With all this snow, giving your outdoor space a spruce-up is probably the last thing on your mind. But believe it or not, the warmer weather is on its way, and taking advantage of it should be high on your priority list.
If you’re thinking about making your backyard a summer oasis, there are some things to consider. Is it better to install a patio or lay a deck? Which will look best, last the longest, and be the most cost effective? Let’s go through the pros and cons of a deck versus a patio to give you some ideas.
Decks are generally laid above the ground, so if your property slopes or if you have a lot of tree roots or stone jutting out of the yard, a deck will probably be the easiest choice. Most decks are made from wood, but there are also vinyl and composite materials available which mimic the look of wood but offer the benefit of less maintenance and a longer life span. Decks look great and offer a significant resale value, but there are a few cons too. Wood decks require regular cleaning and staining to keep them looking new, and they will fade and can rot without upkeep. Some people say that a deck will only last 10 years, but with regular upkeep, they will easily double that lifespan. In terms of cost, a deck made of pine will cost somewhere between $15 to $25 per square foot while a sturdier wood such as cedar will come with a price tag of $25 to $30 per square foot. If you’re looking for a composite or vinyl option, this will be the most expensive at roughly $30 to $45 per square foot. As a rough guide, an average 16x20 foot deck could cost you anywhere between $4,800 to $14,400 depending on the type of material you use.
This brings us to patios. If you have a flat yard, a patio might be a great choice because they are easy to install, require minimal maintenance, and are generally the less expensive option. There are also tons of aesthetic choices, from plain and stamped concrete to brick, pavers, stone, and more. With so many options, you can definitely make a patio stand out, but just like wood, the material that you use will directly affect the price. There are a few cons to think about too. Cheaper options such as plain concrete will be prone to cracking and any material that is joined together will likely require regular weeding or the application of weed repellent. While patios tend to require less maintenance than a deck, a bi-annual application of sealant will help to maintain its durability. Looking at patios from a cost perspective, regular concrete might run you around $5 per square foot, while stamped concrete might cost between $8 and $12 per square foot. Brick is an affordable option at around $7 to $8 per square foot while pavers jump up to roughly $10 to $20 per square foot. The most expensive option will be natural stone, which can be anywhere from $15 to north of $30 per square foot. For a 16x20 foot patio, you’d be looking at anywhere from $1,600 to $9,000 depending on what material you choose to lay.
Remember, these prices are just an estimate and costs will always depend on your choice of product, the size of the space, and the uniqueness of your yard.
Have you recently built a deck or laid a patio? Are you thinking about giving your backyard a new look for summer? I’d love to hear from you. Send me a message on Facebook at facebook.com/odonnellbros
Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.