There is nothing more Canadian than lounging on your deck or patio come summer and soaking up the sun. Whether you love a scrumptious BBQ, entertaining friends or just relaxing, your deck or patio is likely one of the most popular spots in your home. A well-planned outdoor space is one that’s used – often – and a pleasure to linger on. It’s uncluttered, sun-lit and allows you to savour the surrounds.
Real estate and renovation experts agree that a well-designed patio or deck is a cost-effective way to increase the value of your property. A study by Money Magazine found outdoor additions can have more impact on a home’s value than interior projects. Good deck design goes beyond simple construction.
Don’t get bogged down by focusing on its size and the materials but consider its functionality, durability, safety, seating options and privacy. If you are planning to build a deck or patio or just renovate an existing one, consult a contractor, carpenter or splurge by hiring a landscape architect.
Though sometimes used interchangeably, a patio and deck aren’t one and the same. Patios can be attached to a house or stand-alone. They are often designed with the landscape in mind.
Patios are versatile: they can be moulded into any shape and built with a variety of materials, including concrete, stone, tile, brick, rock, pebbles, pavers or pea gravel. Most patios are set on a concrete slab or a sand and pebble base. Since patios are built at or around ground level, they don't require safety railings.
Decks are primarily made of wood or another composite wood material or vinyl or Trex, a brand which has become synonymous with composite decking. Popular woods for decks include redwood, cedar, and pressure-treated pine. A properly cared for wooden deck exudes warmth and is an instant draw.
Unlike patios, decks can be built at different levels. Once you’ve made a choice between a patio or an above-ground deck, check with city hall to ensure you have the right permits in place before you begin building or renovating.
As with most renovation projects, your budget will likely impact your choice. Other factors such as the materials used for construction (concrete, vinyl, wood); location (on the ground or above ground); the size and additional features such as built-in seating or a barbecue also influence costs. In short, a patio is often cheaper to build than a deck.
Aside from cost, you’ll want to figure out whether it’s a patio or deck that will suit your needs. If you want to incorporate landscaping into the overall design, a patio is for you. If you want to be perched up high and enjoy the surrounding view, build a deck. Whichever way you choose to go, both patios and decks add value to a home and have a good return-on-investment. Every home needs an outdoor space where you can entertain, socialize or just simply relax.
Heeding a few simple rules will ensure you can enjoy your patio or deck for years to come. Clean it annually and inspect periodically for loose nails, rotten planks, shaky railings and soft or splintered spots. Sweep debris such as leaves regularly because they stain.
Rearrange the furniture every summer to prevent discolouring. Be gentle, a power-washer might get the job done quickly but strip away the surface. If you have a wood deck, seal it every few years. Don’t paint your deck unless it’s absolutely necessary. Paint will chip, fade and flake and is a hassle to re-apply. Don’t use chlorine bleach to clean your patio or deck. Reach for the mildest products to do the job.