The difference between a patio and a deck can be so slight that some homeowners use the two terms interchangeably thinking that they are the same thing.

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However, there are very real differences between the two that should be noted. In general, a patio can be thought of as a ground-level outdoor living space while a deck is usually raised at least a few feet off of the ground.

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Choosing between a patio or deck will require homeowners to choose between two similar, yet distinct styles of outdoor living spaces. Patios are at ground-level and thus can be more secluded and private, whereas decks are elevated to offer better views of the surrounding area at the expense of privacy on the deck itself.

If you’re interested in adding a deck or patio to your own outdoor space, be sure to keep reading. Below we will discuss all the details and differences that can help homeowners pick which style of space is right for their area and budget.

Pros and Cons of Patios

The primary benefit of building a patio is that doing so is often cheaper, simpler, and faster than building a deck – which can be a much more complex building process. This means that you don’t need to tip-toe around a construction site, or have extended periods of time with unusable space on your property.

Next, consider materials. A patio can often be made of more durable materials such as concrete or pavers. Since patios are generally free from building regulations (unlike building your own deck), a patio can save a homeowner a small fortune in fees and building inspections alone.

Patios are often thought to be more durable, but they still require routine maintenance as they can develop fissures and stains just as a traditional deck can. Even though they also require maintenance, they generally last longer than their deck counterpartners.

Additionally, patios can also offer greater amounts of privacy when compared to a deck. While this isn’t always the case, the ground-level locations of most patios are more hidden than the elevated platform of a typical deck. If you want to enjoy your outdoor time without feeling like you are on display, a patio may be the choice for you.

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Patios still have their flaws and disadvantages. For example, a patio typically requires a well-prepared, level worksite to begin laying a foundation upon. This is because a patio normally stays at ground level and must rely on having an even grade in order to have a likewise level patio. There are also different tiers of materials used to build the patio to consider. Some last forever, but cost tons. Others are reasonably priced, but generally have a shorter lifespan. 

Pros and Cons of Decks

The benefits of having a deck in your backyard usually stem from activating an otherwise unusable space, elevating your outdoor living area, enjoying views, and appreciating the styling of a deck itself. Decking materials also usually do a better job of absorbing and retaining ambient heat – largely thanks to what they are constructed with. The last advantage that decks have is that they usually retain their value better upon the sale of a home.

There are negatives when it comes to having a deck, however, and they can include aspects such as a loss of privacy, the expense of building one, and greater maintenance costs. The cost of building a deck is normally greater due to the higher value of the building materials and the greater complexity required of the structure.

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Of course, there are other differences as well. Decks will have weight limitations due to their elevated frames and the type of materials being used. Yet, a deck’s elevated style of construction also allows decks to be built on uneven ground – making it far easier than patios can be. 

The Importance of Finding the Right Local Partner

So, now that we know a little bit more about what separates the two styles of outdoor-living areas, hopefully it will be easier for you to pick which one you truly desire for your outdoor space. If you’re still unsure which style you prefer, now may be the right time to seek a professional opinion on your situation.

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As has been said before, this is where partnering with local experienced professionals can really streamline the process. This is because if you partner with deck builders in King of Prussia, PA, for example, they will likely be much more aware of the local conditions and how they may change any potential deck plans than a do-it-yourself homeowner, or handy friend could be.

In the end, the type that you choose is largely personal preference and available funds for the project. This means that you should go with whatever option you think will make you happiest and will best suit your space.