Deck versus Patio: What You need to Know

Patio or deck, what’s the difference, you might ask? We’ll there is a difference between the two amenities but both share some common traits. Each will increase your home’s value and bolster its resale appeal. Both are great for the Sarasota climate and both provide a wonderful space for relaxing and entertaining. In fact, many homeowners consider their decks and patios to be extensions of their house, and can serve as a dining area, as well as a kitchen. Another similarity is both are sturdy but do require periodic maintenance (for instance, resurfacing a concrete patio or having to refinish a stained wood deck).

Patio or Deck: What’s the Difference?

Okay, so what’s the difference between a deck and patio and why does it matter? Well, you might believe one is inherently more costly than the other, but that’s simply not the case. You can customize a wood deckjust as you can customize a patio. And, it’s not uncommon to use the terms interchangeably. The difference between a deck and a patio doesn’t have to do with the construction materials, it has to do with the placement. A deck is typically raised off the ground, while a patio is built directly on the ground.

If you’re a homeowner with nothing special outside your back door, you’ve probably felt the pang of patio or deck envy. You go to a friend’s house, and he has an incredible layout in his backyard. Someone is grilling, and friends and family are lounging in comfortable chairs on the patio. Everyone’s laughing and having fun, and you remember your own place and think: I want this. So how much does a patio or deck cost? And what should you know before building one? —U.S. News and World Report

Patios generally extend from the exterior of homes or are built onto other construction features in yards. Decks also generally extend from the exterior of homes or are built elsewhere in yards, but are raised, hence the term, “floating deck.” Patios are usually constructed of concrete, pavers, stone, tile, or brick. Decks, however, are generally built out of wood, vinyl, or composite materials.  Also, decks are usually equipped with a railing system and are built on a support system.

Deck versus Patio: What You need to Know

As far as costs go, there’s really no hard and fast rule about which is more or less expensive. Each can be as expensive or inexpensive as desired — it depends on the material, size, customization, labor, and other factors. But, there’s more you need to know about a deck versus a patio. If you like the idea of installing both but just can’t decide which is the better choice, you’re certainly not alone. Here are some considerations to think about to make the right decision:

  • What will be the primary use? Most likely, the primary use will be a place to relax and entertain. But, if you have a pool, it’s probably better to install a patio because it won’t splinter (unless you build a deck of vinyl or composite). Just remember, a deck is built off the ground and that will play a big part in your ultimate decision.
  • How will you tie it into your house? Regardless of which you choose, understand it simply must tie or “match” your home, appearing as an intended extension. If it looks out-of-place, it won’t bring value to your home and could be a serious objection come resale time.
  • How will you fit it into your landscape? Just as a patio or deck must tie into your home’s exterior and overall theme, it should also be a good fit for your landscape, as well. If you have a wood gazebo, then a wood or composite deck will be a good candidate but if you have a rock garden, a patio will probably fit better.
  • Are you planning to add-on to it? This is an important question because some homeowners have a grand vision for the finished product. Meaning, starting with a basic build and embellishing it a few times to make it into an envious amenity. In general, if you want to add-on to it, a deck will be a better choice because it could be difficult to find the same or matching materials for a patio.
  • What’s the grade in your yard? This will be a huge factor because it will greatly influence the price, pushing it up or allowing you to save money. If you have a flat yard (as most do in Sarasota), then a patio or deck won’t be all that much different in price. However, if you have a sloped yard, a deck will be a less expensive choice because you won’t need all the specialty grading and building a patio would require.

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