TAMPA - Many homeowners think of their deck or patio as an outdoor living room, dining room, or even kitchen. Before you build a deck or patio, you should learn about the differences between the two. "When considering adding a deck or patio they can be a great way to extend your living space outside and extend your square footage," said Angie's List founder Angie Hicks. "But you need to decide what you are going to use it for and what kind of space you have available."
In a nutshell, a patio is a ground level surface that can be made of various materials such as concrete, pavers, stone and brick – limitless options. Decks are elevated structures attached to a home. They are commonly constructed of wood or composite materials. "When planning a deck or patio first you want to get your budget in line, then see what your options are," said Hicks. "Figure out how much square footage you're looking to add and then price it out accordingly with each different type. Keep in mind the price range can vary on installation, and you also need to consider what the lifelong maintenance is as well. For instance, a wood deck is less expensive than a composite deck to install initially, but requires more maintenance."
Tom Booker is a deck contractor. He said 80 percent of his decks are made with composite materials. "And within the composite materials there are actually three different types. There is a wood-plastic composite, there is a PVC material, and then there's a capstock or coated composite material. The coded composite is the highest performance material. That actually has a 25 year fade and stain warranty so it's really popular." He points out that he can create different spaces with the deck. "Higher spaces and lower spaces. So it can feel like separate areas. Also, we can put benches, privacy screens, and railing, so it really can flesh out the space nicely," he said.
Patio contractor Kevin Schluchter points out the easy maintenance of concrete, stone or brick patios. "Basically I tell people that the leaf blower is your best friend. Blowing off your pavers after mowing, especially if you have a side-discharge mower that would blow grass clippings across... just blowing those off your pavers to keep them fresh looking - not allowing that debris to start to accumulate in the joints. That's primarily it. They're very low maintenance."
Angie's List Tips: Deck or Patio?
Ask questions like these:
Consider maintenance issues: Both decks and patios require varying degrees of maintenance depending on the building materials. Wooden decks require periodic sealing, staining and even replacement of railings and floor planks as they age, whereas certain patios may require weeding between paving stones, filling in cracks and sealing, as in the case of concrete slabs.
An incorrectly installed patio or deck can be an unsightly blight on your landscape. That's why it's critical to choose a reputable contractor.
Angie's List Tips: Hiring a contractor for your deck or patio