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Are Outdoor Tiles Cheaper Than Decking?

By: Tom Urquhart / Last UPDATED: October 11, 2022

Do you have a lovely outdoor space but are unsure what to do with it? Outdoor tiles or decking are a great addition to your garden. But which one should you go for, and how much do they cost? If you’re asking yourself these questions, you’re in the right place.

Having a practical outdoor space to enjoy those warm summer evenings while having a charming addition to your home has many advantages – but choosing between a deck or patio can be difficult. Both decking and outdoor tiles look great, but which is the cheapest?

We aim to help you decide between the two and take you through the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision. Read on to find out more about patio tiles, decking materials, and which is the cheapest.

Which Outdoor Tiles Are The Cheapest?

If you’re considering installing outdoor tiles, you may be wondering which is the cheapest. Porcelain? Or maybe granite? All of our tiles are crafted from high-quality materials and will create a stunning garden design in any home.

Installing outdoor tiling is an expensive venture, so it’s only natural to want to choose the cheapest option. Unfortunately, cheap and cheerful doesn’t always apply to installing tiling in your outdoor living area. Porcelain tiles tend to be the most economical, and they’re low maintenance.

Reliable and long-lasting, porcelain tends to be the answer if you’re looking for a great looking garden design without breaking the bank!

Is Timber Decking Cheaper Than Composite Decking?

Two of the most popular decking options in the UK, composite and timber decking, both have their benefits and drawbacks. Which one is right for your home completely depends on your budget, how much time you have to maintain it, and your personal preference.

The cost of timber depends on which wood you choose. Softwood decking is much cheaper than composite and hardwood decking, which are both similar in price. The maintenance costs of timber will also be higher as it’ll need regular oiling to keep it in great condition.

Decking Vs Outdoor Tiles: Costs Compared

If you’re still scratching your head trying to decide between decking and tiling, check out this next section. We’ll compare various costs such as installation and upkeep and how long both materials last.


The first thing to consider is something many people don’t like thinking about – how much your project will cost. The installation costs for outdoor tiles are slightly more than if you were installing decking.

Creating a patio with outdoor tiles will also involve more intensive construction underneath, particularly if there’s lots of ground movement and reinforcement will be required.


Although the upfront costs of outdoor tiles are higher, they tend to need less maintenance than decking. The added initial costs mean you won’t need to dedicate that much time towards the upkeep in the long run.

On the other hand, decking does require more upkeep if you want it to last and stay looking at its best. This is because it’s more susceptible to being damaged by bad weather. If you have a deck built, treating the timber once a year is usually enough to keep it looking as new as possible.


When it comes to the lifespan of each material, outdoor tiles will win every time. Unfortunately, when wood is exposed to sun and heat, it tends to fade and turn a dull and insipid grey colour.

Although oiling your decking will breathe some life back into it, it needs to be done every year without fail, which can be inconvenient. Outdoor tiles are scratch, fade, and stain-resistant, so need very little to no upkeep! You can enjoy the look of your outdoor space for years and years without any hassle.

Elgin Decor Patio

How To Choose Between Tiles And Decking

Now let’s take a look at how you can choose between a deck or a patio because this decision isn’t easy! We’ve compiled some factors to think about, including your budget, preference and the upkeep of the material.


The most important thing when choosing wood or tiling is your budget. It’s important not to take on more than you can afford, so consider your financial circumstances beforehand.

Although decking seems like the cheaper option upfront, it’s not as long-lasting as outdoor tiling, and you’ll have to spend money on maintaining it to protect your investment.

A patio, however, is more expensive initially, but with little upkeep needed and better longevity, it will save you money in the long run.

Ease of maintenance

As we’ve established, a deck does need to be maintained after it’s built, which means you’ll have to spend money on stains and oils. Depending on the size of your decking, you may have to buy a few tins of good quality stain or oil to coat the whole area, which could start to get pricey.

If you opt for a patio, you’ll have none of that to worry about. Once you install it, all that’s left is to spend time enjoying the new addition to your home!

Garden landscape

Next, consider the current garden design you have and the style of your property. If you have a cottage or traditional barn conversion property, a patio will complement your home well. But if you’re on a budget, you can use reclaimed or natural timber instead.

If you have a modern and contemporary home, you’re lucky as both outdoor tiling and decking can be complimentary, but the key is to choose a consistent colour. A deck would look great as it’s just one colour, but high-quality slabs like porcelain or granite would suit a modern home too.

Your taste

This is also an important factor, what do you like? Depending on the design you prefer, one material might be better suited than the other.

If you love clean lines and hate difficult decisions, a deck would be the best choice for you. But if you prefer a more modern and detailed aesthetic, then paving would be a better option. Consider what you prefer, and that should make your decision a bit easier.

What will you use it for?

Lastly, consider what you’ll be using your outdoor space for. If you’re going to be hosting many garden parties or summer barbeques, a sturdy patio is probably going to stand up to high traffic better than decking.

If you have young children, the non-slip nature of paving makes it a much better choice, especially in winter as decking can be very slippery; the last thing you want is accidents happening!

Naturae wood effect-forest patio

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve found this guide useful on which material would suit you best. Ultimately the budget is the most important aspect, with personal taste and style in second place.

Both outdoor tiling and decking are great options, with decking being the cheaper way of creating an outdoor area while paving offers a longer-lasting option. When you’re trying to decide which one to pick, follow these three steps:

  1. Measure your outdoor area
  2. Agree on your budget
  3. Decide what you like and what fits into your budget

If you need any professional advice, our team of qualified advisers are here to help!


How much maintenance does a timber deck require?

Getting into a regular habit of maintaining your deck area ensures that you’re able to enjoy it for as long as possible. Whichever surface you opt for, a certain amount of care will be needed. With decking, although the upkeep is quite minimal, it’s still super important.

First, you’ll want to treat your deck area to regular brushing. Use a stiff, good-quality broom to keep the area free from dust and debris, such as unsightly dead leaves and moss. Don’t forget under the plant pots and furniture!

Lastly, using a water repellent coating can prevent your beautiful decking from fading to a horrible dull grey colour!

Do outdoor tiles need regular cleaning?

Like decking, outdoor tiles don’t need much upkeep, and when they do, it doesn’t require too much effort. Use a stiff brush to sweep any debris away, such as dirt and moss, as these will get in the way when you clean the tiles.

Next, use warm (not boiling!) soapy water and a brush or sponge to wash the tiles over. For general cleaning you don’t need to use harsh chemicals; regular washing up liquid is fine. For more heavily soiled areas it may be necessary to use a specialised porcelain or natural stone cleaner such as lithofin, following their manufacturers instructions. Once you’ve done that, leave the patio to dry naturally, unless the typical British weather decides otherwise!

How do I choose the right flooring for my outdoor space?

It all comes down to your preference and what your budget can stretch to. Whatever you do, don’t rush into making a decision. Take some time to think it through, as you’ll have to live with your decision for many years, so you want to get it right!

Is it expensive to install decking?

Although decking is cheaper to install than outdoor tiles, how much it will cost depends on a few factors, such as the type of wood you choose and how big your space is. Always be sure to obtain a few quotes to compare prices and ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Article by Tom Urquhart

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