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Paver patio vs traditional deck

  1. #1
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Paver patio vs traditional deck


    We have a 12x16 deck off the back of the house which is a single story ranch. Slider door is probably 4-5 steps up off the ground. The current deck is falling apart and is generally just weathered and ugly. We are looking at two options for replacement.

    One- resurface and stick with the traditional deck. Framing and posts are in good shape and can be re-used. Best quote we got was 5500 for resurfacing with trex(azek, timbertech etc are also options) deck boards, white vinyl railings and black balusters. The bottom would be finished with white lattice. My parents just had this done and it looks fantastic. The guy had real attention to detail and did a really nice job. Right now I have 3 pretty good quotes from different builders, all seem fair and come in around the same price.

    Two- Eliminate the deck and build a paver patio. Being that it's at ground level, we would be able to go out a few feet in each direction since we have more space to work with. It would be about 14x18. Quote was for a 3 brick design laid randomly so it creates no pattern. The perimeter of the patio would be built up to seating height and finished with caps to allow more seating when we have friends over to gather protest. I would build a set of stairs going up to the slider and get some kind of pergola-in-a-box or something semi-permanent to create some shade.

    Some additional details- We have very sandy soil. It drains straight through. I can water my lawn at 8am and it will be dry as a bone at 10am. I don't think heaving or movement would be an issue, but definitely seeking input on this. Our yard is pretty much completely flat, boring, all grass.

    Either project would be hired out. I don't have the time to tackle a project this big and don't want to learn as I go.

    I am leaning towards the paver patio but if anyone has any input or experience I am all ears. The paver patio came in about 2k less. I don't think the price difference will really make or break our decision, it's more of what we want as a finished space.

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    Last edited by 01xj; 08-12-20 at 03:22 PM.

  2. #2
    TWINS! xrocket21's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    IMO, pavers shift and look shitty after 2 winters. I dont care how well you layer sand, compact, whatever, under it. For a patio, I like more natural stone with crushed stone between, that way when it inevitably shifts, it doesnt look terrible.

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  3. #3
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Quote Originally Posted by 01xj View Post

    Some additional details- We have very sandy soil. It drains straight through. I can water my lawn at 8am and it will be dry as a bone at 10am. I don't think heaving or movement would be an issue, but definitely seeking input on this. Our yard is pretty much completely flat, boring, all grass.

    Either project would be hired out. I don't have the time to tackle a project this big and don't want to learn as I go.

    I am leaning towards the paver patio but if anyone has any input or experience I am all ears.
    sounds like you have good soil for pavers, unless you have a heaving problem from drainage in winter,

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  4. #4
    Lifer gixxer72's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Quote Originally Posted by xrocket21 View Post
    IMO, pavers shift and look shitty after 2 winters. I dont care how well you layer sand, compact, whatever, under it. For a patio, I like more natural stone with crushed stone between, that way when it inevitably shifts, it doesnt look terrible.
    The freeze/thaw shifting would be my concern too. The issue with crushed stone is it sucks to walk on.

    Rather than pavers could you pour a patio slab and have it textured/painted to your taste? Its a pretty popular option out here for reviving old cool decks. Id prefer a stone or concrete patio over a wood deck any day.

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  5. #5
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    sounds like you have good soil for pavers, unless you have a heaving problem from drainage in winter,
    If it's any indication, we have been in the house since 2013. Been through some serious weather and have never had any kind of flooding of the yard, basement or any driveway issues. Really nothing structural caused by weather. As xrocket said though, I am concerned about it settling and not looking at good 3-4 years down the line.

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  6. #6
    truncated phrase here trider143's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    I had a landscape construction company remove my back deck and build a large paver patio many years ago. Largely it has been trouble free. I had to have them back to fix one area that was compromised due to rain runoff in one small area. IMO, the quality of the paver patio is a result of the competency of the contractor. I hired someone I knew in town and had an excellent rep. Very happy with the result, and we spend a lot of time on the patio.

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  7. #7
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    We have a similarly sized deck, 14x16. This spring I wanted to get some more room on it, so I installed a few 16x16" pavers on the ground next to the deck and moved the grills and smoker down there. Once that was off the deck, there was a lot more room. Personally I like the aesthetics of a deck much more than a patio, particularly if you have 4-5 steps to get down to it. That would look pretty weird. Anyway, not exactly answering your question, but maybe you can move some stuff off the smaller deck?

