Deck or Patio: Which Is Better for Your Home?

Margaret Wack
Written by Margaret Wack
Updated December 22, 2021
A wooden deck overlooking the sunset
Photo: Luis Viegas / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Both patios and decks increase your living space

  • Patios are typically less expensive than decks

  • Decks work well on uneven terrain

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Adding a deck or patio not only increases your home’s value, but your available living space, too. Decks and patios can play a multipurpose role as outdoor dining rooms, living rooms, or even kitchens

Decks and patios each have benefits and drawbacks, and which outdoor space is better for your home depends on your budget, terrain, and personal preference.

Pros and Cons of a Deck

A wooden deck platform in the backyard of a house
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Decks are a great way to seamlessly expand your living space to the outdoors.

Pros

Decks increase the value of your home. This means that a deck is a great return on investment; they can boost your property’s value while also expanding your outdoor living space. Decks are also a great choice for uneven terrain, since they are built over the ground rather than directly on top of it. Decks are also a comfortable and attractive addition to your house, and are easily customizable to match your particular aesthetic.

Cons

But there are a few downsides that come with choosing a deck over a patio. Most importantly, decks tend to be more expensive than patios, which means they may not be the best fit for homeowners on a budget. They also require more maintenance and typically have a shorter lifespan. And, depending on where you live, a permit may be required to attach a deck to your house.

Pros and Cons of a Patio​

A paved patio with wooden outdoor furniture
Photo: Paul Maguire / Adobe Stock

Patios are an affordable, customizable option to transform your outdoor space.

Pros

Patios tend to be less expensive than decks, which makes them a great option for homeowners with a smaller budget. Patios are also easy to maintain and tend to last longer than decks. Because patios are closer to the ground, they tend to be more private—especially if it’s inside a fenced-in yard. Patios are easy to customize and decorate to suit your preferences, too.

Cons

If you live on rocky or uneven terrain, a patio isn’t a great fit. Unlike decks that stand above the ground, patios lie right on top. They also often stain easily and require regular upkeep to ensure that they’re looking their best. And, while patios tend to last longer than decks, they can crack or become damaged if installed improperly.

A roofed paved patio
Photo: Brian / Adobe Stock

While patios and decks both enhance your yard space, there are a few important differences you should keep in mind.

Appearance​

Both decks and patios can add aesthetic appeal to your home. Because they’re attached to your home, decks are a natural extension of your living space that serves as a boundary between your home and the outdoors. On the other hand, patios can blur the distinction between inside and outside and blend in more with the surrounding scenery. Which one is better for your home ultimately depends on personal preference.

Most visually appealing: Tie

Options and Customizations​

Both patios and decks can be customized to suit your own personal style. That said, decks have a slight edge when it comes to customization, since you can choose the type of wood and the stain. In both cases, you can decorate your outdoor space with furniture and accessories of your choosing.

Most options and customizations: Deck

Durability​

Patios tend to be more durable than decks; they typically have a longer lifespan and require minimal upkeep. Decks are more susceptible to weather damage, fading, and discoloration. Patios, meanwhile, can last for decades with minimal damage even when exposed to the elements

Most durable: Patio

Price​

Patios also tend to be more affordable than decks. The cost to build a deck is around $7,600 on average, while the cost to build a patio is around $3,500.

Most affordable: Patio

Ease of Installation

Both patios and decks can be installed by enterprising DIY homeowners, but they often go more smoothly when completed by a local patio company or professional deck building contractor near you. Installing a patio typically doesn’t require a license, while a license is usually required when installing a deck. 

Easiest to install: Patio

Maintenance​

Patios are more low-maintenance than decks. Wooden decks should be periodically sealed and stained in order to prolong their life and refresh their appearance. Patios usually don’t require regular maintenance.

Easiest to maintain: Patio

Resale Value​

Decks can help to significantly increase the value of your home. While patios are also a valuable addition, they don’t raise your home’s value quite as much as decks do.

Best resale value: Deck

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