At face value, the difference between a patio and a ground-level deck may seem negligible. However, many homeowners are choosing to replace their ground-level decks with patios. Why? And should you think about replacing yours?
Moisture is a Ground-Level Deck’s Worst Enemy
Because of how close the deck sits to the ground, there is a high risk of flooding. While a concrete patio won’t suffer too much from excess water, wood or composite decking runs the risk of warping, rotting, or growing mold.
And floods aren’t the only danger – any moisture at all can cause a lot of damage. Many low-level decks have enclosed bottoms, which means, without proper ventilation, any water will be trapped underneath. If you live in a humid area, the moisture in the air could be all it takes to ruin your deck.
You Could be Allowing Uninvited Guests to Move in With You
The closed bottom of most low-level decks creates the perfect environment for rodents and insects. If your deck is attached to your house, that also gives these critters the opportunity to sneak in through cracks in the wall or doorframe.
Termites are another significant risk, especially if you have a wooden deck. If you can’t easily see underneath your ground-level deck, these pests could be doing a lot of damage without you even knowing.
Is a patio a better choice for you? Here are some things to consider.
Is your yard level with your house? Patios are most straightforward to construct and maintain when they’re on flat ground. If your home sits on a hill, you could look into a multi-level patio or a patio that’s not connected to the house, though they may be more expensive to build.
Depending on the local codes, you should be able to avoid inspections and permits as long as your patio is under a certain height. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to consult with a professional.
The price you pay for your patio will depend on a few factors, such as the materials used. Concrete patios are the cheapest option, but a stone or brick patio may suit your tastes more. You also need to consider factors like ground movement and erosion as you’re deciding on a material. The size of the patio is also a significant factor. Bigger isn’t always better!
What is the overall vibe of your landscape? Do you want your patio to be the focal point of your yard? Or would you instead incorporate it into your landscape design and make it look as natural as possible? Before committing to a patio, you should take the time to imagine how it will blend in with your yard. This will also factor into the cost, obviously. A good landscape architect will work with you to determine what type of patio will fit your style.
What are you using your outdoor space for? If you have an in-ground swimming pool, a patio is a great way to extend the area around the perimeter and provide space for chairs and tables. If you have small children, patios can be safer than decks and don’t require handrails.
Are you dreaming of an outdoor kitchen for barbecues and garden parties? With a patio, you don’t have to worry about the weight limits of raised decks, and it will be easier to install your appliances.
For many homeowners, the aggravations of owning a low-level deck outweigh any benefits they get from it. If you’re still not sure if you want to replace yours, you should consult a hardscaping professional who will walk you through the pros and cons of patios versus ground-level decks.