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Old 04-02-2019, 01:28 PM   #1
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Wood deck vs patio slab


We need to replace our rotted 21x18 wooden deck, have considered concrete, 5 CuFt and was quoted $723 for just the concrete. My estimates put the form materials at $250-300.



With that said, I am considering replacing with 1x6 decking wood as it would be near the same price but save time and effort on smoothing/finishing the concrete ( it would be my first time working with this volume of concrete). I do not mine the annual effort to stain and maintain the wood.



If we go this route, I would like the deck sunk to match the surrounding yard height. How would I properly prepare the area underneath to drain, prevent weeds etc, What would be the best methods to waterproof the post and framing, would pressure treated wood suffice or should I treat them with a finish?
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Old 04-02-2019, 03:52 PM   #2
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


Hey Oblivion Newton John (did I guess right?),

I think you meant 125cuft or 5cuyd. But either way that's cheap, I'd be looking at $5-6 per sf installed. What about digging for a gravel subbase? Are you able to support flatwork on sandy soils where you're at?

What height is the deck at now? Sinking level with grade is usually a bad idea. Depending on your lot grading, may be a bathtub, no air movement, etc. But have a picture? There's always a way.
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:49 PM   #3
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


Yes, 5 cubic yard. My only hesitation to concrete is finishing out the patio as I've never done concrete work, and I put a ton of pressure on myself for near perfection, it's a flaw...

My thoughts are to build drainage underneath, funnel it all to the center, french drain or tube, have an access hole to clean as needed.



The current joist is about 3" above grade, deck is a total of 10"


Here's the current deck:





Last edited by oblvnnwtnjhn; 04-02-2019 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 04-02-2019, 05:50 PM   #4
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


Hmmmm, I was hoping you had a sloping lot for some daylight at least on one side of the deck. Yard looks pretty level, also is the raised deck portion away from the house because the grade is higher?

The problem with a sunken deck is obviously the moisture with little air movement. Not just runoff, but even if you put poly/gravel down, there will be dirt and organics making their way through the deck. Weeds, composting, leading to more moisture in a natural cycle, lowering the life span of the wood, and today's PT wood is not so good to begin with. It's not catastrophic, but I'm not sure why one would choose to dig down a deck over alternatives.

Commercially (meaning $$), what you might do is pour a concrete slab with drainage and frame a deck in there if the wood was an important detail. Residentially (meaning budget), you would go slab or pavers. If you go concrete, how about stamped that might minimize some DIY-looking surface work?

Is the rotting wood just the decking or the structure as well?

Last edited by 3onthetree; 04-02-2019 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 04-02-2019, 05:54 PM   #5
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


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Originally Posted by oblvnnwtnjhn View Post
Yes, 5 cubic yard. My only hesitation to concrete is finishing out the patio as I've never done concrete work, and I put a ton of pressure on myself for near perfection, it's a flaw...

My thoughts are to build drainage underneath, funnel it all to the center, french drain or tube, have an access hole to clean as needed.



The current joist is about 3" above grade, deck is a total of 10"


Here's the current deck:




Generally ground level decks don't do well, they rot out as they have a lot of moisture and no air ventilation. However, patios are more ideal for ground level installs.

Not sure what to tell you on the patio. I did a paver patio. I had a concrete one in my old house. between the 2 the pavers looked better. I'm a bit of a perfectionist... I wouldn't do a patio myself. Too hard to get the finishing nice on somehting you want to enjoy using. If you were talking about pouring a shed slab, i'd say go for it yourself.

Mybe some others can comment on doing an on grade deck
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:06 PM   #6
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


Thanks for the replies. Looking from the yard, the deck slopes back to the right, towards the sloped driveway. As far as pavers, I'm guessing a good perimeter french drain system would take care of the water?

What if I could get the base sloped towards the exisiting natural slope to force water to a drainage system?

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Old 04-02-2019, 07:47 PM   #7
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


There is no way in heck I would install a wooden deck at grade (meaning the framing will be below grade). Even if the pit was piped to daylight, it will be damp, trap things that turn into compost and attract other things that turn into baby other things.
I don't like concrete mainly for appearance sake. Base preparation is importantand once you start your committed to finishing it in one go. I favour pavers. They look better and you can chip away at it. Good base preparation is still important.
If you go with either hard solution, it should have a slight slope to a suitable direction.
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:16 PM   #8
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


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There is no way in heck I would install a wooden deck at grade (meaning the framing will be below grade). Even if the pit was piped to daylight, it will be damp, trap things that turn into compost and attract other things that turn into baby other things.
I don't like concrete mainly for appearance sake. Base preparation is importantand once you start your committed to finishing it in one go. I favour pavers. They look better and you can chip away at it. Good base preparation is still important.
If you go with either hard solution, it should have a slight slope to a suitable direction.
I am leaning towards pavers also because I fear cold joints and other issues with concrete my first time in such a large volume. I need to add french drains anyway, so I will devise a nice perimeter system that drains towards slope.



The wife seems stuck on concrete and offering her dad who's experienced in the trade but still seems like a lot of work for two guys.
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:28 PM   #9
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


The wood deck is out of the question. A new concrete or paver deck should be 6" below the threshold of the door to the house and slop away from the house.

When this deck is removed some rot of the bottom of the house will likely need to be worked on and if the new patio will be above the level of the bottom of the wood on the house that would can be protected.
I would remove that junk, determine the elevation of the new and do all the preps work to the soil or fill, compete with compaction, form it up and hire someone to place ready mix off the back of the truck. And just tell people I did it all by myself.
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:42 PM   #10
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


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And just tell people I did it all by myself.
ha. We're residing the house next with Hardie or Allura, the cedar shake is end of life. I have a 4" visible slab, unsure why the existing deck was installed butted up to the house. We're undoing a lot of bozo mistakes hence me seeking knowledge and experience via these boards, talking with pro's in our community.



I'd really like to get close to match the carport level as possible, but of course drainage/functionality takes precedence. Would an outer perimeter of french drain with slope away from the house work well for drainage of pavers?
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:57 PM   #11
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


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Originally Posted by oblvnnwtnjhn View Post
ha. We're residing the house next with Hardie or Allura, the cedar shake is end of life. I have a 4" visible slab, unsure why the existing deck was installed butted up to the house. We're undoing a lot of bozo mistakes hence me seeking knowledge and experience via these boards, talking with pro's in our community.



I'd really like to get close to match the carport level as possible, but of course drainage/functionality takes precedence. Would an outer perimeter of french drain with slope away from the house work well for drainage of pavers?
Drainage is always a good idea to consider, a French drain or pipe to open end somewhere. Unless you already have water problems, I don't see a problem. It looks like the old deck had water diversion under it with plastic roofing.
I would start with a laser level and see what you have now and starting from level with the carport and sloping to the far end with 1/4" per foot.
You can play with slopes to direct the water where you want it to go.
If that leaves to low at the back and you can deal with drainage you could do a step onto the back yard.
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:13 PM   #12
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


Go with pavers... that slab of concrete will get to lookin pretty tired pretty quick imho...
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:58 PM   #13
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


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Go with pavers... that slab of concrete will get to lookin pretty tired pretty quick imho...
I disagree
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Old 04-03-2019, 06:57 AM   #14
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


Definitely slab or paver's . I would never install a deck at that elevation. It's only trouble critters, bugs rot. I would install forms with the drainage directed away from the house. Install stone a tamp and pour a slab. Done forever.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:25 AM   #15
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Re: Wood deck vs patio slab


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You're gonna give the OP a heart attack if he thinks he has to make it look that good, if he's worried about just finishing plain old concrete!
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