Most homeowners would agree that a concrete patio has both advantages and disadvantages. A patio can provide an attractive outdoor space which, during pleasant weather, can virtually function as an additional dining and living room. On the other hand, its hardness may make it less suitable to young children than alternative outdoor surfaces such as grass or gravel. Further, a concrete patio can be expensive to install, and can also be prone to unsightly cracks.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of a concrete patio is the additional living space it can provide during pleasant weather. Unlike some common outdoor surfaces, such as grass, a concrete patio is usually level and solid. It is also less prone to insects and mud than grass. These qualities make it an ideal spot to set up outdoor chairs or even a dining table. Thus a patio can allow homeowners to relax or dine outdoors, and can even give them the option of entertaining guests without worrying about creating a mess indoors.
A concrete patio has some potential downsides, however. First of all, its surface is quite hard, and falling onto it can result in scrapes, bumps, or even concussions. In regions with cold winters, the risk of slipping on a patio can be heightened by the presence of ice on the concrete’s surface. These qualities may make a concrete patio dangerous for small children and others prone to falls. Those with family members who are predisposed to falls may wish to choose a more yielding outdoor surface, such as grass.
Secondly, professional installation of a concrete patio can be expensive, while do-it-yourself installation can be both expensive and complicated. Some people attempt to avoid professional installation fees by pouring their own patio, only to run into many hidden costs during the construction process. Others discover that they simply lack the technical skills needed to complete the job properly. For an attractive patio that lasts, therefore, homeowners may find that it is in their best interest to pay for a professional installation.
Finally, concrete patios can be prone to unsightly cracks, leaving the space in need of costly repairs or even replacement. These cracks usually arise because the soil beneath the concrete has not been properly prepared, because the concrete itself has not been inlaid with joints which allow for expansion and contraction, or both. Cracking is more common in climates with very cold winters and very hot summers, as extreme weather changes cause a high level of shrinkage and expansion. To minimize the chances of cracks, it may be best to hire a professional for patio installation.