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  8. #8
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Quote Originally Posted by 01xj View Post
    If it's any indication, we have been in the house since 2013. Been through some serious weather and have never had any kind of flooding of the yard, basement or any driveway issues. Really nothing structural caused by weather. As xrocket said though, I am concerned about it settling and not looking at good 3-4 years down the line.
    rent a vibratory compactor to prep the base, as long as your all set with winter rain draining away,

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  9. #9
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    We have a similarly sized deck, 14x16. This spring I wanted to get some more room on it, so I installed a few 16x16" pavers on the ground next to the deck and moved the grills and smoker down there. Once that was off the deck, there was a lot more room. Personally I like the aesthetics of a deck much more than a patio, particularly if you have 4-5 steps to get down to it. That would look pretty weird. Anyway, not exactly answering your question, but maybe you can move some stuff off the smaller deck?
    Yeah, this definitely crossed my mind. My wife is gonna send me a picture so I can post it up, but I had the same thought as you. Basically, go with option 1, and then as money allows, build a small seating area with a fire pit myself. Use the 16"x16" pavers as kind of stepping stones down off the deck stairs. Not as fancy, just something with a border, some landscaping and some pea stone or river rock in the center, awning over top and a cheap gas fire pit in the middle.

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  10. #10
    suburban ghetto living... black's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    my experience... I'd go with the deck vs paver patio.
    The only thing I hate with decks is the inevitable varmint that roosts under it (rabbit chew thru the lattice then other animals eventually a skunk)
    We have a large paver patio that cost us 20k to put in, looks awesome the only issue is that it is sloped for rain etc and it make the chair/s table slightly off
    cl
    With the trex I've found that when I need to shovel snow off it and the inevtiable ice that if I get too aggressive with the Ice chipper I can gouge the trex.

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    hmmmm......

  11. #11
    Lifer LuvDog's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    I’d go with a patio.. we get much more use from our patio than our deck

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    I actually want to paver block under a high deck, I use it as a car port now, but it's just sand, pavers under the deck, and path leading in has been a future want, for some time, 18" squares probably, for parking yard equipment, I have a workbench. probably about 600 sq. ft total

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  13. #13
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Quote Originally Posted by black View Post
    my experience... I'd go with the deck vs paver patio.
    The only thing I hate with decks is the inevitable varmint that roosts under it (rabbit chew thru the lattice then other animals eventually a skunk)
    We have a large paver patio that cost us 20k to put in, looks awesome the only issue is that it is sloped for rain etc and it make the chair/s table slightly off
    cl
    With the trex I've found that when I need to shovel snow off it and the inevtiable ice that if I get too aggressive with the Ice chipper I can gouge the trex.
    We're pretty firmly in the burbs. Not a lot of varmints other than the rabbits who live under my shed. The dogs arch nemesis.

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  14. #14
    Lifer G21forme's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Quote Originally Posted by xrocket21 View Post
    IMO, pavers shift and look shitty after 2 winters. I dont care how well you layer sand, compact, whatever, under it. For a patio, I like more natural stone with crushed stone between, that way when it inevitably shifts, it doesnt look terrible.
    This and trex sucks balls IMHO I like tuff board and I've done it before if you need some sisters easy enough. FYI nobody does pavers correctly, looks great for the first summer then turns to shit.

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    Don't bother me! R7's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    I’ve seen a few masons lay pavers the correct way, and they hold up nice. It’s going to cost way more to lay pavers the correct way, vs building a new deck. The only way I’d consider pavers, is if the contractor excavates out 12” of soils, refills it with 6” of crushed stone, pours a 4” slab over the stone, and sets the pavers in a 1” layer of compacted stone dust over the slab.

    Stamped concrete slab is another good option, though costly.

    Couple years ago I built a 16’x20’ deck at my house, total cost was about $2,500 for materials, includes pouring 8 footings, all framing, all Trex decking system and redwood trim. It’s low, so no rails. For comparison a stamped concrete patio the same size would have cost $7k

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  16. #16
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    I thought the "correct" way was to excavate and bring in at least 8" of clean 3/4-minus gravel in two 4" lifts. Then a loose 1-2" layer of sand. Finally lock the pavers in with that polymeric stuff.

    I'm in a similar situation. We have a smaller 11' square enclosed/covered deck that is very nice, but not big enough. My father was in a similar situation and built a second slightly larger open deck next to it. Now you have space inside away from the bugs and outside. Our plan was similar but the layout of the house makes it such that a deck next to it isn't as desirable; you'd be peering right into the bathroom! My plan was to build a paver patio roughly 2x the size of the original deck. The grill and a dining space outside, have more of a lounge area in the enclosed space. I also really want to build a fire pit. We have one now but it is behind some landscaping and cannot be seen from the house.

