A concrete porch can range from plain poured slabs to decorative ornamental pieces. Concrete is a durable, flexible material that can outlast other patio or deck building supplies in certain areas and stand up to high traffic. In an area with regular temperature variations, however, a concrete porch can crack or chip. Overall, the choice to use concrete as a patio building material depends on the builder's taste, budget, and time line.
In its natural form, concrete is usually considered rather cold, drab, and unappealing. It can be painted, polished, and finished to resemble other building materials such as wood, brick, stone, and tile. In general, concrete is easier to maintain and will last longer than these other building materials. It may not hold the same value as these other building materials upon resale of the home. Concrete is typically seen as a strong and flexible building material that ranges from dull utility to aesthetically pleasing endurance.
Wood decking is popular choice that compares to a concrete porch. The concrete option may take more time to construct than wood, but it is more durable to high traffic, rain, and rotting. Most wood building materials pose a higher potential for fire damage than concrete, though some exceptionally hard woods are categorized similarly to concrete for flammability. A concrete porch and attached stairs can be poured into decorative patterns and shapes that are much more difficult to achieve with wood.
In some ways, a wood deck is more advantageous than a concrete porch. Wood decking offers more space for the materials to expand and contract in intense climates and can potentially hold up longer without noticeable cracks or damage to the elements. If the builder wants to expand the deck, a concrete porch is more difficult to work with than wood materials.
For a colonial appearance, a builder may chose brick as a building material. In this case, brick or brick veneer is often placed around a concrete base. Brick finishes can be difficult to keep clean during heavy pollen seasons or under the heavy traffic since bricks have cracks and mortar inherent in their designs. Decorative brick is less durable than concrete and veneers may crack under stress. These are easier to replace than an entire concrete slab. A concrete porch can be colored and stamped to resemble brick.
Like a brick finish, decorative tile and stone are often placed on a cement foundation. A stamped concrete porch can also be designed to mimic these building materials at a fraction of the cost. They are also easier to maintain and repair than genuine building materials. At close inspection, however, it is clear that decorative concrete is an impostor for higher-priced brick or stone.