Is A Wood Deck Cheaper Than A Concrete Patio?

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Thinking of dressing up your lawn with a deck or patio? An outdoor living space is a great addition to any home, regardless of type. We’ve looked into the cost of building a deck vs. a patio to find the most affordable options and have compiled all the information for you in the post below.

The cost of an average-sized deck can run from $4,000 all the way up to $12,000 and up, depending on wood type and features. A poured concrete patio costs on average between $1,500 and $5,000.

The cost of an outdoor living space addition such as a deck or patio varies greatly from the type of materials involved to the overall deck or patio size. Continue reading for all the details and what to expect when planning your home project.

A wooden deck with concrete patio beside swimming pool, Is A Wood Deck Cheaper Than A Concrete Patio?

Deck Vs. Poured Concrete Patio: Which is Cheapest?

According to Home Advisor, the cost for an average-sized poured concrete patio is between $1,658 and $4,315. A deck of the same size will run a homeowner between $4,086 and $11,251, again according to Home Advisor. It is generally much more affordable to create a patio space than it is to build a deck.

The actual cost of your outdoor living space project can vary greatly dependant on a lot of factors. As far as a deck, some of the issues that can affect pricing are the cost of labor in your area and the size of your deck. The price of lumber also fluctuates quite a bit throughout the year and in times of shortages, which can drastically change the cost of materials when putting in a new deck.

In Home Advisor’s deck vs. patio comparison, you can see decks average out to around $35 per square foot where patios run around $10 to $20 per square foot. A patio is clearly cheaper to build, but again its overall price can vary depending on local markets. If a truck or crew has to drive a long way to your worksite, this may raise the cost of labor. Patios can also be harder for average people to DIY.

Which Adds More Value To A House: Deck Or Patio?

Brand new red cedar outdoor wooden patio during nice weather in horizontal layout

A deck adds more value to a home. Decks cost more to erect and are therefore worth more per square foot than a patio. Though, both decks and patios are a valuable addition to any home and expand the comfortable living space beyond the interior of the home. Overall, the return on investment is higher for a deck than a patio.

What Is The Cheapest Way To Build A Deck?

The price of your deck is dependent on several factors, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Structure type
  • Size of deck
  • Cost of materials
  • Cost of labor

The cheapest way to build a deck is to go with a floating ground-level structure style. This requires fewer materials and labor to build. These decks are generally just a few inches off the ground, sitting on deck blocks instead of footings. This kind of deck works with patio doors that open right out onto ground level or just a bit higher. The image below shows an example of a ground-level deck structure.

Partially cleaned wooden terrace with a pressure washer by the green lawn in the garden

The size of your deck will affect the price as well. A smaller square foot area will require fewer materials and be overall more affordable than a larger, more prominent deck. As for the cost of materials, if looking for the most affordable option, you will want to go with cheaper wood.

Pressure-treated lumber is a great, cheaper option when building a new deck. Though pressure-treated lumber is created to withstand the elements making it great at holding up over time, it is typically made of lower quality woods and can be unsightly to some homeowners. Cedar is the next most affordable option, which looks beautiful and works well for building deck floors. 

The cost of labor is another huge factor in the price of building a deck. To keep it really cheap, any handyman or experienced DIYer can build a floating ground-level deck relatively easily. You can also get quotes from several different companies and shop around for the best price in your area if your deck project is a more complicated build.

Can You DIY A Wood Deck?

Most anyone can build their own wood deck, though this can become a more complicated DIY the more intricate the structure. To build a floating ground-level deck will not require the installation of concrete footings, using deck blocks instead to support the deck floor, making this DIY project a lot easier to complete.

If you are wanting a more complicated deck like a wrap-around, second story, or multi-tiered deck, you may want to hire the job out to a professional. Whichever way you go, always make sure to always obtain the required permits for your home addition.

Installing deck patio construction boards with above ground deck

Don’t forget to treat your wood deck once finished to guarantee a longer lifespan. When and how often to re-stain your deck is dependent on the climate zone you live in. There are also several signs your deck is in need of a good top-coat. Read our tips on when and how often to stain a wood deck here.

Can You DIY A Concrete Patio?

Pouring your own concrete patio is also able to be completed by a DIYer looking to save a dime. Again, make sure to get any permits prior to pouring your patio, if required in your area. Pouring your own patio is definitely doable. This job typically requires some digging, leveling work, and very heavy lifting though.

Back yard pergola covering blue cushion patio furniture

Concrete can be difficult to work with. It is messy, dusty, and very heavy. Pouring and leveling concrete is work that requires some pretty serious physical labor. If you are unfit or feel moving around a large amount of weight would not be feasible, the internet advises you to hire the work out to a professional contractor.

Alternatives to Poured Concrete or Traditional Wood Deck

New luxury stone patio and garden of an English home

There are a few alternatives to a poured concrete or traditional wood deck. A lot of people like to use stone pavers, stepping stones, or even bricks to create a really cool, unique, and oftentimes more affordable patio space in their yards. They often will surround these areas with privacy fences or cover them with pergolas to create the illusion of a more private backyard oasis.

Other people have even used gravel or sand when looking to construct a patio-type space specifically for around their fire ring. Just about any surface can be made into a suitable outdoor living space if you get creative. Make sure you are working on level ground and use natural, long-lasting materials that will hold up well to the outdoor elements.

Both Decks And Patios Are Valuable Home Additions

Regardless of adding resale value to your home, any deck or poured patio is a surefire way to get more enjoyment out of your yard. Everyone loves to relax by the pool or barbeque on a comfortable deck or patio. Once your backyard home addition is complete, read up on how to decorate your outdoor space on a budget by clicking here.

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