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This is probably a project that will be at least 6 months away, but right now I have a back deck that's falling apart.  As in, can't put the chair legs in certain spots because it could go through the existing hole, or form a new one.  I've replaced a few boards that have rotted out, but now even the railing is going south.  It was the existing deck with the house, so I imagine its a few decades old. Painted brown  <_<.  It's about 3 feet off of the ground, and you step out right on to the deck.

 

This thing is coming down, and I want to know from those of you that have had them built, which is more enjoyable/cost friendly/rewarding a deck or a patio?  If a deck, would you keep it elevated, or build steps that come down to a deck that doesn't need railing?

 

If a patio, should it be cement, or gravel and pavers?  At this point I think rock would be too expensive, so that's not an option.

 

I see a patio being a little bit more versatile (partly covered, water-friendly), and you can add on to it little by little (light fixtures, fans, appliances, etc), and the surface wouldn't need the maintenance that a deck does.  I'd also have more privacy from the fence since we'd be at ground level.

 

When it comes down to it, I'd like something that looks nice, but won't make me bleed green.  I don't care to have a screened-in anything either.  What do yall think?

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If it were me I would go with a deck made with Trex or something similar that way it's maintenance free, dry, above the ground, would make as large as I could and cover an outside kitchen area so that I could cook even in pouring rain.

 

Concrete has a habit of cracking and doesn't look as good as a nice deck.

 

You could also do a "Deck-Patio" have a good sized deck then 2 to 3 steps down to a Patio.

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I expanded my 20+ year old deck last year.  I took all the deck boards off and examined the framing which, fortunately, was in very good shape.  I then hired someone to add about eight feet of framing for me.

 

I actually have a two-level deck...the upper level is about 150 sq ft and comes directly off the porch, then there's three steps down to a lower level which is about 600 sq ft.  The lower level is just 18" above ground level, so just a step down and no railing needed.

 

I looked at pressure-treated lumber (cheapest), kiln-dried pressure-treated lumber (a little more expensive) and several different types of manufactured products, including Trex.  When it came down to it, I could not justify spending three times as much for the Trex (or similar) product; that stuff is crazy expensive.  I purchased the kiln-dried material which should last at least 15 and possibly 20 years.  I then installed it myself, along with LED lights, steps, railing, etc. and stained it.

 

I am by no means an expert, but was able to do all (except the framing) myself and probably saved a couple of thousand dollars.  Frankly, I think it's easier to install decking than a patio....less worries about drainage...easier to run wiring....staining and maintaining is pretty easy.

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750 sq/ft of deck is going to cost probably about $300 every 2 years tops to re-stain if you do it yourself, triple that or more if someone else does it.  (I got about 400 sq/ft of decking and cost me around $150+ every 2 years doing it myself) 

Composite decking should last a minimum of 25 to 30 years, so probably double what most wood would last.

In 20 years, you will spend $6000 on maintenance.

With composite, you just wash it off.

 

When my wife and I move my next deck will be my last deck, I am 56, so I am going to build a Composite one and then forget about it.

 

If initial cost is the deciding factor then pressure treated wood is the way to go though.

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What are the current dimensions? Would you consider expanding it if there is space for it? Is that something you want?

 

What goes on the deck / patio? Is there a hot tub in the future?

 

I had to gut my original deck. Lots of problems with the way it was originally built and when people added on, they did a not so good job. 

 

Rebuilt the deck, as a full 12'x12'. Floated the entire deck, dug out the ground underneath, covered with weed block, backfilled with gravel. Used pressure treated wood for the framing, and cedar for the decking. I think I calculated the deck and materials to $2000. I had enough left over sand to dig out the space next to the deck and turn it into a patio. That started as a 9'x9', but the following year, I expanded it again to make it 9'x18'. Got the second set of pavers at the year end clearance for half the cost of the original pavers.

 

I'm in the middle of gutting and rebuilding a friend's deck. The joists were mostly rotted out. The decking material was questionable. We had to jack up the central beam cause it had sunk so much over the decades. Will probably have to lower the end beam as it looks like it frost heaved a couple of inches. In other words the two ends of the deck formed a valley in the middle. 

 

If the deck is lower than 30", you don't need railing. Don't know if that is an issue for you or not. I like my deck open, so railing and benches and things all came off.

 

When purchasing lumber, ask if there is a homeowner's discount. Good stores will have discounts when you are purchasing large quantities. I think I got 10% off on my cedar decking. 

 

Heck, fabric block is cheaper at Costco than at the big box stores. Sure its a lot of material, but if you have a lot of ground use, or raised beds, it is handy to have.

