The Benefits of Concrete Patio

Concrete Patio Extension with Built in Step - Local Concrete Construction - Bankston Concrete Construction - San Antonio TexasAdding a concrete patio can increase your home’s property value

Adding a deck or concrete patio to your home is one of the best ways to increase the value of your property. It can also become a favorite family gathering place for barbeques, birthdays and fully enjoying your outdoor living space.

If you’re considering adding a deck or patio to your home, there are a number of options to consider. One of the main choices you’ll need to make is what type of construction material to use. In this article we’ll break down the pros and cons of a concrete patio vs. a wood deck vs. a composite deck.

If you’re limited on time, a summary of the pros and cons can be found here (link to summary section).

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Concrete Patio

Stamped and Stained Concrete Patio - Bankston Concrete Construction - San Antonio Texas

 

Stamped and Stained Concrete Flagstone Look

The popularity of concrete patios has grown over the years as more and more people have realized the benefits and the concrete design options have expanded.

Advantages

1. Lowest Lifetime Cost

One of the primary advantages of a concrete patio is that it requires little to no maintenance and lasts much longer than wood or composite material. This means the cost you’ll pay over the lifetime of your home for the patio is much lower.

For example, the lifetime cost of a maintenance free concrete patio that lasts 70 years is likely five to ten times less than a wood deck that needs regular maintenance and has to be replaced every 10 years.

2. Extremely Durable

Concrete is extremely durable and will last a lifetime when installed correctly. The durability advantage of concrete is even more prominent in areas with extreme temperatures that wreak havoc on wood and composite materials.

Other durability advantages of concrete over a traditional wood deck include:

  • No wood rotting
  • No termites
  • No splinters
  • No warping, sagging or broken boards

3. Less Rodents, Spiders and Weeds

One issue many homeowners have with wood and composite decks is having spiders and rodents (ex. mice and rats) living in the open space underneath their decks. This same issue doesn’t exist with concrete patios as there are no open spaces or cavities between the deck and the ground.

Weeds growing between the slats of wood and composite decks is also a common and frustrating issue that can be avoided by choosing concrete.

4. Unlimited Style, Color and Design Options- Stamped and Stained Concrete

Stamped and Stained Concrete Patio Slab - Bankston Concrete Construction - San Antonio Texas

 

Brick Look Stamped Concrete

One of the lesser known benefits of a concrete patio is the unlimited design options. Unlike wood or composite material, concrete can be stamped with a wide array of patterns (ex. cobblestone look, brick look, tile look, wood plank look, etc.). The stamping options can be combined with staining of any color to further customize the appearance.

Concrete is a very versatile material and can be poured to fit any design and any shape. This gives you the option to have curved edges, built in steps, multiple tiers and anything else your heart desires.

5. Extremely Easy to Maintain

One of the biggest benefits of concrete patios is that they require little to no maintenance. Many wood decks have to be stripped, re-stained/re-painted and re-sealed on a very regular basis (often yearly in extreme climates). This is not only costly but it’s also not an enjoyable way to spend your time.

Many concrete patios require no maintenance while some stained concrete patios require minimal maintenance to re-seal the concrete.

Bankston Concrete Construction worked on this concrete patio extension with walkways and a parking pad making this backyard more convenient and accessible

Disadvantages

1. Challenging as a Do It Yourself (DIY) Project

Of the different types of material options, a concrete patio is the most difficult for a novice homeowner to install correctly. Many DIY issues arise from not preparing the ground properly, not using adequate reinforcement materials and poor planning.

Stopping halfway through a deck installation and picking up the next weekend may work fine for a wood deck but it will likely cause issues with a concrete patio.

2. Higher Upfront Cost than a Wood Deck

The initial cost of a concrete patio is typically higher than a wood deck. This difference in cost is more than recouped over time by the lower maintenance costs and longer lifespan of a concrete patio (see advantage #1).

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Composite Deck

 

Composite decking material is much less durable than concrete and more expensive than wood.

Composite decking material is typically made with polyethylene plastic and wood fibers like sawdust. Composite decks have a number of advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Advantages

1. Moderate Upfront Cost

The cost of composite decking material varies by manufacturer. Typically, the upfront cost of a composite deck is more than a wood deck and slightly less than a concrete patio.

2. Less Challenging as a Do It Yourself (DIY) Project

Compared to a concrete patio, composite decks are less challenging as a DIY project and similar to the challenges of installing a wood deck.

3. No Maintenance/Low Maintenance

One of the biggest benefits of a composite deck is that they require little to no maintenance.

Disadvantages

1. High Lifetime Cost

Composite decks cost more to initially install than wood decks but typically last longer. Compared to concrete patios, the initial installation cost of composite decks can be slightly lower or roughly the same depending on the material. Composite decks don’t last as long as concrete patios. This puts the lifetime cost of a composite deck lower than a wood deck in many cases and higher than a concrete patio.

2. Moderately Durable

Composite decking is much less durable than a concrete but more durable than wood. The durability of composite decking varies widely by manufacturer and extreme temperatures can cause warping, sagging, fading and chemical leaching.

