How Much Does Composite Decking Cost?
Composite decking is easy to install, durable, and sustainable. Homeowners can install a composite deck for $3,600 to $7,800 or an average cost of about $5,450.
- Composite decking has a typical cost range of $3,600 to $7,800 and a national average cost of $5,450.
- There are several factors that affect composite decking cost, including the size, shape, location, brand, and type of deck; the type of fastener used; and the cost of labor.
- Composite decking has numerous benefits, including durability, pest resistance, fade and stain resistance, fire resistance, eco-friendliness, and easy installation.
- A handy homeowner may be able to install a composite deck themselves, but improper installation can result in additional expense. For this reason, many homeowners choose to hire a professional to install their deck.
One of the best ways to enjoy the summer sun is with a drink in one hand and the smell of barbecue wafting through the air, but a grassy yard can attract flies, mosquitoes, and other pests. When planning their outdoor space, homeowners may consider the benefits of installing a deck vs. a patio. While both can be good options, a deck can add value to a home while providing a comfortable space where family, friends, and guests can sit, eat, and have fun. There are several choices for material when it comes to building a deck, but composite is considered one of the best decking materials because of its durability, sustainability, and resistance to pests and fire.
According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, composite deck installations typically cost about $3,600 to $7,800 for materials, labor, and other expenses. On average, a homeowner can expect to pay $5,450 for the cost of composite deck installation. However, the price of deck boards can vary depending on the deck brands, local composite decking prices, and the type of composite material. Homeowners can learn more about composite decking cost considerations with this informative guide.
Factors in Calculating Composite Decking Cost
Putting together a budget for a composite deck installation seems like it would be relatively straightforward, but there are a lot of factors that can impact the composite decking cost. Before contacting a composite deck installation company, homeowners are advised to consider how the deck size, shape, location, brand, and other key factors can influence the prices.
One of the first factors to consider is the size of the deck. Small pool decks will cost less than expansive decks that take up a large portion of the yard. As the deck increases in size, the cost of the project will start to climb. To get an idea of the approximate cost of the installation project, homeowners will want to measure the desired installation area and use this information to work out the composite decking price per square foot.
On average, a composite deck installation project costs about $5,450, but depending on the material, deck shape, deck location, and other features, the price can range from $3,600 to $7,800. Composite decking materials cost about $15 to $36 per square foot, while average labor rates run about $10 to $14 per square foot, for a total cost of about $25 to $50 per square foot.
|Total Square Footage
|8 feet by 10 feet
|80 square feet
|$2,000 to $4,000
|12 feet by 12 feet
|144 square feet
|$3,600 to $7,200
|10 feet by 16 feet
|160 square feet
|$4,000 to $8,000
|10 feet by 20 feet
|200 square feet
|$5,000 to $10,000
|12 feet by 20 feet
|240 square feet
|$6,000 to $12,000
|16 feet by 20 feet
|320 square feet
|$8,000 to $16,000
|20 feet by 20 feet
|400 square feet
|$10,000 to $20,000
The size of the deck is a primary factor for coming up with an approximate budget, but for homeowners who are looking for a custom deck shape, the cost can increase by about $700 to $1,400 or about 20 percent of the project budget. The reason for this price increase is that a custom deck shape typically requires custom composite materials that need to be cut to the precise specifications for the deck plan.
Homeowners may be able to find premanufactured materials with less popular designs, like herringbone, pinstripe, or diagonal inlay, but these options generally cost more than a standard composite deck design. Homeowners can speak with the deck installer or deck installation company for help finding a deck shape and design that suits their yard and their budget.
The location of the new composite deck can increase the cost due to the additional material required as well as the increased time and difficulty of the project. Depending on the location of the new deck, the cost of the project can be affected by as much as $10 to $75 per square foot. Standard ground-level composite deck installations are the most basic option with the lowest cost, ranging from $10 to $20 per square foot.
