Decks vs. Patios

Which is right for your home?

Functionally, there is little difference between a deck and a patio. Both extend the living space of your home by creating structures that can be used for entertainment, eating or relaxing. The primary difference between the two is in the construction.

Patios are generally made of concrete or stone and rest directly on the ground. Although they are often attached to the house, it is not a hard and fast rule. Decks are made from wood or plastic and rest on supports off the ground. Decks are generally attached to the house and typically have a railing system to enclose them.

The other area where patios and decks differ is in cost. Although there is a huge price range for both projects depending on the material used, the size of the project and features. Because concrete is generally less expensive than wood or composite, patios tend to be cheaper to build. According to houselogic, patio costs will average about half of what a deck would.

Advantages of a patio

In addition to the initial costs being less, patios work well with swimming pools and intricate landscaping. Your patio can be surrounded by trees and shrubs while still giving you space for outdoor relaxation and entertainment. It is difficult to change or modernize patios, however, since you are usually dealing with a concrete slab.

The return on investment (ROI) of a patio generally runs lower than a deck but is still high enough to make it a cost-effective option for expanding living space into the outdoors.

Advantages of a deck

Since decks are generally attached to the house and higher than the existing ground, they are an effective way of showcasing a view. Decks are also more effective if you have built on hilly or uneven property as the supports lift it off the ground.

Proper care and treatment of wooden decks can make them last for decades and the ROI for decks is higher than for patios. Although they will cost more initially, if you sell your home, you will make more money because it has a deck than if it has a patio.

Ponderable thoughts

If your interests run to landscaping and plants, a patio can be more convenient than a deck. You can plant up to the edge of the patio without concern over blocking your view or harming the wood. Trees planted near patios, however, can damage the concrete slab when their roots become bigger.

Decks are generally railed. Although wooden rails have been used for years, a new generation of designers have been creating striking and durable railings using cable that combine functionality with modern style that is striking. The cable railing blog post from has a complete write up of the advantages of cable railing.


There is no reason why you cannot combine decks and patios to give your home even more usable outdoor space. Although more expensive than either option individually, the combination patio and deck can be a striking addition to your home.

Before beginning either project, however, you should consult with a reputable contractor for what you will need, how much the project should cost and if you need any specific features due to weather in your area or local construction codes. Any project that will cost you in the thousands of dollars should be approached with your eyes open and looking for ways to minimize the expenses while maximizing the enjoyment and return on investment.