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Last Updated on June 26, 2023
Patios and decks often get confused, but they are completely different outdoor living spaces. They both serve important functions and if you’re trying to decide whether to build a patio or a deck, it’s helpful to understand the differences and the pros and cons of each one. Discover how to choose the right outdoor solution for your home by learning more about the differences between patios and decks.
Patios and Decks: Differences and Similarities
Patios and decks are alike in many ways, but they also have some important differences.
Patios and decks are outdoor living spaces that can be used for family gatherings and entertaining guests, and both of them can help you maximize the space in your backyard. Patios and decks can be constructed from many different types of materials, and you have many options with each of them when it comes to construction. You can make both of them multiple levels or use built-in features for seating and planters.
The main difference between a patio and a deck is that a patio is constructed at ground level, and a deck is raised. Patios are typically made of concrete, stone, or brick, and decks are usually made of wood or composites. Patios tend to be less expensive than decks and can be easier to maintain.
Factors to Consider When Constructing Patios and Decks
It can be a bit like comparing apples and oranges when comparing the costs of decks and patios. To gain a better understanding of the differences between patios and decks, learn about the most important factors to consider when building them.
Here are the most important factors to consider when building patios and decks.
Most people use patios and decks for dining or relaxing and entertaining guests, so they are often placed on the side of the house next to the kitchen or living room. They can also be constructed near a master bedroom for a private hot tub retreat. Sometimes, patios are constructed away from the house under a pergola or near another outdoor structure, like an outdoor kitchen.
DIY or Hire a Professional
Generally speaking, patios are easier to install than decks, and they are better suited for a DIY project. If you’re planning on adding a deck to your home, it’s usually a good choice to hire professional deck builders with the experience and expertise to handle that type of construction and ensure that you have a safe, high-quality deck that adds value to your home.
Since decks are attached to your home, and the materials cost more, hiring a professional can save you money and help protect warranties and insurance policies on your home. Another reason to hire a professional deck builder is that they can advise you about building codes and help you navigate the permit process.
The cost to install decks and patios varies considerably with the type of material you choose. Patios cost between $7 and $35 per square foot, and decks cost between $20 and $50 per square foot.
Size and Shape
Patios and decks can be a variety of shapes, although rectangular or linear designs are the most common. Curved lines cost more, but the aesthetics can be worth the extra money you spend. Typically, decks should be about 20% of the size of your house. Patios can be smaller. The recommended size of a dining patio is about 25 square feet per person.
Time Needed for Construction
Depending on where you live and the type of patio you are building, you may not need a permit, whereas decks almost always require one. Obtaining a permit can be a lengthy process, starting with detailed deck plans, and you can’t start building until it’s approved. Another thing to consider when installing decks and patios is how much preparation and groundwork is involved.
Comparing Patios vs. Decks
There are many factors to consider when you look at the pros and cons of patios vs. decks, but here are the most significant considerations.
|Factor to consider
|Patios are less expensive to install than decks.
|Decks have a higher return on investment than patios.
|When installed properly, patios are usually easier to maintain than decks.
|Some types of deck materials, such as composites, are very low-maintenance.
|Patios are often more private than decks.
|Decks offer better views than patios.
|Patios can last 25 to 30 years with proper care and maintenance.
|The lifespan of decks are comparable to patios, but it depends on the materials used.
|Patios require a flat area.
|Decks can be installed on steep hillsides.
|Patios are DIY-friendly.
|Decks require railings and steps, which add to the overall cost.
Final Word on Patios vs. Decks
Both decks and patios are useful hardscaping features that can help you get the most out of your outdoor living space. Decks are built off the ground and can offer better views, and patios are placed at ground level to offer you privacy.