    FWIW I hear that pressure treated lumber is hard to come by right now.

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  17. #17
    ^ It's my bike and my car tls25rs's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    you'd be peering right into the bathroom!
    My sister in law had this same issue and it was resolved by putting a frosted window tint onto the bathroom window. This allowed the deck to be directly outside the bathroom window and still allowed natural light to get into the bathroom. If there is a need to open the bathroom window they drop the top section of the window an inch or two instead of raising the lower section.

    Reasonable solution to finding a place to build their deck.

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  18. #18
    Lifer BSR6's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    It's always been my understanding that if done right, patios last forever. I know many with well built patios that have been in place for many years and they look great. Decks on the other hand not so much. Yes, you can go with Trex but the frame will still eventually be an issue.

    I personally prefer the look of a patio. All of the long lasting one's I know of were done with stone. They look really nice, but that also may be a factor in how long they've lasted. I'm not sure if Pavers have the same durability.

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  19. #19
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Mark is right (of course) about building the correct base. If it's done properly, it will last a really long time. I have also seen that in lieu of concrete, you can put down a course of 24x24 pavers, but essentially we're talking about the same thing. Either way it's very expensive to do correctly.

    I don't think it's the right spot for a patio though, it's the 4-5 steps down. The only way that would look right is if you built some absolutely monstrous going down to it, otherwise it'll look very odd proportionally. IMO the door onto the patio should be no more than 2 steps. I don't expect everyone sees it this way, but some of you guys think old VFR's look good so there's really no accounting for it.

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  20. #20
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    I think I'm with you on the aesthetics. 4-5 steps into a slider, even with a landing of some sort would be lame. A slider that high off the ground screams for a deck.

    I think the debate should be massive deck vs moderate size deck plus patio.

    This thread has me rethinking the patio approach and thinking massive deck for my own situation. That'll change in an hour or two..

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  21. #21
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Also, wait a damn minute...if you're stripping the deck down to the frame, why not extend it? A few more footings poured, the biggest obstacle now would be getting PT to build the frame with.

    Also just saw 2k less for the patio. I can guarantee a $3,500 14x18 patio is going to look like shit in a few years. That doesn't even cover the cost of building a proper base.

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  22. #22
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Decks are generally a love hate. They usually look and function better than a patio. Being raise up above the grass does reduce the bug factor. But they have become really expensive and they are kinda high maintenance. We love the deck on our house, but it is admittedly the part that looks the roughest. We need to powerwash it, replace some rotten lumber, and paint the damn railings and newells. It is really a loathesome project.

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  23. #23
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    Decks are generally a love hate. They usually look and function better than a patio. Being raise up above the grass does reduce the bug factor. But they have become really expensive and they are kinda high maintenance. We love the deck on our house, but it is admittedly the part that looks the roughest. We need to powerwash it, replace some rotten lumber, and paint the damn railings and newells. It is really a loathesome project.
    That's true, but have you ever felt your pride swell from someone telling you you "have a really nice deck?"

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  24. #24
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    That's true, but have you ever felt your pride swell from someone telling you you "have a really nice deck?"
    All the time!

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  25. #25
    Rust never sleeps. whynot's Avatar
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    Re: Paver patio vs traditional deck

    My own experience with two decks and two patios --

    The lower deck decking is some kind of hardwood laid down in 1999. Every two years I wash it with Simple Green and brush it with Cabot's Australian Deck Oil -- looks great. The upper deck decking (some different kind of wood) had a problem after a few years so I had it replaced with TimberTech. Because of the "grain" it gets moldy and has to be washed and scrubbed with bleach or a deck wash (basically bleach). I got tired of doing that, so it's just moldy.

    One patio is bluestone like 2" thick. The base was prepared right and it's been great -- installed maybe 10 years ago. For some reason they cut the stones to fit one another with small gaps, then brushed in stone dust. The other patio is pavers done right about 8 years ago. At one end some water off the house puddles and there's a section where the left two wheels of the car park a lot of the time, so there's a slight depression there, to be expected.

    So from my POV, the patios have been 'way less maintenance than the decks. Depends whatcher looking for.

    My two cents worth ...

    PS -- I should add that the decks are on the north side of the house, so that probably explains the mold on the TimberTech.

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    Last edited by whynot; 08-14-20 at 06:49 AM.
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