Types of Patios and Decks

November 15, 2018

When designing a custom home, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the interior details. It’s important not to forget about the exterior additions like porches, patios, decks, and other outdoor living spaces as these can have a big effect on how you enjoy living in your custom home once it’s built. Whether you want a patio, a deck, or both, you’ll have to consider the materials used to build them. Here are some common types of patios and decks to choose from:

2 Common Types of Patios

A patio is an outdoor living space that is adjoined to a house. Traditional patios are uncovered, but for homeowners who want some protection from rain and sun, there are roofed structures available to provide some cover. They are usually poured concrete, but several materials can be used to create a patio. Material, placement, and more are just a few things to consider for your backyard patio design. These are some common types of patios:

1. Flagstone Patio

Flagstone is formed by a lengthy accumulation process where sand, clay, organic, and mineral sediments slowly and gradually layer to create a heavy stone. They come in a few different colors with some regional varieties. The colors most commonly available are buff, blue, and red. The most popular regional varieties tend to be Pennsylvania bluestone and Arizona sandstone. Each gives a slightly different look and requires different levels of maintenance.

Although quarried flagstones are heavy, and a little difficult to work with at times, they create an unmistakable and gorgeous patio. Flagstones are irregularly shaped and vary in size. So, once they are placed and sealed, they give the patio a puzzle-like dynamic look with an earthy, natural appearance. Between sandstone and bluestone, bluestone is more durable.

With any flagstone patio, it’s important that the design takes proper water drainage into account as flagstone is susceptible to erosion and splitting. Proper sealing upon installation and water drainage go a long way in helping to protect and maintain a flagstone patio.

2. Concrete Patio

Concrete is another popular material for patio construction. Concrete, in general, is a durable material for patios that is also easy to maintain. It is susceptible to cracking over time due to wintertime freeze-thaw cycles. As with flagstone patios, proper water drainage goes a long way in protecting your patio from this type of damage.

When it comes to types of patios, there are often two categories of concrete used – standard concrete and stamped concrete. Both are a good way to get a durable patio and to incorporate concrete into your custom home design.

Standard Concrete

Sometimes the patio foundation is a concrete slab and sometimes it’s built using concrete pavers. Concrete pavers offer flexibility in patio design because they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Plus, concrete pavers tend to retain their color longer than some other types of pavers and they can be manufactured to look like clay brick or natural stone.

Stamped Concrete

Another option with a concrete patio is stamped concrete, which opens up opportunities for intricate and interesting designs that are built-in to your patio. Stamped concrete has patterns etched into it. This expands the options available and allows for a multitude of designs, including a natural stone, brick, or concrete paver look.

3 Common Types of Decks

A deck is another type of outdoor living space that can enhance the overall experience of living in your custom home. Whether your deck is a comfortable sitting area, a place for a grill, or something else entirely, it can be a great addition to your custom home design.

Traditional decks are usually made of wood, but vinyl and composite are commonly used in the construction of modern decks. These are three common types of decks:

1. Wood Deck

For a long time, cedar and redwood were the options you had to choose from when you decided on wood for your deck material. Now, there are more options, including more tropical hardwoods like mahogany and ipe. If you’re going with a pressure-treated wood, it’s usually fir with anti-rot and insecticide treatments to provide more protection and durability.

However, pressure-treated wood is not highly recommended for modern decks. They are prone to twisting and are treated to be buried or set against concrete; they are not built for constant sun exposure, which is common with an all-wood deck. Although pressure-treated wood can last for decades when it is installed in the appropriate situation and maintained properly, you should plan to refinish it with a sealer or a stain every other year to keep it maintained.

Cedar offers a beautiful finish, lasts a couple of decades, and requires refinishing every year. Although redwood used to be one of the most popular decking materials, it’s now only available on the west coast. It lasts a couple of decades with regular maintenance. Ipe is a South American hardwood that is durable and naturally resistant to rot. It can last a few decades with proper maintenance and must be sealed every single year. Mahogany is another durable wood that can last a few decades with regular maintenance. It also needs to be stained and sealed every year.

2. Vinyl Deck

Vinyl decks, also called PVC decks, are popular and come highly recommended because they are more durable than traditional wood and are virtually maintenance-free. They are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and have no wood content, which means they are not susceptible to rot. A wide variety of color options are available and maintenance is a breeze. Your vinyl deck will only require a spray-down as needed to continue looking like new.

3. Composite Deck

Composite decks are like a combination of traditional wood and modern vinyl decks. They are often made of wood fibers that have been combined with recycled polyethylene to create the texture of real wood with the durability and low-maintenance of vinyl. Composite decking is available in a variety of colors and provides a lot of flexibility with design.

In the past, it was extremely important to carefully maintain composite decking to prevent mold from forming in the wood content. Thankfully, mold is more a problem of the past than the present. Modern composite boards are made with a composite core and a vinyl or PVC cap stock that wraps around the entire board, which practically eliminates concerns about mold. As for maintenance, a good cleaning with a deck wash every three to four years is sufficient to keep your composite deck clean and looking like new.

There are many types of patios and decks to choose from. Whether you decide on a patio, a deck, or both for your custom home design, your custom builder can help walk you through the options for materials to give you the look, and level of maintenance, you want. If you’re ready to start making your dream home a reality, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090!