Comparing Wood Decks to Stone Patios


Homeowners need to choose between wood decks and stone patios when planning a comfortable outdoor living space. Both provide advantages and disadvantages, depending on a number of factors. Compare options with your own property and tastes in mind to make the best decision possible.

Option # 1 - Wood Decks

Many homeowners opt for a wood deck. This material provides a comfortable space for a relatively affordable price. Take a look at the pros of building a wood deck on your home:

  • Adaptability wooden decks can be built at ground level, but they can also be built at second and third floor levels. The typical deck framing system uses 4x4 or 6x6 posts mounted on concrete piers and holding up a 2x8 or 2x10 wooden frame. Your deck floor or surface sits on that frame, with railings attached around the perimeter and stairs to grade (if applicable).
  • Affordability it may depend on the overall design, but you can expect to pay less for a wood deck when compared to a similar sized stone patio. Lumber is cheaper and most often takes less time to install.
  • Customization wood decks can be easily customized to suit your style and design tastes. Add a unique railing or overhead feature, change the way the deck boards run or install lighting and accessories to make the space cozy. Stain or paints allows you to change the look and feel of a wood deck with very little investment in time and money.

Wood decks also present a variety of disadvantages, including:

  • Design Limitations because dimensional lumber comes in certain lengths, sizes and shapes, the design of your wood deck is somewhat limited to the material s physical properties. Cedar wood is best for creating rounded edges or curves in your deck design, although those shapes present a challenge for even the most seasoned deck builder.
  • Weathering lumber will check when exposed to the elements, resulting in cracks, splitting and warping. Although stain may slow down the natural process, you cannot stop weathering from occurring and the usable lifespan of your wood deck will be affected by exposure.
  • Moisture even treated lumber is vulnerable to the effects of moisture, from both rain and snow. Wood naturally rots when exposed to moisture, and that will happen with your deck boards, deck framing and deck posts.

Option # 2 Stone Patios

Stone patios provide a classic look and feel that appeals to many homeowners. Think about the wide range of advantages provided by stone, including:

  • Longevity it s difficult to match the lifespan of stone, since certain types of natural stone patios can last for centuries. Stone in almost any form (natural stone or premade products like brick and concrete pavers) is impervious to the weather and remains unaltered and beautiful through varying temperatures, storms and direct sunlight.
  • Durability stone can take heavy traffic, including the weight of furniture, outdoor kitchen equipment and foot traffic from crowds of friends and family. As long as the proper base is laid and you ve installed high quality stone pavers, this surface will last through anything.
  • Design Opportunities unlike wood, which must be attached to a frame and limited by dimensional lumber specs, stone patios can be formed into almost any shape and size. Incorporate circles, ovals, curves and waves into your patio design using stones of varying shapes and sizes and the skills of a stone patio contractor.
  • Continuity many homeowners opt for stone driveways and pathways within their landscaping plans. Stone patios create a sense of continuity in your yard and help you to create an outdoor room feeling.

Stone patios come with a series of disadvantages as well, such as:

  • Expense you can expect to pay a hefty premium for stone patios, especially if your tastes run toward high-end natural stone like granite. Look-alike formed pavers may capture the appearance of natural stone, but these products do not offer the same durability and feel of the genuine article, which comes with a bloated price tag.
  • Design Limitations stone patios are only suitable for ground level applications. They must be installed onto a sand and gravel base, and do not allow you to make the most efficient use of a suburban yard. Installing a stone patio in a sloped yard requires excavation and retaining walls, whereas wooden decks can be built over any slope.
  • Specialized Installation Process stone patios are not a DIY project, and alterations and repairs require the skills of a professional contractor. The installation process tends to disrupt the balance of your yard as well, with excavations and heavy equipment endangering plant life and landscaping in the surrounding area.

How to Decide Between the Two Options

The best choice for you depends on your property, budget and lifestyle. A wooden deck may be the only option for walkout homes and a stone patio may provide a better value for yards that include an in-ground swimming pool.

Consider your lifestyle as well, and think about how you will use the space. Does a wooden surface appeal to you today and in the years to come, or would it be wiser to invest in stone? Talk to your landscaper or contractor about the options and compare a few different designs before making your final choice.

Many homeowners combine the two in one overall landscaping plan. Stone patios work on the ground level, with wood decks providing a space for grilling and outdoor dining that s close to the kitchen. Play around with the design and see whether you can capture the advantages of both styles.

Comparing wood decks to stone patios allows you to make the best choice for your outdoor living space. Keep in mind your tastes and budget, but consider the longevity and value of each material. Design plays a huge part in this choice. Talk to your contractor about how you want the space to function; this should help you to make the wise choice between stone patios and wood decks.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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