Picture this. You’re looking out at your expanse of land, and you think to yourself, something is missing. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a patio?
So now you want a patio, but the question is: “What does a patio cost?” How are you going to do it, and who are you going to ask for help? A construction project like that isn’t easy or else anyone would do it. DIY solutions can turn into DIY disasters, and with the complexity of permits and materials, it can be hard to know where to start.
This can be a problem for those with uniquely shaped backyards or those that don’t want to pay a lot for a cookie-cutter patio. So what’s a homeowner to do? In this article, we will lay out everything you need to know, from materials to insurance, so you can feel more confident in budgeting with your patio builder.
You’re firm on wanting a patio, but now you’re wondering what material should you go with?
Many factors can play into what you choose, from how leveled your lawn is, the climate, the shape of your patio, elevation/grade changes, and if you have need HOA approval. Raw materials can be expensive, and the internet can be an unreliable source of information. Some builders will lead you to pick their most expensive options, and with the plethora of choices, it can be hard to make a decision.
The right materials can make or break your patio, which adds even more pressure, but here are the most common materials and what you need to know about each one.
The next option on the list is concrete, which has been a staple of patios for decades. Concrete has been around for thousands of years, from the Romans to modern times, and its versatility keeps it around.
Concrete is extremely high value for the price and common, making it an ideal patio material. It also requires little maintenance as a simple leaf blower or a good washing can get rid of debris. Like the Roman Coliseum, concrete can stand the test of time and can withstand anything the weather can throw at it.
Stained concrete is an great option but can be more expencive depending on the design, with some instances of the stain being just as expensive in the concrete. It is a good option and can be quite beautiful when done right, but do think carefully before selecting it.
Stamped concrete is another option, which has all the durability and superior qualities of concrete with the beauty of bricks and flagstone. Instead of laying down brick after brick, a single stamp will give that concrete slab the look of a row of natural stones or precise bricks. With just the right stamp you can achieve whatever design you desire. Since you won’t have to cut individual stones to fit you save time, money, and labor all in one fell swoop! It is a bit more expensive than a simple concrete slab, but it’s much cheaper than flagstone and brick. The sky’s the limit with stamped concrete, and it is definitely something to look into for your backyard project.
Flagstone is the broken brick version of concrete. Flagstone is quite durable, and as long as you don’t mistreat it, it can last for centuries. It is easy to install, with just some individual stones and some sand or dirt to fill the spaces between each one. It looks nice, and many like it for garden pathways, but that’s usually where they stay.
Unfortunately, there are some significant downsides. Flagstone, because its individual stones, require constant leveling and adjusting similar to gravel. You have to weed it as well. Unlike concrete, you also have to be careful because the sun can make it extremely hot, and rain can make it extremely slippery. If you don’t level the stones properly, you could be slipping all over the place. To keep a flagstone patio leveled and weed-free, you’d have to pour a patio under your patio, and at that point you might as well install a concrete patio.
Pavers are a hybrid of brick and flagstone, with some of the virtues of concrete but not all.
Pavers are a good option to have for seasonal changes as they expand with the ground. This means pavers are less likely to break, but bad as it can become unlevel.
Pavers are low maintenance which is a plus. However, they can also have weeds grow between them. There are solutions to keep weeds from sprouting, but those solutions cost more money in the end.
Paver patios tend to be quite pricey compared to the other options, especially in comparison to concrete. They also take the longest to install as you have to level the subsoil, lay gravel and level that, and do a few more convoluted steps. It’s a long process, and it can take even an experienced crew a good while to complete. It may look nice, but with the shifting of the rocks and the weeds, it’s constant maintenance, so discretion is advised. This too when constructed properly may need to have a concrete base poured underneath the pavers to make sure they are not settling
Brick patios are a classic. Bricks sport an old-school, elegant appearance most associated with wealth and luxury. They’re durable and fairly easy to repair as bricks are a dime a dozen. You can recycle bricks, and they add to the home value. However, they have their downsides as well.
Bricks are expensive to place, very expensive especially compared to the other materials on this list. They have to be hand-cut for specific angles, which can make things even worse on you, especially if you have an unusually shaped patio.
Bricks require periodic sealing and are laborious to install. Frost heaving can be quite a problem for bricks, and they share similar seasonal shifting issues as pavers. There are also limited design options as, again, they don’t have the versatility of concrete. So if you like the square-cut shape of a brick, go for it! It’s still a pretty option. If you don’t want the problems associated with it, it may be a good idea to look for something else.
This too when constructed properly may need to have a concrete base poured underneath the pavers to make sure they are not settling.
You’ve selected the material. Next on the list of cost drivers for a is labor.
Calculating labor can change depending on what you do specifically. Larger patios require more labor, and if your land is unlevel, you may need retaining walls to keep a flat surface. Depending on how steep the grading is, you may need a tall retaining wall and that’s even more labor on top of it. It’s not a reason not to have a patio of course, but it is something to consider going forward.
Labor costs time and money, and even if you save money by doing it yourself, you’re still doing it yourself, and the physical work is quite taxing and may result in injury. Experienced labor, although higher in cost, is the best route, as professionals have the permits, tools and experience to make sure your project is a success.