Floating decks are designed in such a way that they do not need to be anchored to a building or structure. These decks can affect the project cost by $20 to $60 per square foot. Second-story decks are great for looking out over the yard, but they can affect the project cost by $40 to $50 per square foot, while multidecking designs have the highest cost, ranging from $30 to $75 per square foot.
|Average Cost per Square Foot
|$20 to $60
|$10 to $20
|$30 to $75
|$40 to $50
As with most products, the composite deck boards’ price can increase or decrease depending on the brand. Even the cheapest composite decking options can vary in price based on the manufacturer, so it’s a good idea for homeowners to research multiple brands to find the best option for their yard and budget. For instance, Trex decking cost estimates range from $5 to $10, while Veranda’s price of decking boards is just $4 to $5. Composite decking such as Trex can be more affordable than lumber in the long term, as composite lasts longer and requires less maintenance.
Before starting a composite decking project, homeowners will want to find out more about the available brands. They can speak to the deck installer or deck installation company to get professional advice about the best composite decking material for the home. If there are any concerns about budget, homeowners will want to consider opting for a cheap composite decking brand to reduce the overall cost of the project. What follows are some of the most popular brands and their average cost per square foot.
|Average Cost per Square Foot
|$8.50 to $12.50
|$5 to $10
|$7.50 to $12
|$5 to $10
|$4 to $5
Composite decking comes in several types, including polyethylene plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polypropylene plastic. The cost of the decking project can increase or decrease depending on the type of deck material that is selected for the deck construction. If the deck will be installed in a shady area, then mold may be an issue. Homeowners may want to consider installing mold-resistant polyethylene plastic at a cost of about $11.40 per square foot.
Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, decking is essentially composite decking material encapsulated in PVC; it costs about $11.40 per square foot. This design increases resistance to mildew, staining, fading, and abrasion. Polypropylene plastic is the most durable option available, though it can also be the most expensive, ranging in cost from $9.60 to $17.40 per square foot.
The type of fastener used to hold the composite deck board in place can affect both the look and cost of the deck. Traditional composite deck fasteners are the most cost-effective option for deck installation. These fasteners are designed to be installed through the top of the deck boards, leading to a quicker installation process and lower labor costs.
Hidden fasteners can be used if the homeowner wants to take a smooth, concealed approach to the installation. These fasteners hold the decking down from the sides or from below with no visible holes or screw heads on the surface of the deck. However, these fasteners take longer to install, leading to increased labor costs and lengthy installation timelines.
When homeowners are hiring a composite deck installation company for the deck building project, they’ll want to factor in the labor costs involved with the installation. In general, labor alone can add about $1,500 to $2,000 to the total cost of the project. This works out to about $10 to $15 per square foot, though the rates can increase or decrease depending on location.
Rural communities tend to have a smaller population, leading to a lower demand for deck installation and cheaper labor rates. High-density populations, like those in major cities, typically have a high demand for this type of work, so labor rates may be higher in these locations. Additionally, some deck companies may charge as much as $25 per square foot for the installation of stairs.
Additional Costs and Considerations
After taking the time to consider the primary factors involved with the composite deck installation, homeowners will want to determine whether there will be any additional costs, such as permit fees, old deck removal fees, leveling costs, or land clearing costs. The following additional costs and fees are important considerations before homeowners finalize their budget for this project.
Composite vs. Wood Decking
Many homeowners may wonder whether it’s better to install composite or wood decking. Wood has long been the standard option for deck building projects, but composite is growing in popularity as people recognize the benefits of this material, including superior durability and a long lifespan.
- Composite decking is typically composed of a mixture of wood fiber, plastic, and chemical additives. This construction gives the composite material a long lifespan, lasting from about 25 to 30 years before replacement. It also increases the resistance to fading, cracking, and other sun damage. However, composite decking is generally more expensive at an average cost of $25 to $54 per square foot, while the cheapest wood options cost just $10 to $20 per square foot.
- Wood decking is still the most popular choice for building a deck. This is because wood is tough, durable, paintable, stainable, and generally less expensive. The drawback to wood decking is that it doesn’t last as long as composite, with an average lifespan of just 10 to 15 years. Wood is also more susceptible to sun damage, and while the cheapest wood options range from just $10 to $20 per square foot, premium wood options can cost as much as $30 to $35 per square foot.
