Image of men measuring wood boards for backyard deck.

How Much Does It Cost to Build A Deck?

4-Minute Read

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. 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.

How Much Does It Cost to Build A Deck?

According to Home Advisor, the average new deck installation costs $7,694 with a typical range of $4,156 and $11,232. Expect to pay a total of $16,000 for a 16-foot-by-20-foot deck with footings, posts, railings with balusters and a built-in bench. Wood will average about $13,000, while composite materials increase the material price to $19,000.

Of course, that price depends on its design and size, the materials chosen and the price of labor where you live. If you are a skilled DIYer, your costs will be roughly halved. Your total budget depends on various factors, including size, design, location, building materials and extras to enhance functionality.

Does Adding A Deck Addition Increase Home Value?

According to a 2018 National Association of Realtors 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).

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How Is The Cost To Build A Deck Calculated?

Labor and materials each make up roughly 50% of the budget for a total average cost of $30 – $60 per square foot.

Deck Cost By Size

Of course, the size of the deck is a key variable in estimating the cost of a project:

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 Styles And Extras

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.

Multi-Level Decks

You can expect your costs to increase if you are adding the deck to an upper floor, or building a multi-level deck. Plan to spend 30% – 60% more for upper-level decks.

Built-Ins

Mention the term "deck" and most people think of a basic wooden platform that is home to a barbeque, an outdoor table and an umbrella. Modern decks can be anything but basic. One popular modern feature – built-ins – are extremely practical for storage. But they can add significantly to the overall cost of the project.

The Sky’s The Limit

Some homeowners build decks to accommodate an outdoor kitchen or a spa area, complete with a hot tub. Some decks are fitted around pools. These variations will require integrated designs and specialized materials which will also affect costs.

What Materials Should I Consider For My Deck?

Here are just a few of your options. The prices estimated below are for the decking alone. Materials cost anywhere from $20 to $45 per square foot, including the supporting materials, like planking, beams, bolts and railings.

Pressure-Treated 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 is processed using chemicals which may raise health concerns from some. The cost of pressure treated wood runs about $5 per square foot.

Higher Quality Woods

Cedar wood is 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/Synthetic Decking

This is a popular choice, because it is maintenance-free and usually contains a high percentage of recycled materials, making it environmentally friendly. Composites generally run $7 – $10 per square foot.

How Much Will The Labor Cost?

The cost of labor is heavily dependent on where in the country you live.

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. The tropical hardwoods are truly 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 their schedule requires.

DIY

Only you can know your skill level and your ability to see a project through to completion. 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.

What Alternatives Are There To Create Outdoor Space?

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.

The two main factors to consider when budgeting for a patio are the size of the space you wish to create and the materials you choose.

Cost By Size Of Patio

7 x 7

$250 – $2,500

10 x 10

$500 – $5,000

12 x 12

$750 – $7,200

16 x 18

$1,450 – $14,500

20 x 20

$2,000 – $20,000

Gravel

Gravel is the bargain basement entry to consider if you’re aiming to create an outdoor space on a budget. Pea gravel runs about $1 –$4 per square foot, and all you need is a shovel to spread it out. Gravel provides better stability for tables and chairs if you install it over a level surface.

Concrete

If all you want is a ground-level surface that extends out from a door of your home, poured concrete patios cost between $1,600 and $4,200, while stamped concrete patios cost $2,250 – $5,400. (Both price ranges are national averages.) Concrete can be acid-washed and polished to a beautiful finish, although this will cost more if done professionally.

Pavers

You can find pavers styled to look like concrete or brick. Brick pavers cost between $4 and $8 per square foot. They’re made of real clay and last far longer than concrete. Concrete pavers cost $3 – $7 per square foot.

Stonework

There are a wide variety of materials available. Natural stone patio materials can cost $3 – $35 per square foot.

"Flagstone" is another popular choice of stonework. Flagstone comprises individually cut pieces of stone in irregular shapes. This material is prized for the unique shape of each stone within it. On average, flagstone costs $10 per square foot.

Final Thoughts: Creating Usable Outdoor Space Will Make You Happier, And Your Home More Valuable

Want to protect and increase the value of your home? Invest in outdoor space. It will make you happier now and whenever you sell, if you choose to do so. Ready to get started? A personal loan can make your outdoor dreams a warm, comfortable reality sooner vs. later.

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