Is it Cheaper to Build a Wood Decking or Pour Concrete?

Henry A
Learn Decking
building a decking

Converting an empty outdoor area into a usable space is one of the best home improvements you can do. To do this, you will need to install flooring in your outdoor space. For this, you have a few options you can choose from. Two of the most common are concrete patios and wooden decking. The question is it cheaper to build a wood decking or pour concrete? And which is the best one for you? First, consider the comparison of the total costs of decking and poured concrete.

Cost of Building a Decking

If you want to build a decking instead of a patio, one of the cheapest options you could choose is wooden decking. But how much does it cost to build one in the UK? It depends on many factors. For instance, you’ll have to consider the dimensions of the decking. Naturally, the larger the decking, the more expensive it will be. You will also need to decide what materials to use. Wood decking materials vary in quality, and each has its very own advantages and disadvantages. Softwood decking boards average at £5 per metre, whereas hardwoods cost around £10 per metre.

Aside from woods, you can also use non-wood alternatives. Materials like PVC and composites are often available in wood-like designs. However, the latter is more natural-looking than the former. PVC and composite decking boards are in the same price range, around £5 to £12 per metre.

Besides the boards, you will also have to account for the foundation, subframe, railings, and other decking accessories. Similarly to the decking boards, the price will vary depending on the material you will be using.

Another to take into consideration is the timeframe, especially if you are hiring professional builders or tradespeople. A small to medium decking will take at most two days, whereas a large decking can take a week. A usual tradesperson will ask for anywhere from £20 to £30 per square metre of decking. The fees could go higher, especially for larger projects that require extensive excavations and clean-ups. Naturally, you can save on labour costs by building your decking without hiring any workers.

Overall, a wood decking will cost you anywhere between £1000 to £2000 for a 15 to 20 square metre decking. The price can go up if you decide to add accessories such as railings, decking lights, and pergolas. On the other hand, non-wood alternative decking can cost £1500 and up for the same area size.

building wood decking

Cost of Pouring Concrete

In most cases, pouring concrete over your outdoor area as flooring is slightly cheaper than building a decking. As with decking, however, the total cost depends on many factors. How much would it cost in the UK?

Two of the most crucial factors that may affect the costs of pouring concrete are quality and size. The better the quality of the poured concrete, the more expensive it will be. Likewise, the larger the area you will be pouring concrete over, the higher the quality of materials you will have to use.

However, you will have to note that pouring concrete to create slabs is entirely different from pouring concrete to make solid foundations. The latter involves more extensive work and planning. Concrete slabs, which are often the flooring choice for outdoor spaces and driveways, will cost you around £70 to £125 per m³.

The labour costs for pouring concrete is also similar to building a decking. You’ll pay anywhere from £200 to £400 for labour fees per day. Naturally, you can save money by doing the project all by yourself. It will take around two days to complete a medium-sized concrete slab, whereas it can take weeks to do concrete foundations and larger projects.

Overall, expect to spend anywhere between £900 to £2000 for a medium-sized concrete slab. Compared to wood decking, they are slightly cheaper.

Other Factors to Consider

Aside from the cost of the materials, there are a few things you may want to consider when choosing between wood decking and concrete. One of which is maintenance. When it comes to upkeep, concrete slabs generally require less maintenance and care. A sweep and occasional rinsing are all it takes to keep it looking like new. However, replacing and repairing broken concrete slabs can potentially be more expensive than wooden decking.

On the other hand, wood decking is notorious for its high-maintenance requirements. You will need to seal, stain, and paint them once every few years. They are also susceptible to many issues, such as moisture, insects, warping, and rotting. The only exceptions are higher-quality woods, which often require less maintenance.

While decking tends to be more expensive, many homeowners agree the added costs are worth it. They are more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing than concrete slabs. Return on investments for decking is also higher than that of a concrete slab. If you are into real estate or planning to sell your home, decking will be a more suitable choice.


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