How Much Does It Cost to Build a Deck?
How much does it cost to build a deck? Building a deck can expand your outdoor living space and provide another gathering place for warm- weather activities. The national average cost to install a new deck is $7,696, but a typical range is $4,160 to $11,257.
- Typical Range: $4,160 to $11,257
- National Average: $7,696
A great backyard can become even more appealing with a beautiful deck on which to enjoy barbecues, fire pits, and family gatherings in the summer. If you’ve decided a deck is the perfect addition to your backyard, you may be wondering, “How much does it cost to build a deck?” Several design factors affect the overall price of a deck, particularly size, materials used, structural requirements, deck design, extra features, and more. On average, the cost to build a deck is $7,696, which quickly translates to a boost in property value.
Factors in Calculating the Cost to Build a Deck
The cost to build a deck is largely dependent on the size and complexity of the deck being built. Building a deck under 200 square feet can average between $3,000 and $14,000, depending on the complexity and design of the deck. Building a second-story deck increases overall costs by 30 to 60 percent. Materials, design style, and foundation requirements can also affect how much it costs to build a deck.
The average cost of decking material ranges between $20 and $45 per square foot. There are three common choices of materials: wood, composite, and plastic. Pressure-treated wood costs between $15 and $20 per square foot and $2 to $5 for decking boards. Plastic and composite materials cost between $30 and $40 per square foot and $12 to $22 for decking boards. Trex decking is a popular sustainable composite that does not use wood.
Size is a major contributing factor to the overall cost of a new deck. A small 8-by-8-foot deck requires fewer materials and labor than a 16-by-20-foot deck. Most homeowners can expect to pay $30 to $60 per square foot when building a deck that’s approximately 300 to 400 square feet.
Design and Type
Complex designs that include multiple levels, elaborate railings, built-in benches or grills, or a deck built on a second story will increase the overall cost of a backyard deck. For instance, a wraparound deck could cost an average of 50 to 100 percent more than a typical deck.
Decks that are expected to hold additional weight like a hot tub will require significant support structures with poured concrete footings. Raised decks require additional beams and footings for security, but small decks attached to the home may only need concrete blocks. The average cost of a concrete decking block is $50 to $75, and the average cost of a poured concrete footer is $200 to $400.
Labor and Permits
Professional decking companies typically charge between $15 and $35 per square foot to build an average-size deck. That cost varies based on location, size of deck, and materials used. If a building permit is required to add a traditional deck as a permanent structure, the average cost is $500.
Additional Costs and Considerations
After discussing your customized deck requirements with a Lowe’s deck designer or other decking professional, you may want to add some additional features such as a roof, deck skirting, built-in kitchen, accessories, and more. An existing deck in disrepair may also need to be removed first, which is an additional cost.
Demolishing an Existing Deck
If an existing deck is beyond repair or simply doesn’t suit your style, you’ll need to demolish it before building the new one. In some cases, the footings can be reused and added to, or they may need to be torn out and rebuilt to suit the new deck requirements. The cost to have a professional help remove an existing deck and foundation averages $500 to $2,000.
In some climates, it’s possible to have a deck built in the winter. This may be a preferred option for many homeowners, as decking companies have more time to complete the job since it’s considered off-season. With less construction happening during winter months, building permits may be obtained more quickly, too.
Features and Add-Ons
Adding a roof to your deck could cost an additional $3,000 to $10,000. Installing lighting can range between $8 and $150 per fixture. Enclosing the deck can cost on average $8,000 to $25,000. On average, patio furniture costs from $350 to $4,000 as a low and high range.
To make the deck more comfortable year-round, you may consider adding misters ($1,800 to $3,100) or heaters ($100 to $300). Homeowners can also add entertainment value with built-in grills or kitchens, TVs with surround sound, or even a gazebo.
For raised decks, an appealing way to cover the empty space below the deck is to install deck skirting. Materials for deck skirting vary from lattice to metal, wood, or vinyl sheets. Lattice is the least expensive with an average cost of $3 per square foot, vinyl could cost up to $50 per square foot, and stone veneer averages up to $200 per square foot.
