Deck vs. Patio: Which One Is the Best Outdoor Space for Your Home?

Deck vs. Patio: Which One Is the Best Outdoor Space for Your Home?

September 19, 2022
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
best outdoor space for your home

Outside living spaces like decks and patios offer a wealth of opportunities for entertaining. From grilling out with family and friends to simply unwinding after work, a patio or deck can create the right atmosphere for many happy memories.

But before you take the plunge on planning an outdoor living space that works for your lifestyle, you'll need to know the differences between the two. There are many options when it comes to building outdoor living spaces, and it can be tough to weigh the pros and cons.

Decks are raised platforms made of a variety of materials, including wood, pressure-treated lumber, composite, PVC, and more. Usually, a deck is attached to the home. They can sit high above the ground and be accessed via a staircase or be built low to the ground and raised only by joists.

Patios are outdoor seating areas that are flush with the ground and often made of concrete. (Although concrete is considered the most popular building material for a patio, you may also choose stone, gravel, and other materials for a patio.

One of the most important considerations for those weighing installing a patio or deck is whether or not your ground is level. Since patios sit on the ground, a patio needs to sit on a flat surface. Alternatively, you can shore up the ground so it'll be flat. 

Whether you choose to get an outdoor deck or patio, you'll want to install sliding glass doors in San Diego for improved curb appeal. In this guide, we'll cover whether a deck or patio is the better choice for your outdoor space. 

Decks Provide Views, Patios Offer Privacy 

Depending on your home's surrounding environment and location, a deck can offer better views because of its elevation. On the other hand, a patio can offer more privacy. 

You want to be able to enjoy your backyard without compromising on privacy, so which option is better when it comes to a deck or patio?

deck outdoor space with double door

While a patio may provide more privacy for you and your family, it's unlikely to offer the same views as a deck due to the lack of elevation, so it's important to consider which aspect is more important to you.

A patio can easily be screened-in to prevent any nosy neighbors from eyeing your burgers during your weekend cookout, whereas a deck will almost always be breezy and open.

However, since decks are elevated, you may find that your neighbors won't be able to see into your deck if you're above their yard. It all depends on where your structure is located and what the surrounding land looks like.

Decks May Require a Building Permit 

Inspections and permits will often be required if you want to build a deck since they are attached to the home. Patios are simpler to build and won't usually need permits because they sit on the ground without any effect on the structure of your home. 

Permits and inspections are often required when building a deck because they are attached to the home and impact its exterior structure and appearance. It's important to obtain the proper permits before starting the construction of your deck. You may also need to get inspections throughout the process to ensure your deck is built to code and meets all the requirements of your municipality. This will help create a safe outdoor space. If you fail to follow these guidelines, you could end up paying a fine or being required to remove your deck completely.

Patios are simpler to build and usually do not require permits or inspections because they sit directly on the ground and don't affect the structure of the home. However, it's always a good idea to check with your city before you start building your patio to ensure you don't need any permits.

Patios Cost Less 

In general, a patio will cost less compared to a deck. This is probably one of the first things that come to mind when you think about adding a deck or patio to your home — which option is more affordable? Of course, the cost depends on a variety of factors such as your location, yard type, and individual contractors close to where you live.

It's no secret that each company will charge a slightly different price, so it pays to shop around and get multiple quotes before you build. Generally speaking, patios are more affordable. They require less construction (there are no foundational or structural supports added with patios) and fewer materials to complete.

exterior sliding door to patio door or yard

When all is said and done, you'll be looking at up to $5,000 for a patio and up to $20,000 for a deck. However, decks are more customizable than patios and can increase the value of your home. Both structures are an investment that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come, so be sure to weigh all of the pros and cons, not just the price!

Decks come with Weight Restrictions 

This is an important consideration when it comes to decks, and they will need a strong foundation to support the weight of people and furniture. Weight is an important consideration factor for raised decks. A well-constructed deck should have a solid foundation to support the weight of furniture and guests. But there will still be some restrictions due to its elevated height. This is another reason why it's so important to get the right permits and inspections throughout the build process.

Determine what you want to put on your deck and make sure everything fits within the weight requirements. Heavier items like hot tubs might be better suited for patios since they are flat to the ground and do not have the same weight restrictions as decks.