Other Factors that Determine Patio Costs
Any building project can face its issues. Supply chains, especially in 2022 America, are tricky. The supply chain can fluctuate at any minute. The covid pandemic caused massive issues in the economy and caused backyard supply prices to skyrocket. Anything can set it off. A rise in gas prices can make delivery trucks ride less frequently, which increases the price of products and so on. Timing can be everything when doing a major project, which is why it’s important to pay attention to what you’re building and when to ensure that you’re spending the least possible.
You also must choose how tall you want your patio to be. Some prefer a ground-level patio, and others like it raised. Ground level prevents tripping hazards and requires less building, but gets dirtier quicker. Raised patios, while more expensive, can create a barrier from the ground elements and thus keep your patio cleaner for longer. Either way, both can create a wonderful space to entertain guests, but it’s up to individual choice.
If you live in an area with an HOA, it can be extremely difficult to gain approval. Building a patio, building a new fence or even giving your house a paint job can be a nightmare. HOA’s are very particular, especially about color matching, and they’ll want to see the material, design, and drainage beforehand. This can prevent you from achieving your dream patio, and if you didn’t consult them beforehand, you could receive some hefty fines and other major consequences.
Quality of Patio Builder
The next thing to consider is the quality of the company building the patio. Some may look at a patio and think, “Yeah, I can DIY that,” but they’d be mistaken.
An amateur can make mistakes that could ruin their project and cost them a lot of money, much more than what they initially put in. It’s best to find a professional, but do your research beforehand. You’ll want a fairly-priced company that you trust can to do a solid job. It’s good to review the prices of multiple businesses and get multiple estimates as a comparison. A business with 10+ years of experience and good reviews is what you want, and see if they have pictures of their previous work. This will ensure you get the best service for your dollar.
So you’ve made up your mind and completed your patio. You picked the material and hired just the right professionals to build it. Even though it appears to be done, it’s not. Like a painting, there are always little things you can do to bring some magic into your backyard and turn it from drab to fab.
Three Seasons Room
A favorite of many nature lovers is to cover your patio and make it into a three seasons room. With lots of windows and good airflow, a three seasons room can be a relaxing space for anyone to enjoy. The floor-to-ceiling windows let you experience the beauty of nature but protect you from the harshness of the environment and its pests. After all, many of us enjoy rain storms or the summer sun, but not a lot of us would be in the middle of it, making a three seasons room the perfect middle ground.
You can also screen in your patio, a lesser version of a three seasons room. This allows a closer connection to nature than a three seasons room, and can be just as relaxing. Although not as safe from the elements, it still protects you from mosquitoes and bugs. Like the three seasons room and many others on this list, it increases the value of your home’s curb appeal and gives you one more thing to love about your home.
A great accessory to battle against the elements is a fan. Fans are vital in the summer months as they keep you cool so you can enjoy the beautiful weather without getting overheated. Not only that, but fans keep the temperature around you cooler.
Have you ever thought about having an outdoor kitchen? Most of us have a grill or some kind of fire pit, but an outdoor kitchen can be a great summer accessory, especially for large cookouts and family gatherings. Although it requires electricity, plumbing, and some foresight before the patio is built, it’s a great way to give a luxurious touch to your home. It’s also great for parents as you can cook a Friday night dinner while watching your children play.
TVs can also be a fun addition and add a modern touch to your patio. If you get the right TV and cover it, you can easily turn your normal patio into a great space to watch the game or catch up on the home improvement channel while you’re enjoying a much-needed sangria. Patio TVs have become quite popular in recent years, especially with football and other sporting events becoming as big as they are. People may say you can’t have technology with nature, but with an outdoor TV you can!
Another thing to consider before constructing your patio is how or where to implement utility infrastructure. Utility infrastructure refers to utility hookups for either plumbing or electricity. A patio kitchen would require plumbing utilities and a TV or fan, electricity. These will have to be built in beforehand and meticulously planned out, so talk to your builder well in advance if you want either. Even if you are questioning it, it’s best to have these structures in place as they can be useful for many other things in the future, especially outlets.
As previously mentioned, dirt and grading issues can arise to add cost to a project.
Dirt work is always a part of builds, usually leveling it out to place whatever material you pick. If your land is steep, you will need retaining walls to keep everything level. This may need more dirt than initially planned. This isn’t an anomaly, in fact, most homes have this problem, but it is something to think about when building your patio.
Permits & Fees
Building permits are necessary to ensure a building project is up to local building codes, which can vary from state to state, and even county to county.
While you may not need a permit to install a patio, you will need one if you decide to make it into a three seasons room or a screened-in porch. If you build without a permit you can wrack up enormous fees and may even run into legal problems. If a patio is made without a permit, it may be scrapped, even if made properly. It’s best to get a permit beforehand or hire someone who has experience in construction, as it avoids a lot of hassle later down the line.
Why fret when BigDecks.com can do the rest!
Building a patio can come with many challenges, which is why BigDecks.com is here to help you out today! As a longstanding St. Louis-based construction experts, we’ve built top-quality patios and have been a proud part of the construction industry for the last 20 years. With only union tradesmen on our workforce, we are fully bonded and licensed to help you with whatever task you need.
Even though you’ve read the article thoroughly, you may still have questions and that’s okay. Why struggle with figuring out a patio when you can reach out today? Connect with us today for a free on-site consultation and estimate, to get your worries stored away. Just click the button or call, and see what BigDecks.com can do for you!