Deck vs Patio: Pros and Cons of Each

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 1:29:00 PM Categories: Decking Hard Landscaping Home Improvement Tips Home Renovation Outdoor Living Patio Design

In this article, you'll learn

  • The differences between a patio and a deck.
  • The costs associated with each option and the potential ROI of adding either to your home.
  • Which option is best for you based on your home and unique needs.
  • How Great Day Improvements can access your space and determine if a deck is right for you.

wood deck with pergolaIf your house is in dire need of some outdoor space, adding a patio or deck can increase your square foot without robbing your children of their college educations. Each option offers an area to gather with friends and family, grill out, and relax under the sun (or stars); the option you choose will likely depend on your budget, space and needs. In this article we’ll take a look at the benefits of both patios and decks so your hardest decision will be where to place the grill.

Patio or Deck: What's the Difference?

Oftentimes homeowners use these terms interchangeably, but there are differences between the two. A patio refers to an outdoor space placed directly on the ground. This area may be connected to the house or constructed in a separate part of the yard. Patios often have concrete bases, but some homeowners use stone, tile, pavers, brick or other materials to create the foundation. In most cases patios do not have a rail; they may or may not be covered. Today’s patios might feature party goodies like fire pits, built in barbecues, and sitting areas, making them the perfect relaxation or socialization space.

Decks, on the other hand, are typically constructed of wood or vinyl. Though they can be built near the ground, they are not placed directly on the ground and feature some type of support system to hold up the addition. Decks may be built off of the lower floor of a home, such as the living room or kitchen, or they might be added to an upper level room or even on a rooftop setting. Decks are typically enclosed with some type of railing and often offer the homeowner excellent views of their surroundings.  

Patio vs. Deck: A Cost Comparison

As with all renovation projects, your budget will likely impact your choice, and the range for a deck or patio addition project can be large. For instance, Remodeling Magazine’s Cost Value Report in 2013 states the average cost of a midrange deck addition project runs around $15,000 for a composite deck and $9,327 for wood. While This Old House averages a new deck to be just shy of $6,000. A new patio might cost the homeowner a third of that lower-end price. Additionally, according to this article from HouseLogic, a free source from the National Association of Realtors™, decks run around $33 per square foot while a patio might cost as low as $15 per square foot. In short, patios are usually cheaper than decks. The cost of the project will depend upon a variety of factors though. These include:

  • patio paversMaterials used (concrete, vinyl, wood)
  • Location of the addition (on the ground without supports, above ground, on the house with a door already leading out or in an area in which a door addition must be made)
  • Size of the addition
  • Features, such as a built in barbecue, railings, seating, supports

Another consideration to factor into the addition equation is the slope of the yard on which you plan to place the patio or deck. For instance, since a patio is placed directly on the ground, you’ll want to choose a space that is level. Patios may not be the best choice for uneven ground because the cost to create a level foundation can double or triple the cost of the actual addition.  

Return on Investment (ROI)?

Aside from the initial cost to construct a patio, you should consider your return on investment (ROI) if, in the future, you plan to sell. Renovations done to the outside of the home, such as decks and patios, often offer a good ROI, because most homeowners want to have some type of outdoor living space.

The average return on investment for a new deck addition runs around 75%; on a patio, HouseLogic notes the ROI averages somewhere between 30-60%. What does this mean for you? Remodeling Magazine shows that a new wooden deck in the midrange project category will average $9,327; the resale value places that deck at $7,213. In this case, the homeowner would recoup around 77.3% of what was paid. If adding a $3,000 patio to a home, a homeowner might expect to get back about $1,500 of the cost of the project when selling the home.

Which Is Best For Your Needs?

composite deckingAside from cost, you’ll want to determine which outdoor addition works best for the purpose for which you hope to use it. Do you want to incorporate the landscaping into the overall design? If so, a patio might work best, as it can be surrounded by trees, shrubs and flowers. Do you want the area to be considered a space separate from the main house? Again, a patio works best here because the foundation can be placed away from the house. Patios also work well for homeowners who have in ground pools and want a space around the area in which to gather, cook out, or relax.

Homeowners interested in spotlighting a view might opt for a deck, since they can be built off of the ground and offer a wider visual range. Decks also work well for those with yards that are not level or that are built on a hill, since the supports can be cut to any height. Also, since decks must have stairs if the homeowner is interested in getting to the yard from the addition, those who want to keep the entertaining on the porch rather than in the yard may opt for this type of addition.

Whichever way you choose to go, both decks and patios offer a positive ROI and unlimited possibilities for entertaining, socializing, or simply relaxing in an outdoor space. Contact Great Day Improvements today to see how we can extend your living space through the addition of a deck or patio, and start living your life outside, too!

Ready to get started? Schedule a free, in-home design consultation with one of our patio or deck experts today!

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