PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Both a deck and a patio can provide an outdoor extension of your living space during the summer.

But, subtle differences between the two might be better for your needs than another.

Angie’s list has some tips on how you can decide which is right for you.

Robert Hadden’s shrubs took a beating this past winter. So, Hadden removed them from his home and put a patio in the area instead.

But he quickly learned it wasn’t an easy do-it-yourself project.

“I had the intention of putting it in myself, but as I quickly learned, just carving an area in the Earth and putting down stones, I wasn’t going to achieve much doing that. I knew there was a lot more to it than that. So, that’s why I called the contractor I did and had him do it for me,” Hadden said.

Choosing whether to build a deck or patio deserves careful attention as either can give you years of enjoyment if designed correctly.

Patios work best on flatter terrain because you need a minimal amount of structural engineering to put them in.

“We do a lot of things simply by wheelbarrow from the backyard out to a trailer or dumpster that’s placed in the driveway. We work with the homeowners in planning prior to the construction/installation of making sure they have vehicles out at certain points in time when we have to stage materials on their driveway,” Kevin Schluchter, a contractor, said.

Decks however can be installed over almost any type of terrain.

“We can create a couple of different spaces with the deck, higher spaces, lower spaces. So it can feel like separate areas. Also, we can put benches, privacy screens, and railing, so it really can flesh out the space nicely,” Tom Booker, a contractor, said.

“When planning a deck or patio, first you want to get your budget in line, then see what your options are. Figure out how much square footage you’re looking to add and then price it out accordingly with each different type. Keeping in mind the price range can vary on installation, but you also need to consider what the lifelong maintenance is as well. For instance, a wood deck is less expensive than a composite deck to install initially, but requires more maintenance,” Angie Hicks from Angie’s List said.

And before you build a deck or patio, you’ll also want to look at the way weather affects your property and determine whether roof drainage could create a problem on an attached deck or if the way snow and ice build-up could create a slippery hazard on a patio.

Angie’s List also said that it is critical to choose a licensed contractor, and to never sign a contract without reading the fine print.


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