Decking or patio: which to recommend? In this article we offer advice to help you make your decision.
As summer approaches we inevitably start to think about making the most of our outdoor space. With a little time and money, you could extend your living space outside, making a space for kids to play, dinner al fresco, or a sundowner with friends. But should you invest in decking or patio?
The former is generally made from stone or concrete, while the latter is timber. Both are quite fashionable, but which would be best for your garden?
On the positive side, decking drains easily. It’ll be the first thing to dry after a shower on a sunny day. It’s warm on bare feet and cool in the blazing summer sun.
Decking can also be built relatively cheaply. A lot depends on the quality of materials you use, but even with the best timber available there’s very little ground preparation to be undertaken. All you need is a carpenter and something firm on which to rest the timbers.
From the usage point of view, decking has several positive advantages. It’s usually at a level above the ground, so provides a stage from which you can enjoy a better view. This means it’s immune to tree roots and can be built more easily to overcome sloping land.
The most obvious downside of decking, at least compared to a patio, is its life expectancy. Wood rots, and in exposed areas in the British climate it can only expect to achieve a life span of seven or eight years without diligent maintenance. This is improving all the time with better quality wood treatments available, but if you want to make sure your deck has a good long life, it needs extra care.
To keep it in good condition, decking needs power washing, staining and sealing every couple of years to keep it fresh and protect it from rot. The most treatment is needed where it’s in contact with the ground or a wall, as water can get trapped.
A well-built patio will last indefinitely without the need for wood stain or creosote. This makes it much easier to maintain compared to decking. In fact, because of stone’s permanence, you can depend on your patio to retain its look and character for as long as you have it.
If your space needs to bear significant weight, such as a car, caravan or hot tub, then a patio is the best option due to the good solid foundations that support it. It can be built flush to the ground meaning easier access and a better level of privacy.
Often a patio is seen as an enormous benefit when you come to sell your house. A well-laid patio can bring a decent return on investment. According to a Gallop survey, a patio can increase the value of your house by up to 12%. A good quality patio is akin to having an extra room in warm weather, and the increase in value reflects that.
In order to realise this extra value you need to build your patio well, and this can mean an expensive initial outlay. Constructing a patio is a skilled job with a requirement for solid foundations and neat stone-working.
If your land is anything other than flat the cost of a patio will rise further, as you’ll either need a raised foundation or a cutting and back wall. You may need both, so bear this in mind when deciding.
Here’s an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of both:
While we favour a well-laid patio over wooden decking, both have distinct advantages and disadvantages, depending on your needs. A deck may be seen as a good temporary structure at a place you don’t intend to stay, while a patio is a brilliant long-term investment and a beautiful addition to any home.