Which is cheaper: A Deck or a Patio?
Decks and patios are the most common ways homeowners spruce up their outdoor spaces. They are ideal spaces to hang out, host, barbecue, and socialize and can also improve the value of your home.
Unfortunately, installing either a deck or patio can also be costly. Usually, homeowners use these terms interchangeably, but there are differences between the two and varying costs.
Decks are elevated structures typically made of wood, while patios are flush with the ground and made from concrete. Patios are usually cheaper to construct, but decks have a better investment return.
We will give you a comprehensive guide on the cost of wooden decks and concrete patios to help you decide which of the two is more cost-efficient for your outdoor project.
Definition: deck vs. patio
Although both decks and patios are outdoor structures, they have major differences. They vary in construction, material, cost, maintenance, sustainability, etc.
A deck is a raised outdoor structure typically attached to your house and made of wood, lumber, composite, PVC, or vinyl. Since decks are not flat on the ground, they also have a support system to hold them up. For example, building a deck around a pool will still be above ground level, even if it’s just by a few inches. Sometimes, decks also have a railing around them, especially if they are way high.
You can also have decks on uneven areas since they do not lay flush on the ground.
A patio is an outdoor sitting area on ground level and is often made of concrete, bricks, stone, or gravel to make the foundation. Patios often do not have a railing, and they may or may not be covered. Modern patios have added features such as fire pits, sitting areas, and built-in barbecues.
A ground-level deck or patio is best installed in areas with relatively flat terrain because they are installed directly on the ground.
Cost comparison: deck vs. patio
The total cost of constructing the deck and patio mainly depends on the size of the structure, materials, location, type of terrain, and labor costs. But in general, it is easier and cheaper to build and install a patio.
How much does it cost to install a deck?
Building a deck costs about $4,000 to $11,300, with an average cost of $7,000 and about $35 per square foot to install. Labor costs for a deck are higher due to the concrete pouring needed for the supports and the use for specialized tools. High-end decking material costs about $35, but you can also get some for as low as $3 per square foot.
Since a deck is higher off the ground, it will need additional features for safety, such as railing and stairs. The average cost to add stairs to your deck is about $150 but will vary depending on the number of steps. The cost of the railing depends on height and materials. On average, it costs about $20 per linear foot for three sides, and higher-end materials can cost as much as $36 per linear foot.
How much does it cost to install a patio?
According to Home Advisor, concrete patios cost between $1,687 and $4,480, or an average cost of $3,200. Then installation costs between $10 and $20 per square foot. Then, patio materials cost approximately $30 to $150 per square foot.
Building a patio is a more cost-effective option depending on additional features such as decorative options, the complexity of the project, and privacy measures. Plain gray concrete is the most budget-friendly patio material, but it’s aesthetically boring. For instance, when it comes to
Additional finish designs can add paint, stencil masking, stamped concrete, stained concrete, and exposed aggregate, which will add life to your concrete without adding too much cost per square foot.
Which is the best value for money: deck vs. patio
Apart from the initial installation cost of either a patio or deck, it’s important to consider your return on investment(ROI) or value for money. So, although patios are cheaper to build, decks have a better ROI due to their higher resale value.
A deck has an average of 76% return on investment, higher than all indoor renovations. You have between 30% to 50% of ROI for a patio. As a result, you’re likely to recoup about 77.3% of the total house price when you resell your home.
What should I build when on a tight budget: deck vs. patio
If you want a budget-friendly outdoor structure, go for the patio. It uses simple materials that are cheaper yet cost-effective due to their high weather resistance. This means concrete patios are also cheaper in the long run since they require minimal maintenance and repairs.
If you don’t mind the work, you can save significantly on labor costs if you make it a DIY project. If you don’t require aesthetics, go for regular concrete as it has an average cost of $9 per square foot, while stamped concrete can cost between $12 to $15 per square foot.
You can choose to seal your concrete patio to increase its longevity and prevent cracking and corrosion, but it’s not necessary since pavers and stones are highly durable. However, since wooden decks are more vulnerable to the weather and cost more on annual repairs and maintenance, you can replace the deck with a patio to save on your annual deck repairs.
Although patios are cheaper to install and maintain, there are other factors that may increase your expenses. For instance, building a patio is likely to be quite expensive if your yard is sloping or uneven due to the necessary groundwork before installation.
In general, both decks and patios have their pros and cons. So if you’re debating between stamped concrete vs. a wooden deck, a concrete patio beats the deck when it comes to cost, materials, maintenance, and extra features.
However, a deck will give you a much better return on your investment. Your decision ultimately depends on what you think is best for your home without compromising quality and safety.