Are you looking to improve your outdoor living space, whether for unwinding after a long day or grilling?
You might be presented with two popular options: a wood deck and a concrete patio, but as with most home improvements, you might worry about the cost.
This article will help answer what is cheaper wood deck or concrete patio, the key differences, and many other questions that will help you decide.
What is a Deck?
A deck refers to a flat outdoor surface or platform usually elevated above the ground connected to a building.
It can be made of various materials such as PVC, composite, or wood, but wood and composite decks are more popular. A staircase usually accesses a deck except when built a little above the ground level.
Two Types of Decks
There are two kinds of decks: the elevated deck and the level deck.
1. Elevated deck
This is also known as a raised deck, the most commonly designed deck in most homes. It is raised above the ground by a few inches to an elevated height, making it suitable for houses built in hilly or sloppy areas.
A staircase usually accesses this type of deck, and a railing is usually done around it to prevent falls.
2. Level deck
The name does not suggest it is built directly to the ground but is at a lower level. It is also called a floating or platform deck. A substructure such as a joist is used to raise this deck above the ground slightly.
What is a Patio?
A patio is a large outdoor space mostly designed as a seating area. Think of it as a lounge connecting the interior to the house’s exterior. It is usually floored with concrete, but other materials like tiles and stone could be added.
At times a patio is covered for partial protection from harsh weather, but mostly it is uncovered.
What is the Difference Between a Patio and a Deck?
A patio is built at the ground level with concrete, tiles, or stones, while a deck is built a few inches above the ground with mostly wood, composite materials, or PVC.
Also, a patio is mostly an open space not surrounded by other structures, while a deck is often surrounded by railings and attached to the house’s walls.
What is Cheaper Wood Deck or Concrete Patio?
It is cheaper to build a concrete patio than a wood deck after weighing various factors concerning construction cost.
However, sometimes, a concrete patio could be more expensive to construct. This entirely depends on you as an individual as cheap is relative depending on your budget.
Cost of Deck vs Patio: Factors Determining the Overall Cost
Several factors affect the pricing of building a wood deck or concrete patio. Some of them are explained below:
Deck vs Patio cost: Materials to be used
As stated previously, decks are mostly made of wood, while patios are made of concrete. However, these do not refer to ordinary concrete or regular wood.
For the deck, while most people might go for composite decking, wooden decks are also considered depending on what you want and your budget since they have varying costs per square meter. Here are some examples:
- Cedar decking costs about $13 to $17
- Pressure-treated decking costs between $12-$15
- Exotic woods like ipe, teak, and mahogany cost $20-$50!
For a patio also, there are different kinds of concrete that you can use. For instance, per square foot:
- Colored concrete costs about $2 to $4
- Poured concrete could run from $3 to $30
- Stamped concrete could cost between $6 and $35
- Concrete pavers’ cost ranges between $8 and $17
From this analysis, no doubt it is cheaper to build a patio using regular poured concrete than a deck using the cheapest pressure-treated decking.
So, a patio wins by a relatively small margin since it is a cheaper option.
Cost of concrete patio vs wood deck: Size
The size of the patio or the wood deck you want to construct greatly affects how much it will cost. On average, wood decking is between 300 and 400 square feet, while a patio size could be about 300 to 550 square feet.
Based on the pricing above, constructing a small wood deck could be cheaper than building a large patio but in calculating the same size, let’s use 300 square feet.
It will cost between $1,000 and $11,000 to build a concrete patio and about $4,000 to $15,000 to build a wood deck. Once again, a patio wins.
Cost of patio vs deck: Location/Terrain
The landscape or terrain where the patio or deck would be built also affects the cost. For instance, if it is sloping or uneven ground, it could cost more to build a concrete patio as it has to be filled to a certain level for an even surface.
In contrast, that same terrain would not affect the cost implication for a deck as it is usually raised. So for a sloppy terrain, a wood deck wins, while for a flat one, a concrete patio wins.
Concrete patio vs deck cost: Features
Due to how versatile these spaces are, you might want to switch up your design by adding one or two extra things. Some of these include:
- Additional levels
- Flower pots, gardening spaces
Most of these features are compulsory for a wood deck and optional for concrete patios, depending on your preference.
This brings us to conclude that a concrete patio wins by a wide margin as you would have a decent space with or without them.
Wood deck vs concrete patio cost: Installation
Installing a concrete patio or a wood deck is not a simple home project as they require good skill knowledge. Hence there is a need to hire labor to help construct, which is where installation cost comes in.
For a deck about 200-500 square meters in size, it would cost about $7,000 to $17,000 to install, while pouring concrete to create a patio would cost about $2,800 for a 288 square feet space.
