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Deck vs. Patio: When to Go with One Over the Other

Wooden table on wood deck surrounded by a garden

Sprucing up your landscape provides an excellent backdrop for barbecue season. When you decide to invest in your backyard outdoor living space, you have main two choices—deck vs. patio. There are tons of factors to consider in determining which one suits your outdoor space, lifestyle, and budget. We analyze multiple aspects to help you choose what’s right for you. 

The Difference Between a Deck and Patio   

A deck is typically an elevated structure extending from your house, however, there are decks sitting on ground level too. Elevated decks take advantage of scenic views and features like privacy screens and awnings can be added to increase privacy. Decks can be constructed out of wood, composite wood, and vinyl materials. Since decks are typically elevated off the ground, they usually require safety railings systems and some people opt to include stairs down to the ground level. Decks can offer excellent views of nature, and bonus points if you live on a hill—you’ll see the whole town from your home. 

A patio is a levelled outdoor area, usually finished with concrete, stone pavers, or natural stone,  at ground level or slightly raised above it, depending on your elevations. Patios can be installed with stone pavers or poured concrete, however, MPS does not recommend poured concrete to customers due to the drastic change in seasons in southern Ontario. Unlike decks, patios usually do not have safety railings, unless they are raised above 24” or have an unsafe drop-off. Patios are much more likely to be designed to include surrounding gardens, fireplaces, landscape lighting, and other ground-level landscape features to form the perfect spot for outdoor enjoyment.  

Pros and Cons of a Deck   

Pros  Cons 
Higher resale value; up to 75% return on investment (ROI).  Requires maintenance and power washing every couple of years. 
Customizable with different finishes.  Can be expensive to customize. 
Wood decks can sustain moderate summer heat.  Wood decks will rot overtime. 
Offers better views.  Uncovered decks offer no shade or privacy. 

Pros and Cons of a Patio   

Pros  Cons 
Typically, less expensive to construct on ground level.  Excavation and grading of uneven terrain during construction is costly. 
Easy to maintain.  Stone pavers will require some annual maintenance.  
Long-lasting.  Prone to staining. 
Offers more protection and privacy.  It does not offer elevated views. 

Which Is More Expensive: Wood Deck or Concrete Patio? 

Since we’ve answered, what is a deck? And what is a patio? The next concern is the budget. Generally, comparing a ground-level deck with a ground-level patio, the costs are similar, however, an elevated deck with stairs and a railing is more expensive to construct than patios. A price per square foot is not possible to estimate since there are multiple factors that must be considered, such as access, size of the project, labour and the material used.  

Paving stone or ‘interlock’ patios can be more affordable and offer top-notch resistance to wear. The appearance of simple patios can be elevated with surrounding gardens, landscape lighting, natural stone steps and armour stone accents. MPS offers a service called contour stone cutting, which seamlessly blends stone joints together.  

Decks can be built with pressure-treated wood, cedar, pine, or composite wood materials. For more information on these options please check out our blog on composite decking. When budgeting for a deck you should also consider the added cost of local permitting, railing systems and stairs. 

A key concern in cost comparison is the resale value. While elevated decks are more expensive than patios, they have better ROI. Wooden decks have a 72 percent ROI, composite decks at 66 percent, and paver stone patios at 50 percent. 

Which One Is Right for You? 

Ultimately, you will have to consider the outdoor space, privacy, aesthetic needs, and how they all fit into your budget. At MPS, we are happy to help you realize your outdoor dreams. Contact us today to install,  or upgrade your patio or deck. Partner with us and experience the over 25 years of excellence we offer our clients, ensuring them long-lasting satisfaction and quality outdoor spaces.  

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