Stone or deck (4'x10') for patio steps?

dtay_usMay 18, 2009

I have a dilemma and could use some opinions from the pros on the forum who may have been in my shoes. :)

My wife and I are planning to have a paver patio put in at our back yard, the size being approximately 20' x 20' or about 400 sq. ft. The grading of our back yard is fairly flat and the exit from the kitchen French doors is about 33 inches high, as you can see from these two photos:

The dilemma is whether to go with a stone based steps with a landing or a deck-based steps with landing and railing and this is where we can't decide! The size of the steps/landing would be approximately 4' x 10' which isn't very large. If I'm going the deck route, I'd likely go with a composite based deck material such as something from TimberTech or Evergrain. I've seen what the TimberTech XLM looked like and liked it, but the price is coming in at about $1K more than the TimberTech Earthwood or Evergrain.

If I go with a stone based, it would be from Hanover (or Belgard, depending on the contractor). While browsing online, I found a an online deck designer applet from one of the deck manufacturers so I did up a quick drawing of what it would look like.

The reason why I had both designs listed was because one of the contractors asked me how wide I wanted the steps/risers to be and I didn't know that was a choice/option!

And finally, here's what the overall plan/patio would look like:

Cost wise, we're planning to break this down into stages, by doing the patio steps only this year, and then do the rest of the patio and/or walkway next year. Right now the price of a stone based vs. a deck based (for composite; not PVC like TimberTech's XLM) steps only is about the same (~$2200 to $2400). Warranties wise, deck would have a 1 year structural while a stone would have a 5 year structural warranty.

Anyway, appreciate the thoughts and suggestions from the pros here. Stone or deck for the steps? Pros and cons? Issues with settlement with stone? (one contractor said it would sink due to the weight and he recommended Trex!)



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Defentley go with the deck. Build a full leangth stairway good for the money,less hanrail, and it will look a lot better.

Hmmmmm 4' x 10' TT or moisture sheild composite decking and rail with black alum balusters no skirting. In my area good access and ell power. $950.00 done in one day. I would love to get $ 2400.00 for that job but even I would have a hard time looking at my reflection for a few days. J.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 7:40PM
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John Hyatt -

$950?? Wow! I take it you're definitely not in the NoVA (metro DC area) market? I'm guessing it's a regional pricing difference with the labor being the difference since most of the quotes that I've received are in the same ballpark, if not higher. How much would it cost for you to come out and build me a deck? :) :) :)

Anyway, since we're talking about what pricing here in this area costs, here are some more examples: one contractor even came back with the price $3980 for the 10x4 deck area with steps (for a Trex)! The lowest price ($2394, from another deck contractor) that I've received is for either TT Twin Finish or Earthwood and if I want the XLM upgrade, it would be an additional $360 ($2709 total). He mentioned that for XLM, it's $10 sq. ft. and $9 sq. ft. for Earthwood. Another fairly large and well known contractor here in the area quoted me $2950 for AZEK or XLM and $2750 for Earthwood. As you can see, the NoVA/DC/MD market definitely commands a higher price premium, and let's not get started on how much houses here cost!

Anyway, my wife and I are still trying to decide between stones vs. steps. In your opinion, what are the differences, pros and cons, between going with a stone vs. a deck? One realtor (a neighbor) suggested going with a stone since it does provide a greater ROI and value over a deck material and in terms of first impressions and appearance, a stone makes a bolder statement over a deck. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 11:07PM
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Wood or a Wood wantabe just looks good going down into stone. J.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 7:52AM
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