4 Hot Tips on Comparing Wood Outdoor Decking and Backyard Patio Options

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As I write this post for HIR, spring is moving right along and summer is in sight. Once the lazy, outdoor deckinghazy days are here we must ask the eternal question: do you go for outdoor decking or start looking up those backyard patio designs? Yes, wooden deck or brick patio? That outdoor living space is so great to have in the summer, but between deck and patio what’s the way to go. Here are some hot tips on what you need to consider when thinking about laying patio stones or considering your wood deck options.

4 Hot Tips on Comparing Wood Outdoor Decking and Backyard Patio Options

The first step in considering your deck and patio options is an evaluation of the space you have, the proper selection of materials, and basic construction knowledge. Take the following considerations for a quality outdoor room.

1. Considerations for Brick Patios:  For a DIY project, brick, natural stone and cement pavers are the main paving choices in materials when you’re looking to build your own patio and seriously thinking about backyard patio designs. All three of these options will be installed in sand. Irregularly shaped natural stone is the biggest challenge to work with, as it can be like a giant outdoor jigsaw puzzle. Start your patio project with an assessment of you allotted space and planning for necessary drainage. Proper excavation is essential. The most common paver patio mistakes come from not properly prepping the base. See an earlier post to Home Improvement Rocks for detailed instruction on how to build your own patio.

2. Considerations for Wooden Decks: A lot of considerations go into what your wooden deck might cost and how it will look. There are many choices of materials available. Wood decks are less expensive, but can be troublesome to maintain. Those with the budget for it might consider instead going for composite decking, a high tech alternative. One of the most popular composite decking products is Fiberon Decking. Whatever you choose, though, pressure treated lumber is generally the standard for construction of the floor framing and support structure of your deck.

3. Wood Deck Options:   If you’re working with wood, you should think through your options. Nailing surely is the easier option, but even galvanized nails may leave stains and rust bleeds on the wood. Also, as the wood expands and contracts, there is the potential for the nails to pull out. Loose boards could result, an effect that is both unsightly and potentially dangerous. A better, more durable, option is to use stainless steel screws. Use a power drill with the right tip to drive them just below the deck’s surface. This results in a more visually appealing and safer deck. Being stainless, the screws will not rust and stain the finished surface of the wood. Also, unlike laying patio stones, one of the most critical areas of deck building is flashing. Poor work in this area of construction can lead to flooding problems in the future. Pressure treated lumber can be very corrosive and cause fasteners and key deck hardware to fail. For a safe structure, use a high tech flashing that prevents corrosion and joist rot caused by water accumulation under deck boards.

4. Deck and Patio Building Permits:  Building your own outdoor room, whether you decide to go with one of the wood decking options or choose among the many available backyard patio designs, it can be a great DIY project. For those who do not have the time for this, however, I urge you to read an earlier Home Improvement Rocks post on choosing contractors. Whichever way you go, though, be sure to get the building permit right. Where or not you agree with me that it’s preposterous that the municipal government tell you how to build on your own property, the fact is if you’re planning to sell the home, your local zoning or code enforcement inspector may be contacted for an inspection and you’ll want to be sure that you’ve done everything to-code so that you don’t risk losing a good offer on the house.

Hope these 4 hot tips on what you need to consider when thinking about laying patio stones or considering your wood deck options has been of help in giving you some food for thought about how to approach your project for outdoor decking (or patioing! If that’s a word.)


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