Trend away from wooden decks?

clg7067(z6 OH)March 11, 2011

I was wondering if the pros noticed a trend away from wooden deck structure to patios and hardscape.

I know hardscape is expensive, but so are decks and their constant maintenance. I'm just wondering if, when the time comes, I should just have my deck torn out and have a nice paver patio installed.

BTW, my deck is less than 3 feet off the ground.

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Hey my friend, think this way. Why are there decks when patios where the desire? Decks function to deal with the grade change that patios have to build extravagant steps and landings to achieve. Three feet is a lot. It's not about fashion but about function.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 9:05AM
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Exactly. It's not an either/or situation. It depends on the specifics of the site and the architecture of the structure -- in some cases, a wood deck is the most appropriate choice; in others a flat patio or terrace. And in yet others, a combination of both.

If you are concerned about maintenance of a wooden deck, when it comes time to replace, consider one that is made from recycled wood products. Not only are these more friendly to the environment but they require virtually NO maintenance. They are more expensive to construct initially but that is made up by reduced maintenance expense over the lifetime of the deck.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 12:33PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I suspect style is a bit of an issue though. I think the OP is right that previously, where you could do either, you'd do a deck.

I was recently on the website of a decorative concrete company and they showed a slide show of a waterfront wood deck they'd replaced with a concrete patio. Apropos the comment from LA above, they had to do a LOT of filling before they poured and surfaced the deck.

Which brings up one thing that I kind of like to think about with whatever hardscaping I do: reversibility. I like to think that if I ever change my mind about what I've done in my yard, or if a future owner wants something different, it won't be too hard to change it. All my paving stone, flagstone, and rock walls are dry laid, and could be lifted and removed with almost no trace left (partly thanks to not needing a full crush base in my climate, but even that is, I think, malleable). Same with a wood deck - if someone in the future doesn't want it, it's actually easy to remove. Concrete is, of course the dividing line between reversible and irreversible for the average person. So as long as you don't concrete in your flagstones or pavers, you'd keep that advantage.

With respect to maintenance, paver patios aren't perfect. They can develop moss, weed, or ant problems. If not well done they can develop sinkage and heave. They can get stained from leaf fall.

So I would suggest you do whichever you really prefer, and leave trends to go where they will. Although of course our taste is always affected by trends whether we admit it or not. I really LIKED big shoulder pads in the '80s...


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 1:27PM
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clg7067(z6 OH)

I'm going to talk to a designer about replacing my HUGE deck with a small 2 terrace deck, with a concrete paver patio. Another advantage of a concrete patio, is the dog's nails will need less trimming. :)

My lot is very level in that area, and the deck is so low that there's less than a foot from the bottom of the joists to the ground. I think a patio is a good option for the yard.

I agree with Karin that I don't want a permanent poured concrete patio. But I will need a base for the pavers, so that part I will contract out to the landscape company.

Thanks for all the comments!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 11:48AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

It doesn't need to be either/or, I design a lot of elevated terraces built with a pressure treated wood substructure, and then plywood and waterproofing membrane so that I can then either use tile, slate or stone as the finish course. It acts like a deck in being elevated, but has the ease of maintenance of a patio, and they are also easier to keep clean when you have a lot of overhanging trees. I seldom do wood decks anymore if I can persuade the client to do the above. Longer lasting, less maintenance, and a beautiful look.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 9:11PM
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The aesthetic analysis is that a patio is generally in the garden while a deck is generally separate from it both through elevation and connectivity to the house (no separation).

The practical analysis is accurately covered in several posts above.

My question for this particular project is whether the patio is going to be "in" the garden or just an on the ground extention of the deck. If it is the latter, you'd be chopping your usable space into two smaller spaces for one. If it is the former, be careful to design in the ability to landscape between the patio and the deck in order to put the patio into the landscape.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 7:33AM
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clg7067(z6 OH)

Okay, I'll post my BASE plan. This is my starting point for discussion with the designer, who is coming over tomorrow night.

The orange and brown area that says Terraced Deck is the proposed new deck. I need 3 steps to get to ground level. I want the first level to be large enough that I don't fall off it when I step out. I think I'll be adjusting it to add jus the 2 steps and not a second terrace with one additional step.

To the far right is the street. The yard slopes downward from the point of the "arborvitae" for about 40 feet.

Anything that is white will likely be lawn.

I need the tree on the left (west side) to supply some shade on summer evenings.

Oh, the little brown line on the yellow line is the patio doors from my house. And the light grey lines are the outline of my current deck with is 2 levels.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 5:20PM
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clg7067(z6 OH)

My current deck. Just a photo I grabbed from photobucket.

I spend a lot of time outside with the dogs. Because of the height of the deck, I have to walk out to the right and sit closer to the street on a bench when I through the ball. I'm old enough that I prefer to sit.

If I make a patio level with the ground, we can move our activity closer to the house. And of course, the wearing down of the dog's nails on a hard surface when they go tearing out of the house. ;)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 5:24PM
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clg7067(z6 OH)

Looking east.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 5:32PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Link to a photo of a raised terrace with wood substructure and travertine pavers, in lieu of a typical wood deck.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:55PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

clg7067, what an attractive view you have to the east, with all those trees!

Perhaps I'm not understanding the location of the barbecue correctly, but ... is there enough room in front of the barbecue to stand on the level of the existing deck, or would you have to stand on the new terraced deck to use the barbecue, or will the barbecue be moved?

If there's enough space on the barbecue level to stand there, will you be in any danger of tripping if you step backwards? Also, is the barbecue the type that has cupboards underneath, which you would have to step back to access?

Disclaimer: I haven't barbecued anything for a number of decades. (Broke the Previous Owner's heart when he proudly showed off the gas connection on the deck, and I said I wouldn't be using it.)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 10:48AM
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clg7067(z6 OH)

LOL! I don't barbeque either, but I want to have a space planned for it for the next people, or if I ever decide to buy one. The plan for the BBQ is to have it on the patio pavers, but near the new deck, and near the table (which is under the arbor). I'm planning to address that, and more, with the designer tonight.

Looking east, some of those trees are in my yard. They are honeylocust, which is why I like honeylocust. I should have planted more trees by the back (north) fence. But I did plant a river birch (to block some of the view from the neighbor's deck), 2 dwarf apple trees and a grapevine.

I'm going to building a small pergola-type arbor near the back fence for the grapevine soon. The neighbors back there do have a small veggie garden, so I don't want to block all their light.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 4:05PM
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