Not every deck requires a permit. Homeowners will want to speak to the local permit office or discuss permit requirements with the deck installation company to find out if one is required for the project. If this paperwork is necessary before the composite deck installation can begin, homeowners will want to ask the installation company or deck installer if they will be handling the permit acquisition and if there is an additional fee for this service.
In some cases, the deck installation company will ask the homeowner to get the permit. If permit acquisition is left up to the homeowner, it’s important to verify with the installation company that no extra fees for the permit will be added to the installation cost. Homeowners will want to be prepared to spend between $225 to $500 for a composite deck permit, depending on the location.
Old Deck Removal
If the new composite deck will be replacing an existing deck, then the homeowner will either need to deconstruct and remove the old deck before installation or plan to spend between $5 and $15 per square foot for deck removal. Depending on the deck installation company, deck removal services may not be offered. Before adding this fee to the budget for the project, homeowners will want to speak to the installation company to verify that they are willing to handle this part of the job.
This service typically includes the demolition or deconstruction of the old deck, deck material removal, and disposal costs for the old deck boards, brackets, foundation, and any other parts. If the deck installation company does not offer deck removal services, homeowners may consider contacting one of the best junk removal companies that takes on this type of work.
|Old Deck Dimensions
|Total Square Footage
|Average Removal Cost
|8 feet by 10 feet
|80 square feet
|$400 to $1,200
|12 feet by 12 feet
|144 square feet
|$720 to $2,160
|10 feet by 16 feet
|160 square feet
|$800 to $2,400
|10 feet by 20 feet
|200 square feet
|$1,000 to $3,000
|12 feet by 20 feet
|240 square feet
|$1,200 to $3,600
|16 feet by 20 feet
|320 square feet
|$1,600 to $4,800
|20 feet by 20 feet
|400 square feet
|$2,000 to $6,000
Yard Grading and Leveling
Ideally, the area where the deck will be installed is already completely level and properly graded to avoid issues with installation or construction. However, in some cases, minor yard grading and landscaping are necessary to ensure that the deck is properly balanced and adequately supported.
Yard grading and leveling costs for a composite deck typically range from about $500 to $1,000 on average. In some circumstances, the deck must be built on uneven terrain, such as during the construction of a deck on a steep hill. It wouldn’t make logical sense to try to backfill and level the entire hill, so deck installers will need to work out how to properly construct the deck for adequate support. The additional time, difficulty, and materials required to build a deck on uneven ground can increase the cost of the project.
Deck Base Construction
Depending on the location of the deck and the composite deck design, a deck base may be required to adequately support the structure. While this isn’t always the case, a floating deck or a ground-level composite deck can generally be installed without a base, reducing the overall cost of the installation. Homeowners will want to speak to the deck installer to find out if the deck needs a base before finalizing the budget.
Second-story and some multilevel decks will need a deck base to support the structure. On average, homeowners can expect to spend up to $75 per square foot to install the base of the deck. If this addition increases the cost beyond the budget, homeowners may want to consider installing a floating deck or ground-level composite deck.
Even if the job doesn’t require leveling or grading, the yard may have obstructions that would prevent the transportation of materials or the construction of the composite deck. These obstructions need to be removed before the installers can proceed with the job, which can cost between $1,400 and $5,400 on average. Common issues that may require land clearing services include tree removal, boulder removal, and brush removal.
|Land Clearing Service
|$900 per boulder
|$20 to $200 per acre
|$700 per tree
A basic composite deck offers homeowners, friends, and families a great place to barbecue, eat, drink, play, or just hang out. However, there are a wide range of custom options that can be added to the deck installation to increase the functionality and appeal of the composite deck, including patio furniture, lighting, electrical wiring, deck roofing, or even a dedicated subpanel to provide power to deck accessories such as hot tubs and electric grills.
