Angie's List: Patio vs. Deck - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Angie's List: Patio vs. Deck

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A lot of us enjoy getting outdoors and entertaining during the summer and often that means time on a deck or patio. So how do you choose? Both can provide an outdoor extension of your living space, but subtle differences between the two could make one better for your needs than another.

Choosing whether to build a deck or patio deserves careful attention. Either can give you years of enjoyment if designed correctly. Patios are best for flatter terrain, experts say, because you won't need a lot of structural engineering to put them in.

"Paving stones for many years were more smaller formatted, meaning size and shape of the stones and so forth," patio contractor Kevin Schluchter said. "You have very traditional looks that are used in historical areas, like a 4x8 type brick or paver, those are no expanding out to larger format pieces where you can get pieces that are large as 24x36 for an individual stone. So people seem to be trending more towards having larger formatted pieces in general."

Decks can be installed on all kinds of terrain.

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

When planning a deck or patio, Angie's List says your first consideration should be your budget.

"Figure out how much square footage your looking to add and then price it out accordingly with each different type, " Angie Hicks, with Angie's List said. "Keep 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."

A poorly installed deck or patio can be an unsightly blight on your landscape so be sure to choose a licensed contractor and never sign a contract without reading the find print.

Before you build, you'll also want to look at the way weather affects your property. 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.

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