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I went through that decision a few years ago and ultimately replaced by aging deck & cracked concrete patio combo with a brick paver patio all around.  It's nice but also a maintenance hassle due to the sand in the joints getting removed by ants, weeds growing in them, and general shifting requiring resetting pavers and refilling the joints.

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What are the current dimensions? Would you consider expanding it if there is space for it? Is that something you want?

 

What goes on the deck / patio? Is there a hot tub in the future?

 

I had to gut my original deck. Lots of problems with the way it was originally built and when people added on, they did a not so good job. 

 

Rebuilt the deck, as a full 12'x12'. Floated the entire deck, dug out the ground underneath, covered with weed block, backfilled with gravel. Used pressure treated wood for the framing, and cedar for the decking. I think I calculated the deck and materials to $2000. I had enough left over sand to dig out the space next to the deck and turn it into a patio. That started as a 9'x9', but the following year, I expanded it again to make it 9'x18'. Got the second set of pavers at the year end clearance for half the cost of the original pavers.

 

I'm in the middle of gutting and rebuilding a friend's deck. The joists were mostly rotted out. The decking material was questionable. We had to jack up the central beam cause it had sunk so much over the decades. Will probably have to lower the end beam as it looks like it frost heaved a couple of inches. In other words the two ends of the deck formed a valley in the middle. 

 

If the deck is lower than 30", you don't need railing. Don't know if that is an issue for you or not. I like my deck open, so railing and benches and things all came off.

 

When purchasing lumber, ask if there is a homeowner's discount. Good stores will have discounts when you are purchasing large quantities. I think I got 10% off on my cedar decking. 

 

Heck, fabric block is cheaper at Costco than at the big box stores. Sure its a lot of material, but if you have a lot of ground use, or raised beds, it is handy to have.

 

I have a good bit of weed block left from a raised bed I grew peppers in, and currently tomatoes.  I'm thinking that the privacy of the deck/patio being lower is becoming more of a priority now.  My neighbors can see and hear us pretty much completely as it stands. Plus, I'd save money by not having the railings.

 

This would be a complete demo and rebuild.  The current dimensions are 8x12 (or 8x10), not very big, especially with the space in front of the door being basically useless because the steps are straight out. I have a table and 4 chairs and my Akorn on it now.  It's a tight fit. I'd like to have more seating.  I'm thinking a floating deck thats 12x12 or 12x16.  That's enough room to eventually build a structure over a portion of it to stay out of the sun/rain.  I'll probably just use pressure treated wood all over since I'm somewhat frugal.  I've seen plans that just puts them on cement deck blocks.  This is also more of a starter home than a forever home.

 

Also, Lowe's has a 10% off of an entire purchase in the mover's coupons at the post office.  I'll grab one of those and skip the haggling.

 

If I did a 12X16, could I run 16 ft. boards down the entire length, or is staggering a must?  In my mind, the continuity looks nice.

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My folks did a raised bed patio filled with sand and pea gravel, cheap and maintenance free, it's also basically fireproof which is nice if you're going to have a kamado on it (accidents and product defects happen)

 

Basically this with 4x6 lumber instead of stone facing:

 

gravel-patio-with-stone-e1379209285545.j

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I enjoy both a deck and a patio.  Here in texas it's a 12X16 screened patio cement floor and a 12X16 paver open patio/deck/porch .  In the heat of Texas the open patio get's most use however in the winter or bad weather the covered patio gets the use.

At the other home it's a 12X24 screened in patio (we consider it a primary living space with 3' eaves all the way around).  It about 12' floor to ground.  The deck is smaller, "L" shaped about 6' wide and 24' long including the bend.  It's great to hang out on, have breakfast, hunt from etc.  It is also about 10' from floor to ground on one side and 3' floor to ground on the other.

That's my experience....

So to your questions.

       I personally feel that some outdoor covered space is essential.  Make sure to include some.
 

       No matter if your deck or patio is 1' or 20' off the ground, unless it is level with the earth put rails up.  On my deck I had the top rail done in 2x12 which makes a great place to set stuff, work on or even as a place to set my breakfast plate!

 

       If you go the paver route make sure it is done right, use a barrier, frame it, sand etc or it will be a hassle.

 

       I am not super old yet but I do think about that day (not too far off) and consider it when I'm doing major projects on my property.  With that being said, if you go deck I'd reduce stairs and make it flush with the home.  You'll enjoy it more down the road plus getting things in and out will be much easier.


Hope this helps, good luck with your project!

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I have a good bit of weed block left from a raised bed I grew peppers in, and currently tomatoes.  I'm thinking that the privacy of the deck/patio being lower is becoming more of a priority now.  My neighbors can see and hear us pretty much completely as it stands. Plus, I'd save money by not having the railings.