Even cheaper if you can do most of the heavy lifting for the project. Undoubtedly, a concrete patio wins by a large margin concerning the installation cost.
Concrete patio vs wood deck: Cost of maintenance
At times, the maintenance costs of either a patio or deck could be more than the cost of installing one, as maintenance is done for as long as the space exists.
For instance, natural wood decks require power washing and applying stain or sealant over them every year or two years, which are not cheap.
You might even need to deal with the wood getting shattered or warped, screws, nails, and removing molds. In contrast, concrete patios are low maintenance as they only need scrubbing with a broom, water, and dishwashing soap regularly.
Because you don’t have to use wood stain on concrete, a concrete patio wins by a wide margin. Wooden decks evidently require more maintenance.
Wooden deck vs concrete patio: Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI is the amount you could get in many years when selling your house with the deck or patio. Both offer some ROI as long as they are built well with long-lasting materials.
The average ROI for a well-maintained wooden deck is about 75%, so if you spent about $10,000 constructing one, you could get about $7,500 from it when selling your home.
Concrete patios, on the other hand, have about 50% ROI, which means you might get less than half the money you spent on them.
However, when it comes to selling value, it bores down to how well you maintain the space and its condition when the house is sold. In this case, wooden decks win by a wide margin as they have higher resale value.
Deck or patio cheaper: Installation difficulty
If you want to save money and make it a DIY project, it is possible with decks and patios.
However, you need the right skill, experience, appropriate tools, and a lot of time to build a good deck as it is more tasking than a concrete patio that needs more workforce.
The good side to doing a bad job of a concrete patio is it would not be obvious, while it is easy to tell if a deck was not properly constructed. Hence it is wiser to build a patio by yourself than a deck.
In this regard, a concrete patio has the upper hand when it comes to being less difficult to install.
Concrete vs wood deck: Lifespan
Aside from the cost, longevity should also be factored in before choosing which structures would be built. A wooden deck made from pressure-treated lumber would last about 20 to 30 years with proper care.
Meanwhile, a concrete patio can last as long as 40 years if maintained well. Wooden decks are subject to warping, color change, and other changes due to environmental conditions.
Concrete, however, does not get affected by these asides unless there is a major shift in the ground. The concrete patio once again wins by a wide margin.
Pros, Cons, and Cost of Wood Decks
- You can construct one based on your budget as there are inexpensive kinds of wood.
- There are a variety of colors to choose from, and you can also repaint
- It is not subject to rot.
- It can be built on any kind of terrain
- It is not only expensive to maintain but requires routine maintenance of washing, repainting, and sealing.
- Decks tend to warp or splitter over time.
- It is not resistant to mold.
- A building permit is required in most residential areas to build a deck.
- It sometimes has a shorter lifespan
The average cost of adding a well-built wood deck to your home is about $14,360. It is said that for every dollar you spend on purchasing a piece of material for a deck, you would spend another dollar to install.
This varies based on the kind of material used and the kind of home you have. So you could spend way more or less than that.
Pros, Cons, and Cost of a Concrete Patio
- It is less prone to forces of nature.
- It is cheaper to build as the materials needed are a cheap
- It needs minimal maintenance
- Stairs, railings, or other added features are optional.
- It does not require as much labor.
- It offers more privacy as it is not elevated.
- It does not have to be attached to the house
- The concrete makes it a very hard surface, making falls quite dangerous.
- It can also be expensive to install
- It is prone to cracks, especially during extreme cold.
- The ground and soil need a lot of preparation before concrete can be poured, so it holds well.
- It is only suitable for flat terrains.
The average cost of installing a concrete patio is about $8,050. This could be way cheaper if it is smaller or a low-end concrete is used. Most of the cost comes from labor, ground preparation, and installation.
Raised concrete deck cost?
A raised concrete deck costs way more than a wood or a regular concrete deck. It costs between $30 to $75 per square foot to install, an average of about $50. In addition, the labor and the expensive equipment needed to construct raised decks are not quite cheap.
Is concrete cheaper than wood?
Generally, concrete is cheaper than most kinds of wood used today. However, wood offers a lower build cost when used in buildings since it is readily available and easier to work with. Their costs depend entirely on the kind of concrete and wood in question.
So, What is Cheaper Wood Deck or Concrete Patio?
Now that you know more about both outdoor spaces, we hope this will help you decide whether to install a new deck or a new patio.
Remember, building a concrete patio is your best bet if you are looking for affordability at a low maintenance cost.
At the same time, a wood deck is a better option if you are working with uneven terrain and looking for good ROI.
Ultimately, you would not regret adding these beautiful investments to your home’s outdoor living space. Your home should feel like home!