Patios vs. Decks: How to Decide Which is Right For You

Patios vs. Decks: How to Decide Which is Right For You

So, you’re looking to transform some extra space in your yard into the perfect spot for lounging and entertaining. Great! Relaxing outdoors is not only peaceful and soothing, but studies suggest it offers real health benefits, like faster recovery from injury, stress reduction, and mood elevation. In other words, building a deck or patio beautifies your home while nurturing your wellbeing.

You’re sure you want to reap these benefits by making something of that grassy spot beyond your backdoor, but how do you choose between a deck or a patio? Here’s some helpful information you can use to guide you through your decision.

What Is a Deck?

It might be helpful to lay out the definitions of each of these structures. Decks are generally made of wood or weather-resistant composite materials. Usually, they’re attached to the home, but they can be constructed to stand alone. Unlike patios, decks are elevated above ground level, sometimes high enough to be flush with a home’s second-story exit. Safety railings are usually necessary.

What Is a Patio?

Patios can also be attached to the home, but they’re often set apart, nestled into a fitting part of the landscaping. In terms of shape, they’re more flexible than decks, and they can be built with a wider array of materials, like pavers, stone, brick, and concrete. Patios don’t require safety railings because they’re built at ground level.

Which is More High-Maintenance?

Now that we’ve got a firm idea of what each structure entails, let’s assess them in terms of some important categories, like maintenance. The general conception is that decks are more high-maintenance than patios, since wood requires annual water sealing.

Patios aren’t as maintenance-free as people tend to believe, however. Especially if the surface has been sealed, it will need to be resealed every so often. Furthermore, every few years paver stones should be sand-swept to keep the joints locked tightly.

But for the most part, the general population is correct in assuming that patios are less high-maintenance than decks.

Which Is Better for the Terrain of Your Yard?

While some contractors will do whatever a client tells them, a good contractor advises you on what’s going to work in your yard and what isn’t. Certain terrains just aren’t best for certain structures. An expert who tells you so flat out will save you a lot of grief in the long run when that ill-advised project starts causing serious problems.

If your yard is flat and your back door opens right at ground level, a patio is often the better choice. Decks have to be elevated a certain amount, or you risk close proximity to the ground causing the wood to rot.

On the other hand, if your yard is a carnival of uneven terrain, the deck prevails. Yards without big, level spaces can still make for excellent outdoor relaxation because decks can be lifted up. They can also be better for the yards with lots of trees, since decks can be constructed so as not to damage root systems.

Which Is Less Expensive?

This is another one where people tend to have preconceptions: Many believe that decks are more expensive than patios. This is often the case, since a plain concrete patio certainly costs less than an elaborate composite deck.

But the truth is that the costs of decks and patios vary greatly depending on the materials used, the scope of the design, and other factors. You should consult your contractor about your ideas before you jump to conclusions about what’s more expensive.

Why Are You Building It?

Lastly, you should consider what you intend to use the structure for. For example, if you’re looking to install a fire pit, hot tub, or permanent outdoor oven, it’ll be much trickier to accommodate on a deck.

Consider, too, what you’re going for in terms of vibe. A wooden deck offers a classic, comfortable look, while a flagstone or paver patio can be both sleek or natural looking. It really comes down to personal taste as well as what’s going to look better with your home.

Well, that’s it! Hope these tips have shed some light — and that the near future finds you lounging on a sunny deck or patio built by Bonza.