If you are wanting to expand your outdoor living space by investing in a new deck or a patio, ensuring you purchase the right materials is crucial. Installing either a deck or a patio has different processes and requirements.

The first difference to bear in mind when choosing between a deck and a patio is the appearance, both are very different materials, one is a longboard installed on structural joists, the other, heavy paving slabs secured with concrete to the ground. Composite decking is made from an amalgamation of recycled plastic and recycled wood fibres, making a durable, high-quality, long-lasting product.

Decking and patios, can both be either very easy to maintain, or if you choose the wrong type you may be left with an outdoor space that needs a lot of maintenance and upkeep. Low-cost patio paving slabs may require more care and may chip, crack and fade faster than a high-quality premium paving stone. Timber decking requires annual staining, sanding and varnishing, whereas Composite decking boards simply require an annual clean.

Decks are usually made from either timber decking boards, composite decking boards or PVC decking boards, all give the appearance of traditional wooden decking. Whereas patios are constructed from paving stones. These can come in a range of designs, colours and qualities. The higher the quality of stone the less maintenance is needed.

While decking can be installed either low-to-the-ground, raised, or as a balcony, patios are heavier and require a flat, concreted structural area. Both patios and decks may require landscaping before instalment, to ensure its suitable.

Both Composite Decking and Patios have low-water absorption, insect resistant and UV resistant properties. However if Composite Decking is installed in a damp, moist area, moss and algae are more likely to grow and affect the integrity of the boards. Patio slabs are less likely to be broken down in damp areas.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Patio & Decking

Pros of Composite Decks:

  • Can be installed either low to the ground, or as a raised terrace or balcony
  • low-maintenance - does not need to be sanded, varnished or stained
  • Available in a range of eight colours
  • Low-absorption rate - boards will not warp, rot or splinter
  • Insect-repellant - Insects are unable to eat and penetrate the boards interior
  • UV-Resistant - Colours should not fade or discolour
  • Low-slip when boards are installed with narrow grooves facing up.
  • Environmentally friendly - made from 100% recycled materials.

Cons of Composite Decks:

  • Weight restrictions - unable to hold items such as a hot tub safely
  • The cost of composite decking can be higher than a timber deck
  • While composite decks have a longer life span than timber decks, it does not last as long as patio slabs.
  • In some conservation areas, and council districts planning permission may be required before installation
  • Can be slippery in the winter, even with the low-slip properties.
  • Complex installation

Pros of Patio

  • Can withhold large weights
  • Large range of prices and designs to choose from
  • Offers high amounts of privacy as installations must be on the ground.
  • Low-maintenance
  • Long life-span - up to 25 years
  • May not need planning permission (please do check with your local area before installing)
  • Natural-looking material

Cons of Patio

  • Have to be installed on concrete which may need a lot of landscaping for a level surface
  • Prone to cracking and chipping
  • With its concrete base, patios are not environmentally friendly.
  • Limited to ground level only
  • Requires lots of cleaning as the slabs are susceptible to staining
  • Installation may be costly and time-consuming

Decking vs patio which is better?

Both decks and patios are great additions to outdoor living, for al fresco dining, socialising, BBQs and entertaining. The advantages of patio & decking additions to your garden can transform the look and uses of your outdoor space. Seamlessly transitioning indoor living to outdoor living. Depending on garden size, location (is your garden sloped, or flat), and personal preference determines which one is the one for you to choose.

When building a deck or patio, it is important to consider the use of the new deck or patio, will it need to hold a large weight, such as a hot tub, will it be used as a raised seating area? If your garden benefits from a view, overlooking the sea, a river, or the countryside, you may want to use your garden addition as a viewing platform. Having a deck vs a patio means that a deck can be elevated, or added to an existing balcony. Patios, however, can offer more privacy as they can only be installed on a concrete base at ground level. But, while decks can be included in the design of the building as a balcony or terrace, WPC decks are unable to withstand as much weight compared to a patio.

Both patios and composite decks require installation time and energy, however, both have different installation specifications.

It is also important to know the different needs of the two materials. While decking can be installed both raised and at ground-level, decks still need to be slightly heightened with a sufficient substructure, of a concrete base or appropriate joists A huge benefit if you choose Composite Decking is that because it can be raised and installed on uneven ground, the instalment is often cheaper, easier and less time-consuming. Once the structure is in place boards are easy to install thanks to their grooves and easy to screw in-place material.

Whereas a patio, which can only be installed at ground-level must have a flat concrete base. Enabling a flat area for your patio could require heavy maintenance and landscaping. This can be time-consuming, and costly.

From a design perspective, both materials have elements, allowing them to create an aesthetically pleasing layout. Intricate patterns and designs can be achieved with paving stones, whereas clean simple lines appear when using decking. However, Composite Decking is available in a range of colours, with a woodgrain effect on offer as well. Enabling you to compliment or contrast with the colour of your house. During the install adding a picture frame effect with other decking materials, such as bullnose boards can also add a unique and sophisticated finish.

Patio vs Decking cost of materials comparison £

Building a deck or a patio isn't cheap, so when choosing between a patio or deck, you may want to consider the cost of both of the install time and the price of the materials. While the cost of a Composite Deck is more expensive than traditional timber, its benefits make it a stronger investment in comparison to a patio.

Adding a Composite Deck vs patio to your building gives you the option of having a low-to-ground or heightened outside seating or dining area, with low-slip properties for a safe, year-round outdoor extension.

Please note costs are based on a standard size garden, 30sqm area. Prices may vary.

Conclusion: What’s the ROI for a Deck vs Patio?

So when it comes to adding a multifunctional outdoor area to your home, which is better, a deck or a patio?

While the affordability of decking may be slightly more than some patio paving slabs on the market. Both patios and composite decking have an extended guarantee, the value of the installation outways the expenses, and could potentially add value to your properties. Especially if they add an extra living area onto the building.

A Composite Deck has a range of benefits including, low-slip properties, insect resistance and low-absorption rates. Meaning the boards will not warp, rot or splinter, while also resisting growths such as moss and algae. While Patio slabs are made of natural materials, and they themselves do not need a high level of care, however, to help prevent the stone cracking in colder weather, consider treating the area you where installation occurs.

Neither patios nor WPC decking needs constant upkeep, both can last for multiple years with a high-quality look if they are cleaned regularly of dirt and debris.

If you're looking to sell your home, adding outdoor seating, socialising or BBQing area may help to increase attraction and value to your home. The more expensive and premium material used, the greater return of investment.

When looking to install a patio or deck to the outside of your house, it is important to check any planning permissions and safety guidelines before making any purchases. The design of your home and the look of your garden is important when shopping for an outdoor addition. Take into consideration the size of your garden, and the colour and design of your home before making a choice between a deck and a patio.

If you live in a rural area with a traditional brick style house, a patio would fit in with the aesthetic of the surroundings, whereas decks are often better suited to innercity, modern homes. Because decks can be in a raised design and can be used as terraces, they can be more space effective than low to the ground patios.