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Back 40 Landscaping

Education Center

Patio Pavers vs Wood Decks

July 17, 2021

Patios are a great way to add a focal point to your backyard. Whether you are relaxing by a fire, or entertaining friends, it is a space that you can truly make your own. When thinking about what you want your patio to be built out of, the way it looks is not the only thing to consider. As you will read in this article, there are many factors’ homeowners should consider when choosing if you would like a wood deck, or backyard patio pavers for your space.

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Design

Wooden decks have been around forever, are classic, and can be designed in many different ways. They can be built at ground level, or built at second or third floor levels. This is a great option if homeowners are thinking of building a new deck off of their bedroom or kitchen. Wooden decking can be customized by changing the way the deck boards run, or installing a unique looking railing. You can paint or stain the wood whatever color you want!  If you are no longer in love with the color of your deck, it is very easy to repaint it, which is a huge bonus as this can be done whenever. If you are looking for a natural look you can leave the decking materials as is. Although it seems like the possibilities are endless, there are some design limitations when it comes to using wood. Lumber only comes in certain lengths, sizes, and shapes, so the design of your wood deck is limited to the material’s physical properties. Wood can also age your home, as more and more people are opting for brick pavers over wood.

 

Hardscape patios are made out of concrete or stone, and typically sit at grade level. They can be built anywhere on your property, such as by a garden or pool.  You can pretty much choose any design, shape, and layout for the pavers that you want, and can incorporate curves or waves into your patio design. Pavers come in many different colors, and sizes, giving you endless option for your patio design. The downside to stone patios are that they are only suitable for ground level applications. This is because the patio paver base is sand and gravel.

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Aesthetics

For anyone who has been dreaming of the perfect outdoor living space, what your patio looks like is probably the number one thing that you have thought about. When choosing what material would work best for your patio build, look at what your backyard looks like right now, and what your house and siding look like. If you are wanting your space to be a bit more rustic, or have a classic look, wood may be the way you want to go for your landscape design. Brick pavers integrate better with other hardscaped outdoor elements, so if you have a retaining wall, driveway, or a sidewalk made with pavers, brick may be more aesthetically pleasing to your space. Keep in mind that if you plan on having a fire pit or water feature on your new deck, you may want one material over the other depending on the style you are going for. Contrary to popular belief, both wood and brick can bring a warm look to your space. Brick pavers are typically not considered “warm”, but warmth can be added to the outdoor space by adding pops of color, outdoor rugs, and soft lighting.

 

Maintenance

One thing to consider when choosing what material you would like your patio to be made out of, is what maintenance is required. Most of us are busy and looking for a low maintenance option. Although as with most things both materials will require upkeep, wood is much more high maintenance.  Because wood is an organic, porous material, it is susceptible to decomposition, the weather, and requires quite a bit of upkeep to prevent the wood from rotting. Your wooden deck will need to be cleaned, and protective coatings like stains, varnish, and sealer will need to be applied at least once a year. Even with proper maintenance the wooden board will eventually warp.  Warping and aging deck boards will need to be replaced periodically to keep the integrity and durability of the deck.

 

Patio pavers can be washed each year with soap and water if needed, and sealed for the first couple of years after they have been installed (if you are using a patio paver sealer, they should be washed first). If the pavers need to be pressure washed, the paver joint sand that is in between the pavers that lock them together may need to be refilled, depending on if the sand was removed while the pavers were being pressure washed.

 

Lifespan

Good news is regular maintenance of both wood decking materials and brick pavers can help prolong your patios life, but eventually wood decks will need to be replaced. When exposed to the elements, wood will split, crack and are prone to warping. Stains for wood decks will slow down this process, but you cannot stop weathering from occurring, so your wood decks lifespan is affected by this exposure. Even treated lumber can be affected by moisture that happens in the air from rain or snow, and when exposed to moisture, wood naturally rots. Most wooden decks will last 10+ years depending on the type of wood that is used, and how well the deck is taken care of.

 

Brick pavers are impervious to the weather as sunlight, rain and snow do not affect the pavers. They can also withstand heavy foot traffic from parties and children and pets playing, and the weight of outdoor furniture, bbq’s, and whatever else sits on your patio. Brick patio pavers  will last centuries if  installed properly as bricks cannot warp or rot.

 

How to decide what type of material to use?

When choosing what material will work best for your patio build, homeowners should think about their property and lifestyle and if they are going for a natural look for their new deck. Consider how you will use your space, and how much upkeep you are willing to do each year to keep your patio looking new. Wood may be right for you if you are planning on moving in a couple of years and don’t mind that the patio may need to be replaced with a new deck, or if you are wanting to have a deck high off of the ground. If you think that your patio is going to be used quite a bit and have people frequently walking on it, or you already have pavers as part of your landscape, maybe brick pavers are the way to go.

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Whatever style you choose, consider the longevity and value of each material, and what design look you are going for, and pretty soon you will be enjoying a new patio that you always dreamt of having!

 

Interested in having a patio installed but not sure what to budget for? Read How much does a patio cost?

 

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