Is Decking Cheaper Than Paving? (Key Differences)

If you are looking for a way to improve your property, you may be considering having a deck or patio installed. Both decks and paved patios allow for the creation of a relaxing atmosphere outdoors where you can enjoy the fresh air and entertain your guests.

But which one do you choose? Is decking cheaper than paving? Is decking better than paving? What are the differences between decking and paving?

While decking does tend to be cheaper, it’s important to take a closer look at both options to determine which one may be best suited for your property, as well as other factors that should be considered before building.

A Quick Look at Decking and Paving

Pros and Cons of Decking

  • Pro: Tends to be cheaper
  • Pro: Looks natural and offers character
  • Pro: Versatile
  • Con: Lower lifespan
  • Con: Higher maintenance needs (usually)
  • Con: May weather

Pros and Cons of Patios

  • Pro: Durable
  • Pro: Requires little maintenance
  • Pro: Great for all climates
  • Con: Longer installation period
  • Con: Weeds may grow through the joints

Cost Considerations

Price is always a factor to consider with anything, so it comes as no surprise that the cost will play a role in your decision for an outdoor space. Homeowners are constantly looking for ways to save money, and because of this, a common question is if decking is cheaper than paving.

There are numerous factors that play into the cost of decks and paving. One of the biggest cost considerations is the material being used in the construction of the deck or patio. The higher quality of material used, the higher the costs you will pay.

With decks, wood is the cheapest option. Softwoods tend to be cheaper than hardwood. Composite materials are higher quality and more durable, even though they are more expensive. With paving, gravel or concrete are popular and affordable options, but stone and brick pavers offer a higher-end look and last longer. Even more expensive options for patios include porcelain and graphite.

Maintenance Considerations

You also can’t forget maintenance costs. Regardless of type, pavers won’t require much maintenance. However, there are some pavers, such as stone, that will require sealing to ensure they are protected from moisture.

Depending on the material used, decking can be low- or high-maintenance. For instance, while wood is the most affordable material to build a deck upfront, it is not nearly as inexpensive when it comes to routine maintenance and upkeep. You’ll pay more initially for composite or polymer decking, but little maintenance is necessary to maintain the material – and it will last for a very long time.

Property Value Considerations

When a home improvement project is being completed on a home, the value that the project will add to the home should be considered. This is particularly true if you plan on selling in the near future. Regardless of whether you plan to place your home on the market, it is a good idea to consider the return on investment when making your choice of decking or paving.

Both options can improve your property’s curb appeal, which increases its value. However, in terms of ROI, decking is often the better choice. A deck has the potential to add roughly 70% ROI, whereas a paved patio is about 55%.

Close up of wooden decking

Style Considerations

One of the biggest differences in decking and paving is that decks are typically elevated and paving patios are ground level. These differences should be considered ahead of time.

For instance, paving may be a good idea if you’re looking for something to blend in with other elements that will be used in the area, such as a grill or fire pit. However, if your yard is sloped or has challenging terrain, a deck may be the better choice. A deck is also a great idea when you are interested in adding a balcony area to a second-floor room.

Another style consideration to consider is the aesthetics of the space. This requires considering the exterior of your home and whether you want a more traditional or modern look. Paving tends to be the more traditional option. They complement older homes well, as well as cottages and barn-style homes.

Decking is often preferred when looking for a more modern look, though paved patios can work well here too. Decks are modernized by creating multiple levels and/or mixing materials like cable or glass railings. Black metal railings with light wood decking is a popular and attractive modern deck design.

Installation Considerations

The installation of pavers can be quite complex, and because of this, it costs more. Some homeowners attempt to build their own paved areas, but without experience, it may be difficult to do this. The same is true for wood decks.

However, decks tend to be easier to install than pavers. Pavers require considerable effort and take longer than wood. With wood decks, though, more tools will be needed, but you’ll benefit from a faster and simpler installation process.

For people who have tools and some experience in the construction industry, building a deck is often preferred over paving a patio. Keep in mind, though, that permits may be required from the city to build a deck.

Final Thoughts

There are pros and cons to both decks and patios. Is one truly better than the other? It honestly just depends on its use, your outdoor space goals, maintenance costs, upfront expenses, and overall layout. However, decking does tend to be cheaper than paving, especially up front.

With that being said, what works for one family may not necessarily be the best option for you and your family. Take into consideration your short- and long-term outdoor goals to help you decide whether to opt for a deck or a paved patio.

If you are interested in improving your home’s curb appeal and value with a new deck, contact us today for a consultation.

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