 

This would be a complete demo and rebuild.  The current dimensions are 8x12 (or 8x10), not very big, especially with the space in front of the door being basically useless because the steps are straight out. I have a table and 4 chairs and my Akorn on it now.  It's a tight fit. I'd like to have more seating.  I'm thinking a floating deck thats 12x12 or 12x16.  That's enough room to eventually build a structure over a portion of it to stay out of the sun/rain.  I'll probably just use pressure treated wood all over since I'm somewhat frugal.  I've seen plans that just puts them on cement deck blocks.  This is also more of a starter home than a forever home.

 

Also, Lowe's has a 10% off of an entire purchase in the mover's coupons at the post office.  I'll grab one of those and skip the haggling.

 

If I did a 12X16, could I run 16 ft. boards down the entire length, or is staggering a must?  In my mind, the continuity looks nice.

 

 

I would go 12'x16'. You won't regret the larger size, but knowing you could have gone larger will annoy you if you run out of room. 

 

You can get 16' boards and make it all one run. It looks nice being one piece, 

 

I used the adjustable pier blocks to do mine. Works just fine, and frankly I've never had to adjust it. Granted, I also ran a compactor over the ground, backfilled it with sand and gravel, and packed that as well too. I haven't checked to see if it has heaved any, but I think it has settle just fine.

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I think it would be quite nice to have my cooker right outside my door on a deck. My front porch is Azek (a fire resistant composite) that is not cheap but worth it.

 

+1 for the Azek - great stuff, doesn't stain, low maintenance, well worth the initial cost.

 

I did an almost exact redo like yours in 2010.  I left it at door height since I didn't want steps going down onto the deck (though privacy was not an issue for us).  I wanted support for a hot tub, and we had a roof built over it for year round use - open all around the sides with some areas designed for sun and most of it covered/shaded.  This was one of the best things I have ever spent money on (and I had a contractor do it a significant expense).  We get so much use out of it, it's comfortable, open, accessible year round.  Its become one of our most used "rooms".  Couple of considerations for you (you may know this already):

 

You will need proper support regardless of height or whether its a floating deck.  Check your local regulations - they may specify what you can or cannot do in this regard.  Most likely you'll need to dig holes and pour concrete for pillars.  You cannot just sit supports on the concrete either - you'll need a proper mating between wood and concrete that does not allow the wood to decay (even if its pressure treated).  If you go with a plastic like Azek (and maybe its the same with some composites), be aware that 16" centers may be pushing it.  If you want the deck to feel solid rather than spongy, go with 12" centers.  You said that you want to consider a roof down the road.  I'd put the uprights in for that now, it would be a semi-major project to redo the supports to hold a roof later.  It would be better to place them now - make it like a pergola and then you could build the full roof later on.  Around here we needed building permits, foundation inspections, electrical inspections, etc.  These were not a big deal and they were to assure that the deck was fully safe.  If you search the internet, you'll find horror stories of deck failures due to DIY'er shortcuts. Even a low deck can become a hazard, so be sure to follow proper standards and building techniques. 

 

Whatever you do, I'm sure you'll enjoy your first grilling experience on that deck once its complete!

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If your exit from the house is at grade, I'd go patio.  If its elevated, I believe the ease of stepping right onto the deck makes it a better choice if you plan to use it often. I ran 20 ft'ers with no stagger.  If you stagger, I'd suggest  planning ahead and putting in extra joists at the butt ends of the deck boards so your not screwing the ends of two boards into 1 joist (which may end up splintering).  I like the natural wood look and a nice semi-transparent stain.  My deck is holding up just fine, looks like I'll need to reapply stain to the handrail and decking every 2-3 years.

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Nice suggestions, gents.  I think I'm going to go the deck route, but I still don't know about the heighth.  I get the convenience of stepping right out onto it, but again, we'd be lofted up slightly over the privacy fence, somewhat defeating the purpose of having the fence built.  I don't think I would mind walking out onto a landing, then down a step or two onto a lower deck.  I have to go down steps to get into the yard anyway, so I don't see it being a huge issue.

 

I do have a question regarding the decking positions if I decide to walk straight out onto a deck.  If I kept the 12ft width and made it 16ft long, could I run 16ft decking boards away from the house rather than 12ft boards alongside the house?  Is perpendicular a bad idea?

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I now have a 1-story, with a concrete foundation, so a deck wasn't really an option. I went pavers...

 

Having said that, between the two types of projects, hands-down deck is more enjoyable. Paver patio work is lots of excavation and somewhat mundane rock/concrete/brick work. I much prefer working with wood. YMMV.

 

Now, for the second time in less than a month, I'm about to see my new patio covered with several inches of water... LOL

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