How Much Does Deck Building Cost?
Adding a well-designed and properly constructed deck to your home is a win-win project. You’ll enjoy spending time with your family in the new outdoor space you’ve created, and you’ll increase the value of your home with a solid return on investment.
There is a lot to consider as you begin to plan for your deck building project. You’ll need to decide on sizing and features as you review your ideas with your contractor, but the most important element – and the one with the greatest impact on cost – is the materials. Making a few important decisions about decking material and features now can have a tremendous impact on your budget later.
Before you begin building the deck of your dreams, find out exactly how much this home improvement project will set you back. Get estimates from deck building experts and compare them for a budget that suits your needs. A well built and designed deck will last for many years to come.
Deck Building Materials
The most popular materials used by American homeowners include:
- natural wood
- pressure treated wood
- plastics and composites
The good news is that wood is still king, and if value is your primary objective, it’s what you want. According to Remodel magazine's annual survey, a composite deck addition offers roughly 68% return on investment, whereas a wooden deck as much as 75%.
If you’re going with the traditional wood deck, the most popular option for decking building material is pressure-treated lumber. It’s inexpensive, sold everywhere, and sturdy. Remember that pressure-treated wood needs to be carefully maintained to prevent against warping and cracking.
Plastic or composite materials require almost no maintenance or upkeep though it does cost slightly more for these benefits. Consider the following deck building materials and each of their relative cost per square foot.
This is the most popular choice for building a deck due to its ingrained beauty and relatively cheap cost. Though it's important to note that some wood types can be more costly than composite materials, natural wood also requires regular maintenance, staining, and weatherproofing. Consider these popular natural wood choices for decking and their relative cost per square foot.
|Wood Type||Species||Average Cost|
|Redwood||Softwood||$8 per sq ft|
|IPE / Brazilian Walnut||Hardwood||$23 per sq ft|
|Tigerwood||Hardwood||$20 per sq ft|
|Cedar||Softwood||$4 per sq ft|
|Bamboo||Grass / Hardwood||$3 - $4 per sq ft|
Pressure Treated Wood
If you are working within a budget, pressure treated wood (PT wood) is a good option. The cost to build a deck with pressure treated wood is highly affordable, and oil based sealers are only required every 1 to 2 years. Most PT wood comes with a 40-year warranty and is scratch and dent resistant.
The chemical treatments deter insects, though they are also harmful to humans. However, using a good penetrating oil-based sealer will render the chemicals harmless. On average, homeowners can expect to spend between $3.50 - $6.50 per sq ft for pressure-treated wood.
Plastics and Composites
There are various types of plastic and composite materials being used in deck building, the most popular being polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride. Composite materials have become increasingly popular as they require minimal maintenance when compared with wooden decks.
These materials are hard-wearing, splinter proof, mold-proof, and do not require sealing or staining. Because polypropylene and polyethylene contain wood, it can be stained to your desired color.
|Polyethylene||Contains wood||$8 per sq ft|
|Polypropylene||Contains wood||$9 per sq ft|
|Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - Hollow||Full synthetic||$7.50 per sq ft|
|Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - Solid||Full synthetic||$9.50 per sq ft|
Additional Deck Building Costs
Building a deck will also require posts, joists, galvanized screws, and concrete. The posts and joists will most likely be pressure-treated wood. Concrete footings are necessary to hold the deck framing, and at an average of about $75 per yard, concrete will be a small player in the overall cost to build your deck.
Based on an average 16 ft x 20ft deck, you’ll need about 2 yards of concrete. You’ll also need stairs and railings, along with whatever furnishing features you’d like to include. Think planters or built-in seating, which will be constructed from the same material you select for your deck building.
When it comes to labor costs, on average, you can add around $35 per sq ft onto the material cost for a professional deck build.
Maintenance and Enhancements
Remember to include the cost of a few additional but essential items in your deck building budget.
Want to be able to enjoy your new deck during the sweltering summer months? A wooden pergola might be sufficient to provide shade, or you can invest several hundred dollars in a retractable awning. You will also need to seal your deck against the weather, especially if you live in an area with both cold, precipitous winters and high summer temperatures.
Don't forget about an electrical outlet or two, and they need to be appropriate for outdoor use too. Also, take the following factors into consideration for your design as they can increase your overall cost:
- number of levels
- railing lengths
- materials and style
- steps, staircases, and landings
- built-in features and lighting
- demolish and remove old deck
- grading and level land
- deck banding
- staining and painting
- sealing and waterproofing
- corrosion-resistant fasteners
Lastly, you’ll want to figure maintenance into your total cost to build a deck. This is a minimal investment that will help to provide years of enjoyment in your new outdoor space.
How Much Will It Cost To Build My Deck?
Years ago, selecting material for deck building was easy...because there were no options! Although you had a choice of species, your deck was only going to be made of one thing - wood.
Now there is a wide range of options to complicate things, ranging from artificial and composite materials to various natural surfaces.
If you possess the skill of a professional carpenter, the cost to build your deck DIY style could be as low as $2,000 - $4,100 for an average 20ft x 16ft deck .
However, the overall cost to build a deck of the same size by a professional contractor, which would include the materials and features listed above, averages around $10,600. On the high end, a lavish hardwood deck could cost as much as $25,600.
Deck Building Cost Examples
To get a better idea of what you could be paying an average deck building project, here are some examples:
- Building an average deck of roughly 16 ft x 20ft ( 320 sq ft ), including a basic straightforward pattern, hand railings, three steps, a bench and a planter while using natural cedar softwood at $4 per sq ft would cost around $1,280 for the materials alone. Factor in the labor costs and you could spend anywhere between $39 - $75 per sq ft to complete the entire project. This means that for an average deck of 320 sq ft you could be looking at a total of anywhere between $12,480 - $24,000.
- Building the same sized deck using pressure treated wood can cost anywhere between $38 - $42 per sq ft installed, or roughly between $12,160 - $13,440. The pressure treated wood itself will cost, on average, anywhere between $3.50 - $6.50 per sq ft, or roughly $1,120 - $2,080.
Get quotes from multiple professionals before you expand your outdoor living space. You can work out a prime rate to suit your budget as well as get advice on a range of options for your new project. Deck building is a big investment and you should hire the right contractor for the job.
Find Trusted Local Pros For Deck Building
Remember that your location will play a role in your overall cost to build a deck. Why not get in touch with local deck building professional to discuss your options and get a better idea of what you will be paying.
To get in touch with a professional near you, simply enter your home zip code in the space provided on this page and you will receive a 100% FREE estimate.
And remember, there's no obligation to hire or purchase, and no contracts whatsoever.