Customizing the deck can cost as little as $100 for some inexpensive patio furniture or more than $10,000 for the installation of high-quality deck roofing. Homeowners will want to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each customization option before deciding whether it is worth tacking on the extra cost to the total price of the composite deck installation project.
|$1,400 to $4,300
|$3,000 to $10,000
|$3 to $5 per linear foot
|$50 to $900 per fixture
|$2,000 to $3,500
|Standard Patio Table and Chairs
|$200 to $1,800
|$400 to $1,750
Taxes and Insurance
In some locations, adding a composite deck to the home can increase the property tax by up to $100, but this depends on the home, the local municipality, and the current tax laws. Homeowners may want to speak with a tax assessor to determine if this addition will end up increasing their taxes and, if so, by how much.
Installing a composite deck could also affect the cost of the homeowners insurance, though this differs by location and insurance company. Homeowners can check with their insurance provider to find out how much the installation of a composite deck will increase the cost. On average, homeowners can expect to pay an additional $50 per year after deck installation.
Another cost factor for homeowners to consider when putting together the budget for a composite deck is whether the material and labor are covered under a product warranty or some other type of guarantee. Not every composite deck manufacturer will offer a warranty for their products, though most tend to have some type of coverage to account for any product defects.
Labor guarantees are less common than product warranties, though there are many professional deck building companies that do guarantee the work. Before hiring a company, homeowners will want to find out if the work will be guaranteed and if the company will handle any warranty issues if the material turns out to be defective. To ensure that they are protected in the event of any issues, homeowners will, if possible, want to hire a professional company that backs up its products and labor.
Types of Composite Decking
Composite deck material comes in three main types, including polyethylene plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polypropylene plastic. When putting together a budget for the composite decking installation, homeowners are advised to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each material, as well as the differences in cost, before coming to a final decision about the best type of composite decking for the project.
|Composite Decking Type
|Average Cost Per Square Foot
|$9.60 to $17.40
|Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Polyethylene plastic decking is a good choice for mold-resistant decking because it is typically made by mixing polyethylene, a wood fiber filler, and mold-resistant chemicals designed to seal the composite boards. This type of composite decking is relatively inexpensive at a cost of about $11.40 per square foot.
However, it’s necessary to note that polyethylene plastic composite decking is not the most durable choice, and it doesn’t provide the same level of resistance to fading, stains, and abrasive damage as PVC decking.
Polypropylene plastic composite decking is the most expensive material available for this project, ranging in cost from $9.60 to $17.40 per square foot. However, the higher price may be worth it for homeowners who are looking for heat resistance, moisture resistance, and superior durability.
Polypropylene plastic decking doesn’t warp from prolonged exposure to moisture, and it’s more durable than both polyethylene plastic and PVC decking. The drawback is that polypropylene is not as resistant to mold, mildew, and sun damage as other types of composite decking, so it’s recommended that homeowners consider their options carefully before selecting the best type for the decking project.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Selecting polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, composite decking is a great way to ensure the deck lasts for years without fading, staining, or becoming scratched by shoes, patio furniture, barbecue wheels, and other deck accessories. PVC composite decking is also known as vinyl composite decking and typically costs about $11.40 per square foot.
While this deck option is highly resistant to sun damage, staining, and abrasion, it doesn’t have the same durability as polypropylene plastic decking and may be more susceptible to mold growth than polyethylene plastic decking.
Benefits of Choosing Composite Decking
Adding a deck to the yard is an excellent way to encourage residents to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. Composite decking offers a wide range of benefits that make it an excellent choice for deck building projects, including superior durability, pest resistance, fade resistance, and more. Homeowners can find out the material and construction benefits that have helped increase the popularity of composite deck installation by reading the details provided below.
Wood is the most common option for a decking project, but typically a wood deck lasts only about 10 to 15 years before it needs to be replaced. This is due to wood’s natural vulnerabilities to sun damage and moisture, which can cause wood to warp, crack, and rot. Composite decking is a more durable option that is able to last for up to 25 to 30 years before replacement. That’s about twice the length of time a wood deck can last.
