Friday, August 31, 2012

Deck vs. Patio

As you know from my last post, we recently replaced our deck with a patio, that got me thinking about what is better-- deck or patio. Here's a run down of the pros and cons of each:

Price: Overall, patios are usually less expensive. Patios range from $10-$25/sqf depending on material and features while decks are usually $25-$50/sqf. Decks also have the added requirement of permits. Most counties require permits for decks which are additional costs and additional time.

Material: Decks are generally made with pressure treated wood or a composite material like TREX. TREX comes with a 20-25 year warranty while pressure treated wood has no warranty but will generally last approx. 15-20 years. Patios that are built with pavers usually carry a lifetime warranty. In general paver patios require little maintenance and if installed correctly, will not need to be replaced. Concrete patios generally do not have a warranty and will usually crack within the first five years because concrete is stiff and does not move with the variations of the earth.
WINNER: Patio (paver)

Versatility: Patios require a level surface to be installed so grading or retaining walls may be necessary if your yard is on a slope. Decks accommodate slopes and are suitable for high elevations. However, decks may not hold up in areas that experience extreme weather.

Style: This is up to you. Both patio pavers and composite come in a variety of colors and styles to match your design aesthetic. You can also use stamped concrete for patios or stain pressure treated wood decks. Both come with a variety of features that can be added on such as built in lighting, fire pits, pergolas, outdoor kitchens, etc.

So patio or deck? If you are just looking to add an outdoor area to your backyard, I recommend a patio. It lasts longer, has a better warranty and requires less maintenance. However, if you need an elevated outdoor space, a deck is really your only option. Both decks and patios have their appropriate uses, its up to you to take the pros and cons into consideration and choose what works best for your home and family.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Patio Story

The shoemaker's kids may have to go barefoot, but the landscaper's family WILL have a beautifully landscaped yard.

It's been over a year since we bought our house, but we are just beginning to tackle the outdoor projects that we had intended to from the start. I wanted to share our experiences with you because I think a lot of people buy a home and then get overwhelmed with all the expenses and unexpected projects that pop up.

For us, the main issue was mold in the basement. We had the mold remediation done before we closed on the house and shortly thereafter, we replaced the drywall and the carpeting. 3 months later, the mold was back. Although, the realtor had described our basement as "the best man cave ever," in the ad, the mold issue made it seem more like a regular old cave, complete with crickets and cobwebs.

Our experience told us that if the mold came back we probably had a drainage issue in our yard and most likely a crack in our foundation. The solution? Waterproofing.

Waterproofing is a process where we excavate the dirt by the side of the house about 8 ft. or to the bottom of the foundation. Any cracks or holes in the foundation are patched and then we apply hydrostatic tar and rubber membrane. You can also install a drainage system to make the waterproofing more effective. It's also important to compact the soil on top of the waterproofed area, since excavated soil will sink over time. Just as we had expected we found several holes in our foundation once we excavated.

Unfortunately, in our case, the side of the house with the mold was also the side that had a deck right above it so in order to waterproof, we would have to completely remove the deck. The deck itself was tinted green from built up algae with peeling paint and rotting wood. So- not a huge loss, but it did leave us without and outdoor space to enjoy.

Our next step was to build a patio. We decided on a paver patio because the pavers have a lifetime warranty and are very durable compared to a wood deck or a slab of concrete. They also have a sophisticated look. Although we didn't use permeable pavers because of the larger price tag, (even though we are in the business, we still have to pay for materials!) we did use recycled pavers. We also installed a French drain, to help prevent erosion, run-off and water pooling (we live at the bottom of a hill).

You may have read my post about how to "pimp your patio," well we took my advice. We installed a sitting wall, covered our grill in stone, put in a fire pit.

While we still need to fix the interior. I can tell you the outside portion of our home looks a lot better and it makes me feel so much better to finally eradicate the cause of the mold.

The other cool thing about this process is that I get to be the customer for once. It definitely gives me a different perspective of our company. But I will say, that unlike other customers, I didn't have to shop around or worry whether or not the workers would do a good job. I am completely confident in our crew. I know that this is what we do and we do it well. I hope you can take confidence in our company too.

If you have any questions about what the process is like, what to expect etc. feel free to ask me. It is always a big decision to have work done on your home, but if it is done right, you will feel so much better about where you live.