It’s helpful to have power outlets available on a deck, particularly if it’s a freestanding deck away from the house. Deck professionals often have electricians who can run power safely to multiple points on your deck. If you have plans to install a hot tub, be sure to notify the electrician of the power requirements.
Decking Railings and Stairs
Basic railings are sometimes included in the average cost per square foot, but raised decks, second-story decks, and additional stairs typically cost extra. Railings and stairs take longer to install than deck planking and require more materials.
Typical square or rectangular decks with straight lines are common choices that won’t cost extra. If a herringbone pattern, diagonal stripes, or any other special pattern is preferred, homeowners can expect to add an additional 15 percent cost for increased labor and materials.
Care and Maintenance
Composite decks resist weathering and require little maintenance other than regular cleaning. Decks made from natural woods should be resanded and stained or sealed against weather at least once a year ($500 to $1,200). Any boards or railings that are significantly damaged should be repaired or replaced, and a professional can help inspect the foundation regularly.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Deck? Types of Decks
Building a deck offers a homeowner more options for where and how to design an outdoor living space compared to a patio. While a patio is generally adjacent to a house, a deck can be placed almost anywhere. It can also include multiple levels or be built off the ground completely. Each variation creates complexity and affects the overall costs.
Floating or Detached
Floating decks cost on average $20 to $60 per square foot and can be built anywhere on the property without being attached to an existing structure like a home. They sit low to the ground and require additional supports to suspend the decking safely long term. Detached decks are appealing to homeowners who don’t have space available next to their home.
This is the traditional deck style many homeowners choose, as it’s generally a low-level deck that’s attached to the house. The ground is usually level near the house, so it doesn’t require a complex foundation or construction. Platform decks are often an inexpensive option with an average cost of $10 to $20 per square foot.
Raised decks are often built adjacent to a house, but they’re specifically designed to create a level space over uneven terrain. Sometimes raised decks also include multiple levels. Raised decks will also require additional stairs and sturdy railings, all of which will increase the overall price.
For homes with a second level or built on a mountainside, homeowners can add a balcony-style deck for upper rooms. A deck installer can help identify the best footings and supports needed to design a safe two-story deck. This option includes a full set of stairs, adding complexity and cost to the project with an average cost of $40 to $50 per square foot.
For larger spaces or for decks on uneven ground, a multilevel deck might be an appealing option for homeowners. If a steep terrain in the backyard prevents the space from being usable, creating a wide deck with multiple levels can offer plenty of flat space for entertaining and playing. With a solid foundation, additional railings, and stairs, costs for a multilevel deck average 50 to 100 percent higher than a traditional platform deck.
In regions that receive more rain than others, it’s worth considering building a covered deck so you can enjoy it throughout the year. Decks can be partially enclosed or roofed to protect from the elements. On average, the cost to enclose or cover a deck ranges between $6,000 and $26,000, depending on size and materials.
Do I Need to Build a Deck?
Decks are a popular outdoor accessory for homeowners who enjoy spending time outdoors grilling, entertaining, and relaxing. Financially, they’re a great investment since they help boost the property value. Old decks should be repaired or replaced to prevent accidents and to increase the total value of the house.
Damaged, Unsafe, or Unstable Deck
Decks that were built without a solid or proper foundation become unstable over time. If the deck wasn’t properly maintained, the wood may have rotted, nails may be exposed, and joists may be loose. All of these are safety concerns that can quickly be assessed to determine whether the deck needs to be repaired or if it should be demolished and then replaced.
Increased Property Value
Building a deck is a much simpler task than building a home, yet it gives homeowners a higher rate of return on their investment—up to 80 percent. For homeowners who plan to sell their house, adding a deck is a great investment to appeal to potential buyers. Be aware that damaged or severely weathered decks can decrease the overall value of a home.
