As of early 2022, the patio and decking industry in the US was worth $1.1 billion. It’s clearly a popular feature, and if you have the space, a patio or deck can transform your backyard. Both practical and aesthetic, it’ll provide the perfect hub for enjoying the outdoors. But when it comes to wood decking or a concrete patio, it can be difficult to make a choice.
That’s where we can help! Read on for our guide on the differences between a wood deck vs concrete patio options.
Look at the landscape of your outdoor space and ask if it is smooth and flat or hilly and uneven. A patio uses concrete that you pour in place or pavers that you lay down next to each other. It’s perfect for flatter terrain as it’s going to rest right on top of the ground.
Often a wood deck will be a raised platform that sits at least a few inches off the ground. It can be much higher, with joists and pillars holding it up. Because of this, it makes them better suited for rougher, uneven terrain.
One of the main considerations for a raised platform like a wood deck is how much weight it can hold. Many states will need you to get a permit before you can build a deck, especially if it’s attached to your home.
As part of this, you will need to tell officials what you will use your deck for and what furniture will be on it. Everything you wish to do on your deck will need to fit inside the weight limits imposed upon it.
If you want to use heavy items like pizza ovens or an outdoor fireplace, these are better on patios. There is no fear of them being too heavy and causing damage. In most cases, you won’t need planning permission to lay a patio either, which is another bonus.
Both wood deck cost and concrete patio cost depend on the materials and how much labor you’ll need. Decks made using tropical hardwoods and other high-end wood could be $30+ per square foot. For cheaper, pressure-treated wood, it might be no more than $18 per square foot.
A concrete patio tends to be more cost-effective. But this depends on the size, design, and decorative options you want. Stamped concrete is around $10 per square foot at the basic end and $20 for high-end patterned designs. Whatever you chose, make sure you’ve budgeted your project beforehand.
If you’re adding a patio to your forever home, you’ll want to enjoy it for a long while. With a concrete patio, you can, in general, expect it to last 30 years at least. This will last you longer than most natural wood decks will.
If you go for a composite wood deck though, the lifespan matches closer to concrete. If you’re set on natural wood, then your routine maintenance is essential. Natural wood decks are susceptible to weather and wear and tear, so looking after them will extend their life.
The first priority for most homeowners is how the deck or patio will look at the end. Each material will offer its own pros as well as cons.
It’s important to note at this point that looks aren’t everything. Consider it, but don’t neglect the other considerations on this list if you want to get the best results.
You can stain or paint wood decks in any color you want and it’s easy to change color if you want to. After all, you’ll need to repaint or restain it on a regular schedule.
You can create beautiful herringbone or chevron designs, giving it a truly unique feel. But the limitation is that you’re constrained to either rectangular or square shapes.
You can form poured-in-place concrete into almost any shape you want. This lets you make circles, curves and swirls, as well as create a perfect seal against in-ground pools.
There are also a lot of color options you can choose from too. The only issue here is the color will often be permanent and you won’t be able to change it easily.
You can stamp it to look like other materials like stone, brick, and wood. By engraving it, you can also make patterns and designs that will make your patio stand out from the crowd.
This versatility extends to concrete pavers too. You can get them in a large variety of colors and shapes. Their individual nature also allows you to make striking, intricate patterns.
While both a patio and deck will add functional space (and value) to your home, they need looking after. Your choice of material determines how much time, money, and effort looking after it will take.
Wood decks will need the most maintenance. Not only will you need to preserve their natural beauty, but also their structure too. At least every 1-2 years, you will need to power wash your deck and restain it too. You will also have to fix for warping, water damage, splintering, and loose nails.
You will only need to occasionally wash and reseal your concrete patio to keep it looking like new. If you choose pavers though, you may also need to keep the joints filled with gravel and sand.
Unlike wood, if you color your concrete, it’s more likely to hold that color through the years. This removes the need to restain or repaint every year or two.
A Deck vs Concrete Patio Options: Know What You’re Getting
When you’re choosing between a deck vs concrete patio options, think about the layout of your yard. You also want to think about what you’ll use this space for.
There is a weight limit for decks which makes them not suitable for larger, heavier items. But they will excel in sloped, hilly landscapes letting you make the most of that space. A concrete patio will excel in flat areas for a smooth, seamless finish and can cope with heavy items fine.
If you find this article helpful, check out our other blog posts. We have home and real estate tips to help you make the most of your property.