Deck vs Patio

What's the difference?

May 17, 2019

The addition of outdoor entertaining space is a wonderful asset to any home. One of the biggest questions many homeowners have is whether to construct a deck or a patio. Knowing the difference between the two, along with which one works best in each situation, is the first step of the process. We’ve taken the time to provide a quick overview to help make an informed decision.

elevated deck with tables and chairs

Decks are often placed just outside an exterior door to the home.


Size and Location:
  • Able to be installed on any type of terrain, even hills
  • Can be attached to home or freestanding
  • Size limited by ability to provide proper support
Available Materials:
  • Pressure-treated wood
  • Composite decking boards
  • PVC decking boards
  • High end, composite materials require minimal cleaning
  • Wood needs to be stained/waterproofed every few years
  • Mold growth on wood may need to be pressure washed
  • Original build typically lasts 10 - 15 years
Cost (for a 10’ x 16’ Structure):
  • Materials: $1,600 - $4,800 ($10 - $30/square foot)
  • Labor: $1,600 - $3,200 ($10 - $20/square foot)
  • Total: $3,200 - $8,000
Return on Investment (ROI):
  • 60 - 87% ROI
  • One of the highest ROIs for any home renovation
  • Can be built on uneven surfaces
  • Expensive BUT higher return on investment
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Easily customizable
stone patio with a table and chairs

Patios require level ground for installation.


Size and Location:
  • Sits directly on the ground
  • Land must be level and graded before installation
  • No structural-integrity size restrictions
Available Materials:
  • Brick
  • Concrete
  • Stamped Concrete
  • Gravel
  • Pavers
  • Tile
  • Flagstone
  • Cut Stone
  • Most materials only require occasional cleaning
  • Cracking may occur over time if ground isn’t completely even
  • Typically lasts 25+ years
Cost (for a 10’ x 16’ Structure):
  • Materials: $480 - $4,000 ($3 - $25/square foot)
  • Labor: $1,600 - $4,000 ($10 - $25/square foot)
  • Total: $2,080 - $8,000
Return on Investment (ROI):
  • < 50%
  • Most ROI comes from personal enjoyment, not resale value
  • Only works on even surfaces
  • Less expensive than a deck
  • Doesn’t require much maintenance
  • Long lifespan

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