affected by changing temperatures throughout the year.
  • Construction Requirements: The installation of a patio can be more intensive, depending on the current condition of your land and the work needed to lay the concrete. Additionally, this installation time might be longer compared to what is required for deck installation.

How to Decide What’s Best for You?

You know you want to extend your living space, so now it’s time to choose the design that is right for your family. How do you make the decision between a deck or a patio? You can read about your options online, but nothing beats the insights you will gain from a conversation with a deck contractor or patio contractor. 

Not only is it important to discuss the estimated cost of installation, but you also need to determine how you will be using the space. Unique preferences can be included in your construction plan, creating an outdoor living area that fits your lifestyle. For example, if you want convenient access off the kitchen to enjoy summer meals outside, then a deck might be the perfect solution. On the other hand, if you have an outdoor pool and need an area to relax and gather, then a patio might work best. 

It’s up to you to choose the features and design elements that will create the yard that you will love. We can assist in explaining the options and showing pictures of various designs and materials. 

How Tandem Can Help

No matter your preferences, both decks and patios can be great additions to your home. If you are looking for solutions to extend your living space and improve your yard, then it’s time to talk to an experienced patio and deck contractor: Tandem Contracting. We’re happy to schedule a no-obligation consultation to talk to you about the possibilities for your yard. Call us to schedule a time for an on-site meeting. We offer full-service solutions to improve your home.

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