When compared to wooden decks and patio surfaces composed of paver stones or bricks, concrete patios are the clear winner. From a wide variety of styles and designs at affordable prices, to its low maintenance nature and longevity, concrete offers multiple advantages. Consider these three:
1. Stylistic Versatility of Concrete
Traditional wooden decks are relatively straightforward in the manner they are laid with the greatest design choice being balcony material and the stain and sealant colors.
Similarly, gravel or crushed limestone patios are inexpensive and quick solutions but offer limit style choices to the color of the crushed stone and the material used to border it. In sharp contrast, there are thousands of options when selecting the style and finish of a patio.
Finishing techniques such as stamping patterns to emulate brick, stone and tile, scoring geometric designs, and staining concrete patios in solid colors or blended patterns start as low as $2-8 a square foot.
On the higher end, sophisticated design options such as embossing or engraving patterns and logos into concrete surfaces or complex faux finishes to emulate a variety of natural stones from slate to marble sometimes run upwards of $20 a square foot.
The variety of design options available make it easy to create a patio area entirely unique to your backyard, taste, and budget.
2. Initial Cost
The initial cost of a typical concrete patio is far less than that of a wooden deck or using paving stones. Although design choices can increase the cost per square foot, typically a concrete patio runs $15 per square foot while wooden decks are around double that cost at $33 per square foot, according to an article on Houselogic.com.
The same article, however, notes that a wooden deck typically gets a higher return on investment at around 75%, while these patios return a range on investment from as low as 30% to as high as 60%.
So if you’re looking to improve the value of your home, to maximize your return on investment, make wise style choices to ensure that the patio complements your home and is an appropriate fit with your backyard landscaping and design.
3. Longevity and Cost Savings
Wooden Decks vs. Concrete Patios
There are several similarities in the maintenance process of wooden decks and concrete patios. Both need to be properly maintained to maximize the longevity of the surface material against the damage caused by rain, ice, heat, and cold.
Also, both wooden decks and concrete patios must be power washed and scrubbed, sanded, or ground until smooth before they can be resealed. If properly maintained, both surface types can last upwards of 30 years. However, the sealant application is far simpler for concrete when compared with wooden decks.
Concrete patios pose a distinct maintenance advantage in that a 5-gallon can of sealant covers 1,000 square feet, costs around $100-150, and is only needed once every 2-3 years. Wooden decks should be resealed and re-stained annually, which means they must be power washed and sanded every year as well.
Homeadvisor.com estimates that most homeowners spend $500-1000 on sealing or waterproofing a deck. 4 gallons of sealant are needed to cover 1,000 square feet at an average cost of $150, and an anti-mold and mildew deck cleaner ($10-20) must be applied before the sealant.
Additionally, owners of wooden decks must also check for rot and mold, replace damaged wood, and check for and replace loosened nails and screws.
Overall, concrete is both easier and cheaper to maintain.
Concrete Slab Patios vs. Paver Stone Patios
Although patios formed of paving stone or brick have a lower initial startup cost — LandscapingNetwork.com estimates the average cost at $6-10 per square foot — pavers don’t stand up to the elements the same way that reinforced concrete can.
Concrete contractors carefully plan joints in the concrete slab before they pour it to ensure its durability. Additionally, with concrete slabs, there are options (such as steel rebar) for reinforcing concrete in geographic locations where soil composition makes for a poor foundation, or where extreme weather poses a threat to the integrity of the concrete.
A professionally-poured concrete slab as a patio surface won’t shift over time or give way to dirt and vegetation the way that pavers and brick do.