3. Rodents and Weeds

One issue many homeowners have with composite decks is having rodents (ex. rats and mice) living in the open space underneath their deck. Weeds growing between the slats of composite decks is also a common issue when the decking material does not fit tightly together.

4. Limited Style, Color and Design Options

The variety of composite decking styles and colors is much more limited than concrete.  The overall design of composite decks also has limitations compared to concrete. For example, it’s difficult to build a composite deck with built-in curved steps and curved sides while this look is much easier to accomplish with concrete.

5. Heat Retention

One of the top complaints and disadvantages of composite decks is that they become extremely hot underfoot in warm weather and direct sunlight. The extreme heat retention of composite decking often makes it unsuitable for bare feet. The heat radiated from the composite decking can also make it less enjoyable to be on even hours after the sun has gone down.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Wood Deck

 

Wood decks require consistent maintenance and don’t last very long

Wood decks are typically built with pressure treated pine, cedar or redwood. While wood has been a popular choice for decking material, it comes with some distinct disadvantages to a concrete patio or a composite deck.

Advantages

1. Lower Upfront Cost than a Concrete Patio or a Composite Deck

Wood decks typically have a lower upfront cost than other material options for a deck/patio. The actual cost varies widely by the type of wood selected (ex. pressure treated yellow pine vs redwood).

2. Less Challenging as a Do It Yourself (DIY) Project

Compared to a concrete patio, wood decks are less challenging as a DIY project and similar to the challenges of installing a composite deck.

Disadvantages

1. Highest Lifetime Cost

One of the primary disadvantages of a wood deck is that it requires consistent maintenance and doesn’t last as long as a concrete patio or composite deck. This means you’ll pay a higher overall cost after factoring in maintenance and replacing the deck.

For example, the lifetime cost of a wood deck that requires regular maintenance and has to be replaced every 10 years is likely five to ten times higher than a maintenance free concrete patio that lasts 70 years.

2. Less Durable

Wood is much less durable than a concrete or composite deck. The lack of durability is even more prominent in areas with extreme temperatures that wreak havoc on wood causing warping, sagging, rotting, fading and broken boards.

Other durability concerns with wood are splinters and insect issues (ex. termites and carpenter ants). Termites are especially concerning with wood decks as termites attracted to a wood deck can easily spread to the house causing significant structural damage.

3. Rodents and Weeds

One issue many homeowners have with wood is having rodents (ex. rats and mice) living in the open space underneath their deck. Weeds growing between the slats of wood decks is also a common issue that frustrate many homeowners.

4. Limited Style, Color and Design Options

The variety of wood styles and colors is much more limited than composite decking or concrete.  The overall design of wood decks also has limitations compared to concrete. For example, it’s very difficult to build a wood deck with curved sides and built-in curved steps while this look is much easier to accomplish with concrete.

5. Requires Consistent Maintenance

One of the biggest drawbacks to a wood deck is the ongoing cost and labor involved in maintaining the wood. Transparent stains typically have to be applied to wood decks on a yearly basis. This is a costly and time-consuming process that takes the joy out of owning a deck.

Summary of Pros and Cons

Concrete Patio

Pros:

  • Lowest lifetime cost
  • Extremely Durable
    • No wood rotting
    • No termites
    • No splinters
    • No warping, sagging or broken boards
  • Less Rodents and Weeds
  • Unlimited Style, Color and Design Options – Stamped and Stained Concrete
  • Extremely Easy to Maintain

Cons:

  • Challenging as a do it yourself (DIY) project
  • Higher upfront cost than a wood deck

Composite Deck

Pros:

  • Moderate Upfront Cost
  • Less Challenging as a Do It Yourself (DIY) Project
  • No Maintenance/Low Maintenance

Cons:

  • High Lifetime Cost
  • Moderately Durable
  • Rodents and Weeds
  • Limited Style, Color and Design Options
  • Heat Retention

Wood Deck

Pros:

  • Lower Upfront Cost than a Concrete Patio or a Composite Deck
  • Less Challenging as a Do It Yourself (DIY) Project

Cons:

  • Highest Lifetime Cost
  • Less Durable – Susceptible to:
    • Wood rot
    • Warping, sagging, fading and broken boards
    • Splinters
    • Termites
  • Rodents and Weeds
  • Limited Style, Color and Design Options
  • Requires Consistent Maintenance

Concrete Stamped and Stained Patio - Bankston Concrete Construction - San Antonio Texas

 

Concrete patios have many advantages over wood and composite decks

No matter which material you choose, adding a deck or patio to your home is one of the best ways to increase your property value while gaining enjoyable outdoor living space. If you’re considering a concrete patio based on its distinct advantages but aren’t sure about the price, your best bet is to request a free estimate from a highly rated local concrete contractor.

Bankston Concrete Construction San Antonio, TX - Concrete Contractor - Logo

 

Locally owned in San Antonio, TX with over 50 five-star reviews

At Bankston Concrete Construction, we specialize in custom residential concrete patios. With over 50 five-star reviews, we’re proud to be the highest rated concrete construction company in San Antonio and the surrounding area. We’d love to provide you a free estimate on a concrete patio that you’ll love for years to come.

Give us a call at 210-845-4240 or request an estimate online.

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