For many homeowners these days, an outdoor space with a surface free from the ground is a necessary component to achieve their desire for outdoor living at home. Patios and decks can fill this need provided they are properly planned. Like any home improvement project, they require careful consideration to prevent the sort of headaches that ill conceived efforts often bring. Selecting a plan and determining how to carry it through will be the hallmarks for success in such a venture. Failure to make the right choices can result in spaces that are left unused and unwanted. What began in hope ends up in despair, and the homeowner will be left with a negative that detracts from the property’s overall worth.
Be aware of what local building codes allow you to build. Assess the terrain to determine what is possible. Ask yourself what you want from such a space, and determine how much you are willing to spend.
Decks are generally the more affordable option of the two. A frame of some sort holds them up off the ground requiring less need for site preparation. Patios are set directly on the earth’s surface so consideration must be given to insure that it remains completely stable for an extended period of time.
While one may naturally think of wood when it comes to decking, concrete can be a better option for many reasons. It is easier and cheaper to work with. It is far more durable than wood which is subject to rot and must be protected with sealants and finishes that have to be periodically renewed. At regular intervals, wood decks should be sanded down to the bare lumber and then refinished as if new.
In certain areas, however, such as California where decks and patios are particularly popular, frequent earthquakes can cause concrete to crack. Concrete is also extremely heavy. If the deck or patio is built adjacent to a steep slope, it can be subject to slippage and breakage. Wood decks will be more resilient in these instances.
Use and Location Determine Choices
The amount of use your outdoor space will garner can be the decisive factor in selecting whether to build a patio or deck. While decks can be strengthened enough to carry considerable weight, doing so adds to the effort required in construction and may adversely affect the look achieved. If large crowds will be mingling upon it, a patio will be the better choice to carry the load.
On the other hand, decks do not absorb heat the way patios can because air can circulate underneath limiting the build up that can make a patio unpleasant to walk on.
Terrain that is rough or sloping in nature calls for a deck. Otherwise excavation will have to be done to make sure that the patio surface is level and stays that way. Whichever way you decide to go, consider how rain water will run off the surface to keep the structure safe over the long haul.