I have an ugly concrete patio Help!

I can't afford pavers. I thought of paint but would really like a deck. I need a simple pattern and the best type of wood for the job. Thanks!

  6 answers
  • Pmr33619375 Pmr33619375 on Jul 04, 2018
    You don't mention if the patio is rectangular, irregularly shaped, or goes around any corners, so I will answer as if it is rectangular.

    The simplest and easiest pattern is to have the boards run parallel to each other. They can be either parallel to the house wall or perpendicular to the wall, the choice is yours.

    You didn't talk about the height of the concrete patio with relation to the door sill(s) of the door(s) that open onto the patio. In most cases the patio will be just a little lower than the sill plates so that water does not seep under the sills into the house. If this is the case, you will have to remove the concrete in order to build the deck.

    If, however, you have to step down onto the patio when exiting the door, you are in better shape for building a deck. Ideally the deck will be even or just below the bottom of the door sill. Measure this point to the top of the concrete patio.

    We will come back to this measurement in a moment. For the deck surface you have several choices. You can use treated wood, composite wood, man-made simulated wood, cypress, cedar, or ipe (a type of wood). The choice is dependent upon several factors - heat, humidity, desired surface, fading or color changing, etc. Personally I do not recommend using treated wood because it can warp, split, cup, will have to be replaced at some point, and it contains chemicals that could be harmful to you, your pets, and the environment. The other woods -cypress, cedar, and ipe- are all pest and rot resistant but will eventually have to be replaced. Ipe is an ideal wood deck material but it is hard to work with and dulls tools quickly. My overall choice is to use a wood composite. A drawback to some composites is that they get really hot with direct sunlight so shoes have to be worn to avoid burning your feet. I also stay away from the man-made simulated woods because they do breakdown chemically and tend to be hot under direct sun exposure.

    Now back to the measurements. Most decking material comes in 5/8 to 3/4 inch thickness. You need to decide what type of deck material you want to use. Go to the big box stores and make your decision. They can also tell you how many "boards" will be needed for your patio design.

    Whatever thickness your deck cover will be, subtract this from the measurement you previously determined. The remaining measurement will determine how much space will be below the deck material to the patio. Again, the people at the big box stores can help you to decide what type of "foundation" you will need for your deck. It is important that the foundation conforms to local building codes. Depending on what the remaining height measurement is, you may or may not need to install risers.

    The foundation frame for your deck can be made of several different types of materials. Generally treated lumber is used or steel I-beams.

    There are several books on building decks and patios. Your local library may have some, or you might want to search the Internet for additional instructions on building decks.

    Phil Rasmussen
    The Mountain Woodworker
    Hendersonville, NC

  • Holly Kinchlea-Brown Holly Kinchlea-Brown on Jul 04, 2018
    You could make your deck using old pallets..take the boards off, use the base pieces tp on the ground (level them out) and add the top layer back on leaving a small gap in between the boards. It looks very effective if you switch the direction of the top pieces to look like parquet flooring. i have seen a post on Pinterest showing how to do it....we did our deck in a similar manner, but used new wood instead of pallets. Cost was approx $500 for a 12x16 deck in pressure treat.

  • Jes28900046 Jes28900046 on Jul 05, 2018
    I choice to have the cement patio scored in 2 ft x2 ft squares and stained the cement patio. This gave it a total different look. The product I chose was Home Depot cement stain and you choose the color. Was simple but great outcome and cheaper than wood deck

  • Tera Tera on Jul 05, 2018
    Another option would be rubber pavers(recycled tires) that can be cheaper than wood or pavers- we found the best deal at Costco this spring. Last I was there, they still had them. They lay a bit off the ground for drainage, and are maintenance free.
    Price out your wood- if you can find a good wholesale price from a local number yard go for it... But wood gets expensive fast, especially for pressure treated.
    Another option would be to use bricks- sometimes you can find them free on Craigslist. You can build a perimeter, from wood or concrete and then place them in a nice herringbone pattern, brush them with sand... That would probably be the least expensive of any option. Good luck!

  • Dawn Dawn on Jul 05, 2018
    Great Ideas!!! Thank you for planting seeds