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Is it Cheaper to Build a Decking or Concrete Paving?

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 decking.

What is Concrete Paving?

Paving is a hard flooring material that you can make with stones, bricks, porcelain or concrete. Concrete paving is a popular outdoor flooring option if you don’t want to install decking. Concrete paving is not as expensive as composite decking and is a good choice if you want a cheaper flooring option. The paving also comes in different patterns and sizes to suit all needs.

Apart from that, paving is also offered in a variety of colours. Installing concrete paving is easy, but still requires the preparation of your outdoor space, similar to composite decking, paving ideally should be installed on level ground, you can install on an uneven or rough surface but you will require adjustable risers to level your installation, please note a solid base is required to use adjustable riser correctly and effectively. Concrete paving is suitable for a flat surface area and can be installed on a walkway, driveway, or patio.

The question is it cheaper to build decking or pour concrete? Which is the best one for you? First, consider the comparison of the total costs of decking and poured concrete.

The question is it cheaper to build a decking, pour concrete or install paving? Which is the best one for you? First, consider the comparison of the total costs of decking and poured concrete.

Cost of Building 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.

At time of writing, softwood decking boards average at £28.50 to £29.48 m2 (per square metre) and higher, whereas hardwoods start from £42 m2 The higher the quality of hardwood the higher the cost to buy.

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 are more expensive than composite, costing on average £70 to £125 m2 and composite decking boards are in the price range, starting from £36.10 to £80 m2. Again the higher the quality with composite decking the higher the price.

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 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 £60 -£90 m2 for installing 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 in the region of £2,000 for a 15 m2 decking including £70 m2 for fitting and materials for subframe. 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 £2,160 and upwards for the same area size, depending on the board you purchase, we used an average price of 42 m2 for composite, 70 m2 for fitter and all subframe materials.

Cost of Pouring Concrete Or Paving

In most cases, pouring concrete over your outdoor area as flooring is 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. The average cost of pouring concrete can range from £8.37 m2 to £12.09 m2. 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 £13.95 to £18.59 per m2.

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 upwards of £625 for a 15 m2 area for concrete slab. Compared to wood decking, they are 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. Alternatively there composite decking that retains the natural appearance of even exotic woods but requires a lot less maintenance.

Property Value

When doing any major projects or home improvements, many consider added value, especially homeowners who are looking to sell their homes in the future. Whether you have plans to sell your home or not, it’ll be wise to consider the cost you’ll add when you choose either pavers or decking.

Both pavers and decking increase your home’s kerb appeal, increasing its value. But when it comes to actual return on investment (ROI), many agree that decking is the better choice between the two, especially if you’re looking to sell your home within a few years. A deck can add at least 70% ROI, whereas patio pavement can deliver around 30% to 60% ROI.

Naturally, the exact cost of value you’ll be adding to your home by building either a deck or a patio pavement depends on many factors, such as material, design, and kerb appeal.

Ease of Installation

A large portion of outdoor patio expenses will go to installation service costs. Because of this, many homeowners are starting to build their very own decks and pavers. But if you don’t have prior experience in construction, you may want to choose the easier one.

So which is easier to build? Decking or paving? Generally, you’ll need much elbow grease for paving, and it also takes longer to install. As for decking, you will need more tools, but the process is simpler and faster. If you have some tools and a little experience in construction, you may find building a deck easier.

Decking and paving both have pros and cons. Depending on the material, either one can be cheaper than the other. For paving, you’ll want to get as much value as you can by choosing high-quality materials. As for decks, composite decking is better in many ways due to its low upkeep and high return value.


While decking tends to be more expensive, many homeowners agree the added costs are worth it. They provide a more nature and relax feel and atmosphere, not to mention their a lot more aesthetically pleasing than concrete paving. Return on investments for decking is also higher than that of a concrete slab. If you are into properties or planning to sell your home, decking will be a more suitable choice.

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