Deck vs. Patio: What’s the Difference and Which One is Right for You?

deck vs patio

Two worthy outdoor opponents. One difficult question: deck or patio?

If you’re going to invest in an outdoor space, you want to carefully consider all of the factors. Learn the difference between a deck and patio, then use the deck vs. patio pros and cons charts below to help you decide.

The difference between a deck and patio

A deck is an open outdoor porch or platform without a roof that extends from a house. On the other hand, a patio is a paved area situated directly on the ground, which can either be attached or detached from a house.

Now that you know the difference between a patio and deck, use the charts below to help you decide which one is right for you.

Pros and cons of a deck

Pros of a deckCons of a deck
Higher resale value

There’s an 87% return on investment for a wooden deck on average, higher than all indoor home renovations.

More maintenance

Depending on the material, decks need to be power washed, stained and sealed every couple of years.

Works well on uneven terrain

Decks can be installed on any type of land, even if your yard is not level.

Shorter lifespan

Wood is more susceptible to weather and can rot over time, as well as fade and become discolored if not properly treated.

Good for a view

Since a deck can be built off the ground, it serves up a better view, which can increase your home’s value.

Possible permit

Many towns and cities have different terms and may require a permit before building a deck, which may mean a fee and waiting period.

Easily customizable

A wooden deck can be painted or stained to the color or shade you desire. It can even be stained to match the exterior design of your house.

Expensive

While the price depends on the material, decks are usually more expensive, with an average cost of $30 per square foot for high-end decking material.

Comfortable in heat

If you live in a warmer climate and your home gets a lot of sunlight, wooden decks naturally absorb and retain less heat.

Weight restrictions

Consider weight when it comes to the design of your deck, specifically when you want to add a hot tub or outdoor kitchen.

Pros and cons of a patio

A patio is a paved area situated directly on the ground, which can either be attached or detached from a house.

Pros of a patioCons of a patio
Less expensive

Installing a patio flush to the ground can cost much less than a deck. At about $5 a square foot, concrete is usually the least expensive option.

Not for uneven terrain

Patios are best suited for even ground and the cost of creating a level foundation is very high.

Easy maintenance

Patios don’t require regular maintenance. While you may choose to seal your patio, it’s not necessary, since pavers and stone patios are extremely durable.

Prone to cracks

There’s more risk of a patio cracking if the soil under the concrete was not properly prepared. Cracking is also more likely in areas of extreme temperatures.

More privacy

Patios are lower to the ground and have more flexibility in design and landscaping to provide privacy.

Slipping risk

In colder areas, ice can easily form on a patio’s surface and raise the risk of falling.

Long lifespan

A quality patio can last more than 25 years and maintain its value without much upkeep.

Susceptible to stains

Once a patio’s surface is stained with food, drink or natural stains such as leaves, it’s difficult to clean.

No permits

Installing a patio doesn’t typically require a building permit or inspections.

More construction

Patios may require more intensive construction and can take longer to install, particularly in areas with a lot of ground movement and where reinforcement is necessary.

If you add a deck or patio to your home, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the necessary property coverage. Learn how a home insurance check-up can ensure your policy is up-to-date and help you stay protected.

If you’re still in renovation mode after deciding on an outdoor space, check out 10 more improvements that can add value to your home.