How to Decide if a Deck or Patio is Better for Your Home

December 17, 2015

Adding a deck or patio onto your custom home is a great way to extend your living space to the outdoors. Both of these options are similar, but it can be tricky knowing which is best for your needs. Here are some ways to help you decide if a deck or patio is better for your home:

1. Consider the View You Want

Decks Are Often Elevated

A deck is an elevated platform that extends from the house; however, you can build a freestanding deck, too. Typically, decks do not have a roof, but the roof can extend over them or other coverings can be added if desired. Built to maximize views, decks can offer a raised view that a patio simply cannot.

Patios Are Typically Ground-Level

A patio is typically a concrete or brick-paved area and is flush with the ground. Like a deck, they can be either attached to your home or detached. Patios are usually designed with the surrounding landscape in mind and create a nice outdoor living space. These spaces are great for dining, fire pits, or surrounding a pool.

2. Think About the Terrain of Your Lot

Decks Tend to be a Better Fit For Uneven Terrain

Decks are also the best option if you’re building on uneven terrain. Since they are raised off of the ground, the ground doesn’t need to be as level as it would need to be for a patio. This can make them a great option for sloped lots.

Patios Tend to be a Better Fit For Level Lots

While decks are a good fit for both uneven and level terrain, patios tend to be a better fit for level ground. Because they are built to be ground-level, uneven terrain can be an obstacle for constructing them. Depending on the slope of your lot and your custom home design, a patio could work well. But, in some cases, a deck may make more sense for an outdoor living space.

3. Consider How Much Space You Want

Decks Can be More Versatile on Space

Decks offer more versatility design-wise. With a deck, you can build a few levels to offer you the most space. Or, if you have a deck built off of your second story, or if you have a lot of space underneath, you can even utilize that space as another outdoor living space. Keep in mind you’ll need safety railings in place, especially if your deck is high off the ground.

Patios Typically Don’t Take Advantage of Vertical Space

Although patios can be built to have levels, they are generally more like a stepped or slightly elevated area and not to the extent that decks can offer. Because of this, they generally don’t take advantage of vertical space and can be less versatile on space than a deck.

4. Think About What You Want in an Outdoor Space

Decks Tend to Handle Less Weight

Because they tend to be elevated or have levels, a deck tends to handle less weight. Although a deck can be constructed to handle the weight of a hot tub or an outdoor kitchen, these options usually require special consideration during construction to be able to support these things.

Patios Tend to Handle More Weight

A patio is a great option if you’re looking for a space to keep a hot tub or build in an outdoor kitchen. Due to their weight, a deck might not be suitable to support a hot tub, unless it has been constructed specifically to do so.

But, because patios are on ground level, they are the perfect place to put a hot tub. This is one of the hot tub considerations and other considerations you’ll need to make for sturdy, heavy additions like this.

5. Consider Material and Maintenance

Decks Are Commonly Wood or Vinyl

They are typically made of wood, like cedar, composite wood material, or vinyl. If you opt for wood, your deck will require some maintenance. Wood is more prone to weathering and you will need to treat the wood to prevent rot. A wood deck also requires regular cleaning and staining as well as resealing every few years.

On the other hand, a vinyl deck is virtually maintenance-free. Vinyl is impervious to rot, weathering, pests, etc., and only requires cleaning every now and then to stay looking great. Plus, it can be manufactured to resemble wood grain to give you the look of wood without all the maintenance that goes with it.

Patios Are Commonly Concrete or Pavers

Patios are commonly a concrete pad, stamped concrete, or constructed with pavers. They tend to require much less maintenance than wood decks, but would be considered on par with the maintenance of vinyl decks. Like vinyl decks, patios tend to require simple maintenance such as sweeping or cleaning.

6. Think About How Much Privacy You Want

Everyone Can See Your Deck

Because they are elevated and offer views, decks often also mean everyone can see your deck. This may not be a concern for a large lot, a tree-covered lot, or land outside of a developed neighborhood. But, if your lot is relatively close to your neighbors’ lots, you may not have a lot of privacy while out on your deck.

Patios Have More Options For Privacy

Usually, if you’re looking for more privacy, patios are a better choice than decks. Patios tend to have more options for privacy. You can build yours close to your home, consider extending the roof or adding a pergola, and adding a fence or other things to add privacy to your backyard to get the level of privacy you prefer.

7. Consider How Much of Your Budget You Want to Use For an Outdoor Space

When it comes to your custom home design, you will likely want to consider how much of your budget you want to use for an outdoor space. Depending on materials, size, upgrades, and more, each option will vary.

Generally, patios cost less than a deck. Concrete or stone can cost less than wood or wood composite material. Decks usually require more labor and patios usually require less labor, so that also goes into the overall cost.

Adding a deck or patio is a great way to enjoy outdoor living. It will add extra space for entertaining and will be wonderful for your family. If you’re ready to get started designing and building your own custom home, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090. We’ll help bring your dream home to life!