Image of men measuring wood boards for backyard deck.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Deck?

4-Minute ReadMarch 16, 2022

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If you live in a part of the United States that experiences cold, dark winter months, you probably daydream of sitting on a deck and raising your face to the warm sun during the spring and summer. For those without a deck – or those with an old deck in need of renovation – now is the perfect time to start planning for that important upgrade to your outdoor space.

Let’s take a look at what it costs to build a deck and how you can plan for these costs.

Average Cost To Build A Deck

The average total cost for a new deck is around $7,700 with a range of $4,000 – $12,000, according to HomeAdvisor. A standard deck (including materials and labor) will typically cost you around $30 – $60 per square foot.

Of course, the total cost you’ll pay for your project depends on its design and size, the materials chosen and the price of labor where you live. If you’re a skilled DIYer, your costs could be nearly cut in half. When setting your budget, be sure to include various factors, including size, design, location, building materials and extras to enhance functionality. Once you’ve calculated the total cost of your deck project, consider your deck financing options.

How To Calculate The Cost Of Building A Deck

When you’re ready to start calculating how much it will cost you to build your deck, there are a few factors that you’ll need to think about. The materials that you choose to use, the cost of labor, the size of your project and the style you’re going to use can all affect the overall cost of your deck build.

Labor and materials each make up roughly 50% of the budget for a total average cost of $30 – $60 per square foot. Knowing this and what other expenses you could be looking at ahead of time can help you stick to your budget or give you the flexibility to make changes along the way.

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Deck Costs: Materials

Decking materials can cost anywhere from $20 – $45 per square foot, including the supporting materials, like planking, beams, bolts and railings. However, this all depends on which material you decide to use.

Here are just a few of the most common materials.

Wood

This is the cheapest material available for use as decking. It’s usually made from inferior grades of wood. Pressure-treated wood is rot- and insect-resistant, but it’s processed using chemicals which may raise health concerns from some. The cost of pressure treated wood runs about $5 per square foot.

Higher quality options like cedar wood can be a popular choice at a reasonable price point. The wood’s distinctive markings respond beautifully to stain and sealants.

Some tropical hardwoods, like ipe, are extremely hard. Ipe exotic hardwood costs $10 – $20 per square foot. The wood can last up to 40 years, but, because of environmental concerns, is relatively scarce and subject to industry scrutiny.

Composite/Plastic

Composite decks are a popular choice because they’re maintenance-free and usually contain a high percentage of recycled materials, making them environmentally friendly. Composites generally run $7 – $10 per square foot.

Aluminum

This is a great choice for someone looking for a deck that can withstand extreme weather and time. Coated aluminum decks are both slip waterproof and slip resistant. On average, an aluminum deck will run about $15 – $20 per square foot.

Deck Costs: Labor

Labor costs to build a deck are heavily dependent on where in the country you live and whether you’ll be hiring a contractor or completing the build yourself.

Hiring A Contractor

Once you have a rough estimate of what the materials will cost, you’ll need to at least double it if you plan on hiring a qualified contractor to perform the build. It might end up costing more than double if the work is unique and requires special skills.

Tropical hardwoods are especially hard and can take longer to install. You may be able to negotiate a reduced price of labor if you take on some of the unskilled labor yourself, but you’ll have to be able to perform it when and as quickly as the contractor’s schedule requires.

DIY

When it comes to choosing to DIY your deck build, only you can know your skill level and ability to see a project through to completion. While you’ll still be paying for the materials and other factors of the build, going this route can help save you money in the long run.

Keep in mind that you’ll still be paying, but in time instead of dollars. Assume it will take at least three times longer for you to build it yourself instead of hiring a pro to do the work. You also need to ensure that you don’t rush through the project and that all safety concerns are properly addressed. Any aspect of your deck that doesn’t meet the standards can put others at harm and you could be held liable for any injuries that occur.

Deck Costs: Size

Of course, the size of the deck is a key variable in estimating the cost of a project. Here are a few examples of the most common deck sizes and what you can expect to pay for each.

 Project Size in Square Feet

 Average

 Average Cost Range

Less than 200

$7,000

$3,000 – $14,000

200 – 500

$14,000

$6,000 – $35,000

More than 500

$24,000

$15,000 – $45,000

Deck Costs: Type and Style

You’ll also need to decide what style deck that you want to build. Some styles will be less complex than others, while more elaborate styles can raise the price of the project significantly.