Additionally, composite decking material is designed to be resistant to the sun, rain, sleet, and snow, so homeowners can take comfort knowing the material won’t rot, warp, or splinter. If there is a specific concern, like a high frequency of precipitation or prolonged periods of sun exposure, homeowners can simply select the composite decking material that is best equipped to handle the problem.
An issue that some wood decks, fences, and other wood structures have is that wood makes an attractive meal for a range of insects. Even if the pests don’t consume the wood, they may burrow into the deck to nest, leading to a significant increase of insects in the area.
Composite decks don’t have this issue because the material is not soft, fibrous, or nutritional enough to be an attractive option. If the old deck has had problems with insect infestations, homeowners may want to switch to a pest-resistant composite deck to make full use of the yard without worrying about pesky bugs.
Fade and Stain Resistance
While wood decking must be painted or stained to protect against the sun and rain, another great benefit of composite decking is that the entire material is pre-dyed to the specified color, ensuring that the composite deck boards are highly resistant to fading and staining.
Depending on the brand, homeowners can find composite decking in a wide variety of colors, textures, and wood grain patterns. This material resists the effects of sun damage, so the colors remain vibrant for years without fading. Homeowners will just want to make sure they regularly wash the deck to avoid mold and mildew growth.
Wood is a highly combustible material, especially when it has had years to dry out under the hot sun. A wood deck that isn’t regularly stained or painted to prevent sun damage can quickly dry out, leaving behind cracked, splintered fibers that are vulnerable to stray sparks and flames.
Opting for a composite deck material can help prevent home fires, because while composite may warp or melt when exposed to significantly high temperatures, it is fire-resistant, meaning that the material is unlikely to actually catch on fire. Even if the composite decking does catch fire, it will not burn as quickly or easily as wood, giving the homeowner time to call the fire department or put out the fire themselves.
Composite decking can be made with a composition of new materials, but in many cases, composite deck boards are created with recycled materials. By creating new products with recycled materials, composite deck manufacturers can reduce the amount and impact of environmental waste.
Homeowners who want a new deck without sacrificing the local or global ecological efforts will want to check the manufacturer’s information to determine if the product is recycled or if it is made with new materials. Sticking with recycled products can help homeowners reduce the ecological footprint of the project.
Wood decks typically consist of raw materials that need to be cut to the appropriate lengths, organized, and installed with nails or screws. While this process may be straightforward for DIYers with a substantial amount of deck building experience, it can quickly get confusing for beginners.
Composite decking is designed for easy installation with a DIY-friendly interlocking system. However, for anyone who is looking for more complex designs or custom deck installations, composite decking can get costly. Sticking with simple patterns and basic deck shapes helps keep the installation as straightforward and affordable as possible.
Composite Decking Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
While composite decking may be more difficult to work with than standard lumber, experienced DIYers are more than capable of tackling a composite decking project. Handling this installation as a DIY project can save between $1,500 to $2,000 on labor costs, depending on the location and the complexity of the job. However, homeowners will want to note that the average cost to repair a deck when it is not installed properly is about $1,700.
In most cases, having a professional crew of composite deck installers complete this project is worth the extra $1,500 to $2,000 because the job gets done faster and the quality of the work is typically better than that of the average DIYer. Additionally, many deck installation companies and composite deck installers offer warranties on the material or guarantees on the work, so the homeowner is protected if something goes wrong with the installation.
How to Save Money on Composite Decking Cost
Keeping the cost to build a deck on the low side isn’t impossible; it just requires diligent planning and the forethought to work within the budget. To help ensure that the expenses don’t get out of hand, focus on finding ways to reduce the cost of the project without sacrificing quality. Some areas of the project that could be changed to decrease the total cost include the brand, deck shape, and electrical add-ons.
- Choose a lower-cost brand. The composite decking brand can greatly affect the cost of materials, with some brands offering composite decking for just $4 to $5 per square foot, while others may sell composite decking for as much as $12 per square foot.
- Use a simple pattern for laying your decking boards. Complex patterns, like herringbone, pinstripe, and diagonal inlay, can increase the price of the project. Opt for a standard pattern to save on installation costs.
