If you want an extra outdoor space, adding a deck or a patio is often the best home remodelling option due to their versatility and affordability. However, there is one difficult question associated with them: which one is right for your house?
Here, we will help you consider all of the important factors: the differences between a deck and patio, the average costs, ROI, and pros and cons of both.
Let us begin by discussing the main difference between a deck and a patio.
Patio or Deck: The Main Difference
The term “patio” and “deck” are often used interchangeably to describe an outdoor space of a house. However, there is one clear difference between the two:
- Patio refers to an outdoor space that is placed directly on the ground. Concrete is the main material used to build patios, but other materials like brick, ceramic tile, pavers, or even stone are also often used for the foundation.
- Deck, on the other hand, is not built directly on the ground but will use a support system to lift it slightly off the ground. Typically, a deck is constructed of vinyl or wood.
Another indicator to differentiate a patio from a deck—although not always—, is the railing. In general, a patio does not feature a rail, while a deck usually features some type of railing.
Patio VS Deck: Cost Comparison
Budget is often the biggest issue when it comes to home remodelling, and both a deck and patio can be significantly expensive.
In general, however, patios are less expensive than decks, but on the other hand, a deck will often be more long-lasting and will produce a better ROI. As a general rule of thumb, the average cost for building a deck is around $35 per square foot while it’s only $10-$20 per square foot for a patio, on average.
The cost, however, will vary with these main factors:
- Materials used, whether it’s concrete, vinyl, or wood
- Size of the construction
- Location and complexity, for example, whether an extra door must be made to accommodate it
- Extra features like railing, extra seating, built-in BBQ grill, and so on
Another important consideration to decide between a deck and a patio is how level the ground on which you plan to place it. For an uneven ground, installing a patio can be significantly more expensive since you’ll need to build a level foundation (that can double or triple the cost). In this case, there’s a possibility that a deck addition will be more affordable.
As mentioned above, a deck will usually provide a better ROI in a long term basis, which can provide an average ROI of 75%. Meaning, if you install a deck worth $10,000 , it will, on average worth $7,500 when you decide to sell the house. For a patio, the resale value is “only” somewhere between 30-60%.
Pros and Cons: Deck VS Patio
- A more versatile choice on uneven terrain. A deck can be installed on any type of land.
- Higher resale value. As mentioned, a wooden deck has a very good ROI, higher than most home remodelling investments.
- Very customizable, as you can paint the wooden deck with any color or special finishes. You can easily mix and match the deck with the overall exterior design of your house.
- Better in a warmer climate, as the wooden material can naturally absorb heat.
- You can adjust the height of the support system which can provide a better view. This can increase your home’s overall value.
- More expensive initial investment compared to a patio installation.
- In general, a deck will require more maintenance like power washing, and resealing after every couple of years.
- More vulnerable to water damage (which can rot the wood material), will require proper treatment and re-painting.
- The wooden material is not as strong as concrete, so it might not be able to hold heavy additions like an outdoor kitchen
- Depending on your location, you might need a permit to build a deck. This might mean additional costs.
- Less expensive initial investment, which can be just half of the cost to build a deck.
- Easier overall maintenance since concrete, pavers, and stone are very durable and water-resistant
- Lower to the ground, so is generally a better choice for privacy purposes
- In general, you won’t need a permit to install a patio
- Longer lifespan without much maintenance, can last up to 25 years
- As mentioned above, patio is generally a more expensive installation for an uneven terrain
- More risks for cracking due to heat and/or if the soil underneath is not properly prepared.
- Slippery during colder season, increased risks of falling
- More vulnerable to stains, and can be difficult to clean
- In general, it will take longer to install a patio.
Costs and ROI are probably our main considerations when deciding between a patio or a deck. However, there are several other considerations you can take, such as:
- Your purpose. A patio is generally a more versatile choice if you want to add extra equipment like an outdoor kitchen or a bathtub, since they are generally stronger.
- If you want to incorporate landscapes, it’s easier to surround a patio with flowers and trees. If you have a pool, it’s also easier to incorporate a patio with it.
- You can place a patio further away from the main house due to its foundation structure. If you want to create a space separate from the house, this can be a good application.
- A deck can be built higher off the ground for a wider visual range. So,it’s generally a better option for viewing purposes.
- For unlevel terrain, a deck is usually a more cost-efficient and better overall option.