The decision for the right design for your outdoor living space can be a tricky one. Two worthy opponents vying for your attention are decks and patios.
Both are good choices, but which will work best for you? How will either hold up in the often-harsh Ohio winters?
In this article, we’ll give you a deep dive into decks and paver patios so you’ll be armed with the right information to make the best decision for you.
What are the basic differences between a deck and a paver patio?
Let’s start first with patios. Level with the ground, a paver patio often serves as a connection between your yard and your living area. You can spruce it up by adding shrubbery, flower beds birdbaths, water or fire features, etc.
Decks, though, are elevated from the ground. While they can be freestanding, most decks are attached to homes or other structures. Because of their height, some safety features may be necessary – like a railing or built-in bench.
What are decks and paver patios made from?
Most decks are made of wood. While it gives your deck a more natural look, wood can also be difficult to maintain over the long run. Other materials that can make your deck more durable include aluminum, composites (resin and wood) and polymer (plastic).
Paver patios are typically made of stone, brick, tile or concrete. Especially attractive features of pavers include the wide variety of available colors and the ability to lay the individual tiles in striking patterns.
Which is easier to install?
If you’re wanting to extend your living area from a second floor or want it to serve as a balcony, decking is your obvious choice because it’s elevated. Likewise, if ground-level outdoor living is your jam, a paver patio is the right choice.
As for the installation process itself, most decks are installed in the following stages. Keep in mind that your deck can be customized to your specific needs, so the steps may vary.
- We’ll first make sure there are no underground services (water and power lines) running across the deck area.
- The outline of your deck is made with string.
- Any necessary removal of sod is made.
- Support posts are installed and held in place with cement, and beams and joists are installed.
- Decking boards are nailed in place.
- Finally, features including stairs, railing and staining are added.
As for paver patios, the installation process includes:
- Removing sod and plants from the designated area down to the level of undisturbed soil
- Compacting the soil to avoid settling
- Installing a treated fabric that will prevent freezing and thawing of the deep soil
- Spreading a six-inch layer of gravel and sand that serves as the setting bed
- Laying the pavers and sealing the final product.
Which is easier to maintain?
Depending upon the material you select, your deck can take a real beating during the winter months. Wooden decks are highly vulnerable to the continual freezing and thawing of water we see during our Ohio winters. You’ll also need to regularly power-wash, stain and seal your wood deck.
As for paver patios, the necessary maintenance is not nearly as intense. Since pavers are extremely durable, all that’s really needed is sealing – and even though that’s recommended to deal with our cold winter months, it’s not entirely necessary.
What are the pros and cons of a deck?
Here’s where we get to the meat of the matter. As for decks, the pros include:
- Decks are a better option for uneven terrain.
- They’re customizable to your individual style and tastes.
- Decks provide an immediate boost to your resale value if you’re looking to quickly sell your home.
Cons for decks include:
- The costs of installing a deck are often higher than a paver patio.
- They often have a shorter lifespan because of vulnerability to harsh weather, rot and termites.
- More maintenance is required than with a paver patio.
- There are weight restrictions, which can be a problem during heavy snows and added features like a hot tub or an outdoor kitchen.
What are the pros and cons of a paver patio?
The advantages of choosing a paver patio include:
- Maintenance is substantially less than a deck.
- More privacy is available through a paver patio because it is low to the ground.
- They have a far longer lifespan – roughly 25 years or more of use is common.
Among the con sides of paver patios are:
- They are not a good choice for uneven terrain.
- They are vulnerable to cracking – although this is easily fixed by replacing the individually damaged tiles.
- Pave tiles can be stained by mildew, mud and other natural occurrences.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there’s plenty to like about paver patios and decks. We understand that choosing one over the other can be difficult. Our decades of experience, though, can be invaluable in guiding you towards the right choice.
For ideas of how we can help, check out our online photo gallery of recent projects.
Then, give us a call at (614) 779-0846 or get in touch via email.