Are you wondering whether to build a wooden deck or lay a stone patio in your backyard? Deck builders are often asked whether wood or stone provides the most affordable, adaptable and durable outdoor living space. Answers vary depending on a variety of factors, but wooden decks remain the most popular choice for many areas of the eastern United States.
Pros of Wooden Decks
Stone patios come with limited design options, while wooden decks can be adapted to suit almost any property. Professional deck builders create multilevel decks, wooden wraparound porches and on-ground platform decks, all available with your choice of deck features and accessories.
Wooden decks can be built at nearly any height, with or without stairs to grade. Using concrete piers and pressure treated lumber framing, your deck contractor can design and build a deck from your first, second or third floor. Cantilever systems can help to reduce clutter posts and framing, but the traditional style of deck construction provides the sturdiest option for most homeowners.
You can easily change the look and feel of your wooden deck by adding stain or any number of affordable accessories. Stain or paint helps to distinguish your deck and coordinate the décor of this outdoor area, and it can also be changed when trends or tastes shift.
Wood tends to be more affordable than stone. Lumber carries a lower price tag than pavers and natural stone, and labor to handle that material also tends to be less. Project pricing depends on your property and the amount of prep work required to build the deck or patio, but in general you can expect to pay less for a wood deck of comparable size.
Cons of Wooden Decks
Natural stone provides unmatched longevity. Flagstone patios, for example, can last more than a century. Wood cannot stand up to the elements with the same durability. The lifespan of wood depends on species and type of exposure, but you can expect to get only 20 to 25 years from even the most dependable wood species.
Decks offer some design limitations, mainly in size and shape. Larger decks require excessive framing, and grading or landscaping may not allow for that many posts. Smaller or narrow decks may also be difficult to build within the typical framing requirements. Curved edges and rounded shapes are very difficult to capture with wooden decks, although a skilled deck builder may be able to create rounded shapes using cedar wood.
Wood can present splinters, and may be less suitable for pets and little children. Treated wood dries out quickly, with checking, cracking and splitting throughout the material. Stain slows that process down, but wood’s natural response to the environment cannot be avoided.
Deck builders recommend wooden decks based on overall value and adaptability. Although stone patios work in certain circumstances, wood decks offer most Virginia homeowners an affordable and attractive outdoor living space that can be easily customized. Consider different designs and think about how this backyard feature would add to your property and lifestyle.