A deck or patio installation can turn the area outside your home into an extension of your indoor living spaces. Either one can bring a whole new dimension to your home, but which one should you choose? Understanding the differences between the two can help you make an informed decision about which is right for your home.
About the Deck
A deck is an open outdoor platform, usually without a roof, that extends from your home. It is primarily made of natural wood, particularly redwood, cedar and pressure-treated pine. Vinyl, aluminum and composite are also used. If taken care of properly, the deck adds beauty and warmth to your outdoor living space.
There are two types of decks: elevated and ground-level.
- Elevated – This is the most common deck type and is widely found in many neighborhoods. Because it is supported by joists, it is best installed on sloped or uneven terrain. This makes it ideal for raised homes or hilly areas.
- Ground-level – Even as the name suggests, this deck type still requires a slightly raised substructure. It often has a few steps for easy access from your yard or dining area to the main platform. Also, it doesn’t require as much upkeep as the elevated type and can be detached from your home as long as it has adequate stability.
About the Patio
A patio, meanwhile, is a paved area situated to the ground. Like the deck, it can be attached to your home or freestanding. The difference, however, is that the patio is built and oriented with the landscaping in mind. Because it is on an even level with your lawn or yard, it creates a seamless connection between your living space and your landscape.
Patios are usually set on a concrete slab or a sand or pebble base and designed using a combination of any of these materials: concrete, stone, tile, brick, gravel and pebbles. Key elements within these areas include shrubs, trees and flower beds as well as stone features like birdbaths, fountains, fire pits and other water features. For this to be possible, the patio itself should sit on a flat surface.
Comparing Decks and Patios
One of the many considerations when it comes to choosing between the deck or patio involves the cost. However, there’s more to building a functional outdoor living area than cost. Other deciding factors include the timeframe for construction, the need for permits, the return on investment and lifestyle. Here are some of the many aspects that help differentiate decks and patios:
- Longevity and Ease of Maintenance
Of the two choices, the patio is less expensive and time-consuming to maintain compared to a deck. It can withstand more wear and tear because of the durability of concrete and stone. Also, keeping the whole area clean and attractive is only limited to removing dead leaves and other debris. However, it can still be susceptible to cracks and stains, which you need to keep an eye out for and fix before they get worse.
A natural wood deck, meanwhile, requires more maintenance. Long-term exposure to the elements, including sun and moisture damage, causes some of the wood surfaces to fade and rot. Apart from occasional cleaning using the power washer, the whole structure needs a new coat of paint or stain every couple of years to preserve the natural beauty of the material. Applying a seal helps protect the deck from absorbing excess water. If you want more durability from your deck, but want to keep the same wood look, choosing a composite decking material would be a great alternative.
Routine maintenance can extend the longevity of both the deck and patio. Wood decks are expected to last between 10 to 20 years while composite decks and patios have lifespans that range between 25 to 30 years or even longer.
The views you can get from your deck or patio will depend on your home’s location and surrounding environment. Between the two, the former offers better views than the latter because of its elevation. From a raised platform, you can check out the beautiful scenery from afar, whether it is a picturesque mountain range or a bustling cityscape at night. This won’t be possible with a patio that is built low to the ground. Despite this, the area can offer a greater sense of privacy, especially when enclosed with wooden fences or walls.
- Need for Permits and Inspections
Before a deck building project can proceed, obtaining the proper permits and undergoing inspections during the whole construction process must be done to ensure everything is up to code and meets the local building requirements. Once finished, you can have peace of mind knowing that you have a safe outdoor space. Building a patio, meanwhile, doesn’t often require permits or inspections. After all, it is built directly on the ground and won’t affect your home’s structural integrity. To be sure, get in touch with your city, county or state building authorities.
- Cost and Return on Investment
Building a patio is a more cost-effective way to improve your home’s outdoor living space. Unlike wood materials used in decks, materials like stamped concrete or stone are usually more affordable. You can also expect lower costs on both labor and maintenance. But despite a larger initial investment, constructing a deck boosts your home’s resale value. If you are looking to sell your home in the future and want to attract potential buyers, this is a smart way to recoup the material and installation costs for the project. Before you decide which one to build, consider how long you intend to live in your home.
As a trusted remodeling company in the area, The Deck Store is here to help you create an ideal deck or patio design that is beautiful and structurally sound, and will last for years to come. Give us a call today at (701) 248-7655, or fill out our contact form to request a free estimate. Let us find the right solution for your needs.