There are many materials you can use to build a patio deck. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of common patio deck materials.
Patio decks are different from traditional decks. Patios are installed on a paved surface. They can either be attached or detached from your home. In comparison, a traditional deck is always attached to the house on a raised surface. Installing a patio is much less expensive than a deck because the construction is much easier. Patios also use less expensive materials than raised decks. Patios are also more durable than decks, requiring less overall maintenance because of the stronger components. Most patios last over 25 years with minimal upkeep. Another benefit of patio installation is patios do not have any permit or inspections.
The best way to build a patio is to place it on flat, even ground. You can create a flat foundation if necessary, but this greatly increases the price of installing a patio. Patio designers use many different materials, each with different advantages and disadvantages, as well as varying costs.
Paver patios are one of the most expensive types of patios, and also take the longest to install. Pavers are large slabs of brick, concreate, slate or flagstone. Installing pavers requires more prep work than other patio materials. First, your patio designer must remove any dirt or grass in the area, all the way down to the subsoil level. In some cases, this involves digging a foot into the ground.
After the dirt and grass is removed, the designers add a small layer of sand and gravel, which act as the floor for the pavers. Once the pavers are in place, the designers sweep sand along the gaps of the pavers. The final step is cleaning and sealing the pavers. The whole process typically takes between three to five days to complete.
The cost varies based on the material, but on average, expect to pay between $12 to $22 per square foot, plus whatever installation fees your landscaper charges. Paver patios are significantly more durable than other patios. They are low maintenance and come in a variety of colors and patterns. Unlike other materials, your patio is usable once all the pavers are in place. If you live in an area known for difficult weather, paver patios are an excellent choice.
Brick is considered the classic material for patio design. Traditional brick patios are red, but you can order different colored bricks. Common options include brown, black, tan and gray, but there are also more unique colors, including pink bricks. Patios use different bricks than other construction products. These bricks are much thinner and more comfortable to walk across, without sacrificing durability.
Brick patios are popular because they are the easiest to install. Some homeowners even install their own patios, but this is only recommended if you have prior landscaping experience. Brick patios are much less expensive than other options, typically costing between $3 to $5 per square foot. If the pricks are set in mortar, the price increases, but it guarantees the bricks look even once they are set.
One of the downsides of brick patios is they react poorly to cold weather climates. Cold weather causes built up moisture in the bricks to freeze. When the liquid freezes, it expands. Once the weather warms up, the frozen liquid thaws. The force of the water melting can cause bricks to crack. Brick patios are easy to maintain. The best way to keep them clean is power washing, but you can also use hydrogen peroxide or vinegar to keep the bricks looking new.
Flagstones are thick pieces of stone, typically one to three inches long. Unlike other materials, flagstones do not have a uniform shape. This leads to truly unique looking patios. The irregular shapes also create some additional challenges during installation. Because the stones do not fit together, patio designers must carefully plan and lay out the flagstone to cover the entire area. Flagstone itself is between $3 to $10 per square foot, but with installation fees, you can expect to pay closer to $15 to $30 per square foot.
Flagstones are a durable material, but there are some weather issues. While the stones do not get damaged, they do heat up in warm weather. If your patio is directly under the sun, the stones may become uncomfortable to walk on. Similarly, the stones become slippery after the rain. You can use sealer to make the stones waterproof, but this may discolor the stone. Flagstone requires minimal maintenance. A thorough sweeping is enough to keep your patio clean. If mold starts developing on the flagstone, wipe them down with bleach.
Concrete is another material commonly used in patio decks. Concrete is popular because of the price, costing between $5 to $13 per square foot. Concrete patios do well in any weather condition. If you are unhappy with the natural color of concrete, there are many dyes available. After the concreate is installed, you can add a finish, which allows even more customization. A basic finish involves polishing the concrete, giving it an elegant appearance.
If you are concerned with safety, consider using a limestone or quartz finish. This creates additional slip resistance along the top of the concrete, while also giving it a unique look. Another option is a salt finish. This is especially common if your patio is located near a pool. A stamped concrete patio lets you customize the concrete to mimic the appearance of other materials.