Multilevel Deck

This style works well for uneven ground or larger spaces. You can expect your costs to increase if you are adding the deck to an upper floor where extra supports are needed, or building a multilevel deck. Plan to spend 50% – 100% more in costs for upper-level decks.

Floating Deck

Floating decks do not need to be attached to the house, but do require extra posts and stairs. This is a great style choice for homeowners who don’t have room for a deck directly next to their house. You can expect to pay between $20 – $60 per square foot for a floating deck.

Platform Deck

This is one of the most common deck styles. This type of deck is attached directly to the house and is usually lower-level, close to the ground. Stairs and extra posts are often not necessary for this style. The costs are typically less, coming in at around $10 – $20 per square foot.

Additional Deck Costs To Consider

Once you get going on a project, it’s hard to know where you’ll end up. You may be thinking that all you want is a simple deck that you can put a chaise lounge on, but when you start looking at images online or in magazines, your imagination will shift into gear and your plan may expand. This, of course, will have a dramatic impact on your deck budget.

Permits

Depending on where you live there are certain state and local government regulations you need to follow in order to build a deck. Most importantly, you will need to obtain a building permit. This usually costs $500 on average.

Demolition

If you have an existing deck that you need removed, this will cost you an extra fee as well. You can expect to pay $500 – $2,000 for a professional removal.

Stairs And Railings

Not all deck styles will include stairs and railings in their design and price per square foot. While most platform decks include these, multilevel and floating decks often require the extra expense of more complex stair and railing designs.

Extra Features

Mention the term "deck" and most people think of a basic wooden platform that is home to a grill, an outdoor table and an umbrella. Modern decks can be anything but basic. For example, one popular modern feature – built-ins – are extremely practical for storage. However, extra features of this nature can add significantly to the overall cost of the project.

Maybe you want to build a deck that accommodates an outdoor kitchen or a spa area, complete with a hot tub. Maybe you want it fitted around a pool. The sky's the limit when it comes to designing the perfect deck, but keep in mind that these variations will require integrated designs and specialized materials which will also affect costs.

Here are a few examples of the costs you could be looking at for additional features.

  • Lighting: $8 – $100 or more
  • Heaters: $100 – $300
  • Seating: $350 – $4,000
  • Landscaping: $1,500 – $5,300
  • Deck staining: $550 – $1,050
  • Waterproofing or sealing: $550 – $1,300
  • Adding a roof: $3,000 – $10,000
  • Adding a sunroom: $20,000 – $60,000
  • Adding an enclosure: $8,500 – $25,000

Does Adding A Deck Addition Increase Home Value?

According to a 2018 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) study about the impact of 20 Home Remodeling Projects, a new wood deck will cost an average of $10,000 and add an estimated $8,000 to the home’s value. That means homeowners who undertake this home improvement can expect to recoup around 80% of their costs.

More importantly, the survey found that homeowners felt significantly better about their homes after their deck was built. Of those polled, 81% said they have a greater desire to be home now that they have a deck, and 74% have an increased sense of enjoyment living in their homes because of the deck. Survey respondents reported a Joy Score of 9.8 (out of a possible 10).

FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the costs associated with building a deck.

Is a deck or a patio more expensive to build?

Decks may cost more than a patio to build, but often have a higher return on investment. If a deck is out of your price range, or your property doesn’t lend itself to a deck, you might consider a patio instead. According to the NAR survey, a backyard 18-foot-by-16-foot concrete paver patio (dry set over a compacted gravel and sand base) costs an average of $7,200, with an average of $5,000 recovered at resale, for a 69% return on investment. The Joy Score of the finished patio project came in at 9.7.

How can I save money building a deck?

When it comes to building a deck, expenses can add up quickly. To help save money along the way, set a budget for your project and stick with it. You can also save on costs by choosing more simplistic designs and features or doing some of the work yourself. Just remember that sometimes the extra money spent hiring a professional now can save you a great deal of hassle down the road. 

Final Thoughts

Although the cost of building a deck may seem high, the benefits of this project make it worthwhile. Decks typically have a significant return on investment and often bring homeowners immediate satisfaction.

Ready to get started? Apply for a personal loan today to make your outdoor dreams a warm, comfortable reality sooner rather than later.

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