Patios are Easier to Maintain 

Decks made of natural wood will need a lot more maintenance and will need to be repainted, restrained, sealed, and power-washed every few years. If you think a patio requires less maintenance and upkeep than a deck, you're probably right. Timber decks require regular oiling to keep them looking fresh, whereas patios only require a quick hose down once in a while.

But keep in mind that timber decking isn't your only option when it comes to building a deck. Composite decking boards are a great option to create the deck of your dreams minus the ongoing maintenance. Also, consider that both patios and decks require cleaning to keep them guest-ready and to prevent stains from debris and spills.

Which One is Better Suited For Your Home? 

Now that you know the differences between a deck and a patio, which one is better suited for 

your home. It's best to ask yourself these three essential questions: 

What features do you want in your outdoor space?

Beyond your budget, what you want to do in your outdoor space should be a driving factor behind your decision. For example, if you are going to roast marshmallows and relax by a cozy fire, a patio made from a material like concrete or stone is ideal for a fire pit. Are you tired of all the clutter in your backyard? The space underneath a deck is something that ground-level patios lack, and it is fantastic for stashing away everything from landscaping supplies to kids' toys.

Speaking of kids, you will want to consider them too. Patios are fun when it comes to having a family cookout or creating chalk art, but the railings of a deck provide a corralled space that makes it easy to keep an eye on your little ones.

How much do you want to spend on maintenance?

The reality is that both patios and decks require regular maintenance. Therefore, you need to be honest with yourself about how much time and money you are willing to spend after the initial build.

Patios made from stone or concrete are durable and low maintenance but will still require a hose down or pressure washing to maintain their finish. Weed removal between a paver patio's cracks may also be required.


When it comes to decks, composite decking is revered for being low maintenance. However, it will still need a semi-annual deck cleaning with a composite deck cleaner, soap, and water.

Finally, wood requires the most maintenance as it is a natural material prone to degradation over time due to natural elements like moisture and UV. A wood deck will need to be refinished every few years, and eventually, some boards will have to be replaced. When building a wooden deck, it is highly suggested that you safeguard against future maintenance by choosing quality decking material, finding reputable builders, and waterproofing it. 

How do you want your yard to look and feel?

Think about how you want your outdoor space to look and how you want it to feel. These factors will help you decide which patio and deck designs are suitable for you.

For example, a poured concrete patio may be the golden ticket if you're going for an addition with a sleek and modern feel. However, if you are going for something that emanates warmth and coziness, then nothing beats the earthy feel that a wood deck provides. Wood deck, not an option? Try outfitting a patio or deck with a wood pergola.

Enhance Your Outdoor Space with Sliding Glass Doors 

Sliding glass patio doors offer a convenient view of the outside of your home. Because they are larger than a standard window, you get a better view and can enjoy a relaxing view of nature without needing to go outside. Plus, if you're in a rush, you can determine the current weather with a quick glance.

When you have windows and sliding glass patio doors in a room, you have more options for setting up a cross-breeze, providing ventilation, or just getting some fresh air. Plus, you can customize what you need based on the weather and temperature that day by opening the doors a little bit, halfway, or all the way. With sliding patio doors, you get a little more control over the temperature and comfort of your home for those moderate days when turning on the heat or air conditioner doesn't make sense.

large sliding patio sliding door in modern outdoor space

Sliding glass patio doors are a great way to have your patio access by letting more natural light into your home. Not only can more natural light make you feel more relaxed, but it can also brighten up and entirely energize a room. On top of that, you can give yourself some privacy and control over how much natural light to let in with window treatments like curtains or vertical blinds.

Sliding glass patio doors can also increase the curb appeal of your home. New patio doors can seriously upgrade a patio or deck. Because they often enhance both the interior and exterior of your home, they tend to be an attractive feature for potential homebuyers. Depending on your area and local market trends, they may even increase the value of your home!

If you believe sliding glass doors are right for you, let us help you decide on the right configuration and install them for you. Whether you want french doors, 4-panel doors, vinyl doors, or any other options, we've got you covered. Each installation is custom to your home, and US Window and Door is happy to offer a quote. Schedule a free in-home estimate for your glass sliding doors.