- Omit electrical power and lighting upgrades. Installing any type of electrical wiring, lighting, or equipment will increase the cost of the project. Keep to a basic deck design to ensure costs remain within budget.
- Schedule the installation for the off-season. Most composite deck building projects are completed during the warmer months of the year. Homeowners may be able to get a reduced price on the deck installation if they schedule the installation for early spring or late fall.
Questions to Ask About Composite Decking Installation
When homeowners are planning a composite deck installation or replacement project, it’s a good idea for them to ask any pressing questions before hiring a deck installer or installation company. This is particularly true for anyone who has never hired a deck installation company or been involved in a deck building project. Homeowners will want to make sure they ask questions before the project begins.
The last thing anyone wants is to agree to a costly upgrade project only to find out that the construction isn’t being handled professionally, the workers are not licensed or insured, or the timeline keeps getting extended. Instead, homeowners will want to find out what they need to know about the installers, installation company, pricing, payments, and more by asking the following questions before composite deck installation.
- Do you require a deposit?
- Is a permit necessary? Will you handle that, or will I need to?
- Can you estimate the time required to finish the project?
- How will you handle unexpected problems?
- Can I see a portfolio of completed projects or references?
- Are you insured?
- Are you licensed and bonded?
- What types of decks do you specialize in?
- Do you offer warranties?
- Do you have staff, or do you subcontract?
- Will there be a supervisor on-site?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- Is financing available?
- What decking material options do you provide?
- What kind of fasteners do you use?
- Will I be notified if there is an additional charge as the deck is being built?
In order for homeowners to put together an accurate budget for a composite decking project, it’s important for them to have as much information as possible about composite deck boards’ prices and any factors that could influence the composite decking cost. The answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about composite decks can help ensure that homeowners have all the information they need to start this project.
Q. How long does composite decking last on average?
Composite decking can typically last about 25 to 30 years before it needs to be replaced. Homeowners will want to make sure they keep up with regular deck maintenance to help the deck last as long as possible before it starts to show significant signs of wear.
Q. Will my composite decking get moldy?
A drawback to using composite decking over wood is that it is more susceptible to mold, especially areas of the deck that are typically in the shade. Staying on top of deck cleaning can reduce the risk of mold growth, but homeowners will want to make sure they check the manufacturer’s directions before using a mold and mildew cleaner, as some composite decking is not compatible with these products.
Q. Will the sun damage my composite decking?
UV radiation from the sun tends to fade paint and dry out wood deck material. Composite decking is an excellent alternative to wood decking if a homeowner is concerned about sun damage. This is because composite material is highly resistant to fading, cracking, and other sun damage.
Q. Does composite decking increase home value?
In most cases, adding a deck to the home is a good idea if a homeowner intends to live there for at least a few years before selling. If a homeowner is looking for ways to increase the home value for the purpose of selling immediately, then a deck isn’t a good investment. Installing a wood deck will increase the home value, but a homeowner will only recoup about 68 percent of the cost to install the deck. Similarly, installing a composite deck will also increase the home value, but a homeowner will recoup only about 63 percent of the installation cost.
Q. How do I wash my composite decking?
Composite decking can be washed with soap, water, and a scrub brush. Alternatively, some brands recommend using a low-power pressure washer to clean dirt and debris from the composite decking—homeowners may want to work the cost to pressure wash a deck into their annual home maintenance budget unless they plan to complete this task themselves. Regardless of whether a homeowner chooses the more cautious but time-consuming method of scrubbing by hand, or they opt for a pressure washer to save time, it’s necessary to rinse the deck thoroughly after washing. Otherwise, dirty water may dry on top of the deck, creating a slippery film across the surface.
Q. Do I need to repaint my composite decking?
While some composite decking can be painted, it does not typically need to be repainted or stained. If a homeowner chooses to paint the composite material, they’ll want to check whether the decking material is compatible with paint. Some composite decking material may be resistant to paints and stains, resulting in a wet, sticky mess that sits in puddles on top of the deck instead of bonding to the composite.