If you have a low-to-ground exit at the rear of your home, chances are that you have an old ground-level deck hovering over your rear property. Popular for decades, these decks were the norm for creating an outdoor living space. When it’s time to replace, however, you may be wondering whether a custom deck or stone patio is the best choice.
People ask us this all the time, and we explain the numerous advantages of a patio versus a ground-level deck. First off, wood does not like near-ground or in-ground contact. This encourages rot and mildew to build up. It also traps moisture that permeates through the deck surface and sits near the foundation, looking for ways to enter your basement. Patios, on the other hand, are sloped just a fraction to allow moisture to follow gravity away from your home.
Also, masonry patios are less expensive than decks in most cases, and especially in comparison to higher-end composite decks. Patios usually require no building permits and have no zoning setback restrictions, whereas all decks do. Also, patios require much less maintenance and cleaning over their lifetime when compared with ground-contact decks.
When underground utilities exist, patios have a major advantage over decks. Paver patios, in particular, make it easy to access buried utilities by digging up and repairing affected patio areas. Low-elevation decks, on the other hand, most likely need to be destroyed to repair any problems underneath. Masonry patios are also hot-tub ready–unlike a deck, these patios require no additional foundation modifications. You can just drop a hot tub wherever you want on the surface. The same goes for the ever-popular fire pits which work well with patios but not with decks.
Finally, there is the popularity factor. With the advances in masonry materials along with the reductions in price, patios have become increasingly popular over the past few years. So if you’re planning to sell down the road, you will receive a much better ROI for a well-constructed patio than a ground-contact deck (not to mention more enjoyment along the way). Choosing the right surface may take some planning, but there’s a good chance a patio will be the best choice when you consider cost, flexibility, and long-term performance.