Summer may have come to an end in Northeast Ohio, but that doesn’t mean the time you enjoy outdoors needs to just yet. Whether you are looking to relish in as many days as possible left to take in the fresh air or thinking about the endless hours you can spend gathered outside with friends and family next spring and summer, your home’s outdoor living space is likely top of mind. It doesn’t matter if you already have a space that needs a refresh or you are looking to add one, you have some decisions to make when it comes to what is best for your outdoor living space. One of the key decisions you'll need to make is whether to go with a deck or a patio when creating the perfect outdoor living space.

In this article we are going to review the differences between decks and patios and some benefits of each option. Both selections offer unique advantages and can greatly enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your outdoor area.

What’s the Difference Between a Deck and Patio?

Many people use the terms, “deck” and “patio” interchangeably, but they are actually different things.

Deck: A deck is an outdoor area that is raised and extends from a house or building. This elevated outdoor space is usually a platform-like structure constructed above the ground and supported by beams and posts.

Patio: A patio is a paved or concrete space, situated at ground level, usually adjoining the exterior of a house or building.

Both of these exterior home living areas create the home’s outdoor living space, with the main differences being that a deck is raised off the ground and typically made of wooden materials, and a patio is on the ground and generally made of some type of stone or concrete.

What’s Best for Your Outdoor Living Space: Deck or Patio?

As mentioned above, the main distinctions between a deck and a patio lies in their construction, materials used, and their location in relation to the ground. While they are both an exterior extension to your home, there are some key differences that are important to consider when deciding which one of the two is the best option for your outdoor living space. Let’s review.

  • Construction and Permits: Permits and inspections are often required when building a deck because they are attached to the home and impact its exterior structure and appearance. Due to a deck being elevated, it typically has stairs or steps leading down to the yard or other outdoor spaces. Patios are simpler to build and usually do not require permits or inspections because they sit directly on the ground and don’t affect the structure of the home (bob vila). Keep in mind, when deciding between a deck or patio, decks often have weight restrictions and limits, so if you have heaver items, like a hot tub, they may be better suited for a ground level patio.
  • Cost: The cost of decks and patios can vary depending on factors such as materials used, size, complexity of design, and labor costs. Typically, decks tend to be more expensive to build than patios due to the additional materials and construction required for their raised structure. Installing a patio can be much less expensive than a deck and, as mentioned above, often don’t require the permitting fees that a decks do. While decks may cost more upfront, they have a higher resale value than patios.
  • Materials and Maintenance: The primary materials used for deck construction are wood, and/or composite wood or vinyl. Wood is susceptible to weather and can rot over time and fade or become discolored (if not properly treated). A patio, on the other hand often is constructed with materials such as concrete, stone, brick, or pavers. Patios don’t require as much regular maintenance as a deck. Patios typically are longer lasting than natural wood decks; however, they can still be susceptible to cracks and stains which require minor upkeep. While you may choose to seal your patio, it’s not necessary, since pavers and stone patios are very durable.
  • Customization and Flexibility: Decks can be installed on any type of land, even if your space is not level, while patios are best suited for even ground. Another thing to keep in mind when deciding if a deck or patio is best for your outdoor living space is how custom you want to get. Decks are often more versatile in terms of design options, they can be built in various shapes and sizes, and their raised nature allows for features like built-in seating, planters, and also multi-level designs. Patios, although they can be designed in different configurations, generally have more limitations in terms of flexibility due to being at ground level. Patios’ concrete and/or stone construction also makes them harder to change in appearance once installed. Decks can be restained or painted to change their look.
  • Aesthetics and Functionality: When it comes to creating your dream outdoor living space the aesthetics are probably top of mind. The views from your deck or patio depend on your home’s location and surrounding environment; however, decks usually offer better views than patios, due to their elevation. While decks may provide better sights, patios are lower to the ground and are typically able to provide more privacy than decks.

While we have reviewed some of the main things to take into account when deciding what is best for your outdoor living space, you should also consider the style and size of your home, outdoor space, the main activities you want the structure to accommodate, what your budget is for the project, your local zoning laws, and what’s right for your home and family. When it comes to the decision of deck or patio, there are a lot of things to consider. Knowing the differences between the two and what characteristics and features are important to you will play a major role in your choice.

At Sanctus Builders our professionals can provide valuable guidance to help you determine the best option for your specific needs and budget. Your outdoor living space should be an extension of your home and we are here to ensure you love it just as much as the rest of your Northeast Ohio home.

From completely new covered patios, to custom fire pit builds and outdoor kitchens, and all season room additions, we are here for your outdoor living space and deck or patio remodeling projects. Contact us today to get started on your outdoor living space remodel or new addition.

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