Deck vs Patio: Which is Right For Your Outdoor Space?


When you’re spending money on upgrading your landscaping, you want to do it right. As you consider your options, you may find yourself wondering whether a deck or a patio is better for your outdoor space. Here’s what makes them different yet worthy contenders, plus pros and cons of each to help steer you in the right direction.

Decks and Patios: A Definition

The difference largely boils down to materials. A deck is an outdoor platform made of wood or engineered wood that extends from the house. A patio is a paved area that’s situated directly on the ground, made of either concrete or paving stones. Generally, patios are less expensive than decks, but decks tend to offer more return on investment, though that can be project specific.

Now, let’s run through the pros and cons of each.

Pros of Installing a Deck

  • High resale value. On average, decks have a 76% return on investment.
  • Ideal for uneven terrain. If you’re dealing with a space that isn’t level, a deck means no grading required. The platform nature means it’s simply installed above that bumpy terrain.
  • Easy to customize. Decks are built to your home, and that includes the finish. Decks can be either stained or painted depending on the look you’re after.
  • Heat absorbent. Unlike concrete and paving stones that can get fiery hot, wood absorbs and retains less heat. That can make them more comfortable when the sun is blazing.
  • Better views. Because they’re raised, decks may offer improved views.

Cons of Installing a Deck

  • Maintenance needs. Material choice will play a role here, but you can expect some maintenance requirements to keep your deck looking good. That includes power washing, sanding, staining and sealing every few years, if not annually.
  • Shorter lifespan. In our high desert climate, decks don’t tend to last as long as other materials, especially if you aren’t following a regular maintenance schedule.
  • Price point. Decks tend to be pricey, so if your budget is tight, a deck may not be the best choice. Remember to factor for ongoing maintenance expenses too.
  • Weight restrictions. If you’re picturing a deck with a hot tub or maybe an outdoor kitchen, be mindful of weight restrictions!

Pros of Installing a Patio

  • Price point. If you’re looking for the most cost-effective option, you’ll likely find it with a concrete slab. Prices go up for stamped concrete and pavers, but you can generally expect to spend less than you would on a deck build.
  • Minimal maintenance. Beyond sealing your patio, which isn’t really necessary, maintenance is limited to sweeping it to clear any debris.
  • More privacy. Because they’re set on the ground, you’ll have a little more privacy than you might on an elevated deck.
  • Longer lifespan. A quality patio will last decades without much upkeep.

Cons of Installing a Patio

  • Terrain considerations. If you’re dealing with uneven or sloped terrain, you’ll need to be prepared to pay for grading to ensure your patio is installed correctly.
  • Staining and cracking. Patios that are left uncleared can develop stains from things like mud, mildew or leaves. At some point, cracking may become a risk as well, especially if you live in a hot climate.
  • Longer installation window. This can vary depending on what you’re putting in and where, but there may be more prep work that means a longer timeframe to completion.

Which is Right for You?

Once you factor for these considerations, deciding between a deck and a patio is largely a matter of personal preference. If you’re leaning toward a deck, the experienced craftsmen here at Golden Eagle Builders in Reno would love to discuss your project with you. Contact us today and let’s get started.