Worth doing? Yes
If your home doesn't have a deck and could, you're basically burning money and wasting space by not having one.
According to Remodeling Magazine's 2010-11 Cost. vs. Value Report, done in conjunction with the National Association of Realtors, a deck of any kind is one of the best investments a homeowner can make. The best part is that it's actually better to take the "cheap" way out.
A $16,000 composite deck that won't warp or fade in the rain, snow and sun will recoup 66% of its cost in resale value. For comparison's sake, that's better than the 59.5% of a $21,000 investment you'd get back for replacing a roof or the 53% of a $40,000 outlay that would come back at selling time for the poor sap who added another bathroom.
For a wood deck, which is more susceptible to the elements than its composite comrade but costs about $5,000 less, homeowners would get back 72.8% of what they put into it. That's outdone only by a steel entry door replacement (102.1% return) and garage door replacement (83.9%) and the same value as remodeling a kitchen.
Worth doing? Yes
On paper, patios are about as dated as three-martini lunches, calling a receptionist "doll face" and wearing floral shorts with boat shoes. Unlike each of these American postwar relics, however, the patio still serves a purpose when the situation requires it.
For homeowners with flat plots and flatter homes or deck-worthy homes so densely packed among their neighbors that the only views are of other people's decks, patios are a simple way to expand outdoor living space while maintaining some semblance of privacy in highly-populated urban areas.
Compared with decks, they're fairly cheap, too. Brick patios start at roughly $11 per square foot and can be installed by contractors for roughly $3,500 -- or $700 if you're willing to do the work yourself, according to HGTV. Concrete is slightly more expensive, as the ConcreteNetwork says the price of preparing and pouring your summertime slab can run from $1,000 to $2,000 for a 10- by 20-foot space to between $5,000 and $10,000 a 100- by 100-foot patio. The financially fit, however, may want to splurge on their grandfather's surface of choice: flagstone, which runs $15 to $18 per square foot. A 10- by 20-foot patch starts at $3,000, while an 80- by 20-foot area fetches upward of $30,000, according to CostHelper.
Remodeling's Cost vs. Value Report doesn't cover patios, but the sizable return on decks and the comparably minimal investment required for a patio suggests homeowners are standing on solid ground when paving out a place to put the grill or fire pit.