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Patio or Deck? Which One is Right for You?

Are you trying to choose between a patio or a deck for your home? Depending on where you live, your budget and your needs, there are many considerations to keep in mind.

Here are a few facts and features for each:

If your property has the feel of an old English estate or country cottage, a patio may be your best aesthetic choice.  A patio can be built with intricate patterns and varying textures to accent your home and garden style—as long as you can get from your door to the ground within four steps.

A patio

  • can be beautiful and stylish, constructed from concrete, pavers, stone, tile or brick.
  • will last a long time when good quality materials are used properly.
  • blends beautifully with plants and landscaping features, using a variety of colours, shapes and textures.
  • adds significantly to your home’s resale value.

Before you start building, excavation and layering are needed to ensure proper placement, grade, and drainage.  Patios require level ground, so any type of slope will add time and cost to the project. A retaining wall may also be needed to prevent uneven settling. Consider that overall, a patio may prove more time consuming and costly to build than a deck.

If your house is in a modern subdivision, or if it features clean lines and minimal details, a deck may be ideal.

Traditionally made of wood—pressure-treated pine or weather-resistant redwood, cedar, and mahogany—today’s deck constructions also use new composites and vinyl, which are low maintenance and resistant to insects, warping and splintering. These materials can swell in hot, sunny climates, however. Decks can be built at ground level or much higher—for which you’ll need a railing.

A deck

  • can be built so you can step directly onto it from the house.
  • doesn’t require a level surface as it is supported by posts sitting on concrete piers.
  • can be multi-tiered to avoid obstructions and doesn’t require wide excavation.
  • can enhance a spectacular view and can be reinforced to hold a spa.
  • may be quick and easy to build for many homeowners, who have basic carpentry skills and the tools necessary for the project. (I’ve heard of homeowners constructing an amazing deck in a weekend, with the help of family and friends.) Voilà!  Instant outdoor entertaining.

A deck can be cheaper to build than a patio, but may require oiling, re-staining, or painting, and the structure may not last as long as a patio. A deck’s surface can also become very slippery in winter. Some of the new, low maintenance deck materials can end up costing more than wood.

Learning about materials, costs, styles and designs will require a bit of homework, but will also help you decide which is the best choice suitable for your home and lifestyle. For more information about outdoor deck construction, landscaping and materials required, find a patio and deck contractor listed in EiEiHome’s service pro directory. The right patio and deck contractor, specializing in patios and decks, can help you to enhance your home and increase it’s entertainment and resale value.

By Zoë Waller

What’s your best backyard choice – patio or deck?

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