Deck designs are completely customizable and so are the accessories selected by you or future homeowners. This flexibility is appealing to potential home buyers and homeowners alike since each can use the same space to create a comfortable outdoor area that suits their unique styles.
Some homeowners appreciate the ability to store outdoor items on their deck, whether it’s enclosed or not. Rather than setting equipment or storage bins on uneven ground where moisture can seep in, a flat deck provides a stable surface to keep extra items in an orderly manner. You might even keep your lawn mower on the deck to avoid having to build a storage shed.
Less Landscaping Maintenance
With more yard space taken up by a beautiful deck, homeowners can worry less about landscaping and yard maintenance. Composite decks are low maintenance compared to mowing and weeding a yard.
More Entertainment Space
A primary benefit of building a new deck is the additional space available for entertaining friends and family for summer barbecues and birthday parties. For homes with a smaller kitchen and dining area, adding a large deck off the kitchen entry can quickly expand the footprint needed for large gatherings.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Deck: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Another factor to consider when determining how much it costs to build a deck is whether to complete the project on your own or not. DIY enthusiasts might jump at the opportunity to tackle a more complicated project like building a deck. Installing a deck on your own would cost approximately 65 percent of the total price if done by a decking company, so there are some cost savings to consider. However, most decks will take approximately 3 to 4 weeks to complete on your own, including preparing the ground and footings, purchasing materials, and building it. Obtaining your own permit, if necessary, could take longer than if a contractor were to do it.
Any permanent or detached structure designed to hold significant weight needs to be properly designed with a solid foundation. If any workmanship is done poorly or the footings aren’t strong enough, homeowners would be liable for any injuries due to accidents. Some common problems with DIY decks are exposed nails or screws, uneven boards, a bowed foundation that could collapse, unstable stairs or railings, and more. These safety hazards increase with the complexity of second-story or multilevel decks.
The benefits of having a pro install your backyard deck help eliminate most of these safety problems since they are qualified to identify the best foundation for your yard and deck design, and they are well versed in building a strong foundation for evenly laid deck planking to avoid any trips or falls. A deck contractor can help advise how to design a deck safely for your particular space, explain where money can be saved, and handle the logistics of ordering the correct materials. A professional company usually has a qualified electrician they employ or work with if the job requires power to be run to multiple outlets on the deck. For added peace of mind, decking professionals are licensed and insured and may offer warranties to cover their work.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Build a Deck
Installing a new deck can feel like a big, expensive decision, but the benefits far outweigh the costs—increased property value for starters. Now that you have an understanding of how size, materials, and design affect the overall cost of the deck, you can identify potential areas to reduce costs. Consider these ideas for how to save money when building a deck.
- Start with a budget. If you begin with an idea of how much you’re willing to spend, it can help guide the decisions about design and materials.
- Identify any limitations or restrictions. Be sure you know where your property lines are, and check for any zoning or permit restrictions in place for your city. Knowing these ahead of time can help prevent a potentially expensive hassle later.
- Demolish an existing deck on your own. If an old deck needs to be removed first, tearing it down on your own can save on labor costs.
- Stick with a simple design. Designs without curves, extra steps, multiple levels, or built-in accessories are automatically cheaper to install than more complex decks. Build what suits your needs and budget.
- Choose a floating or freestanding deck. A freestanding deck is the most affordable style of deck since it’s not attached to any existing structure.
- Consider using pretreated wood rather than composite materials. Using wood is a cheaper installation option up front, though it will require more care and maintenance each year than a composite deck.
- Build in the winter if possible. If your region has milder winters, having a pro build a deck during the cool months might be more affordable and faster since it’s a less common time to build and use an outdoor deck.
- DIY the less complicated steps. Building the foundation, railings, and deck planking may be beyond the skills of most homeowners, but perhaps you can arrange to have the deck builder leave the staining, sealing, or painting portion to you. Then you don’t have to pay extra labor costs for finishing the deck.
- Choose standard dimensions. Lumber comes in standard lengths of 8, 10, 12, and 16 feet. Building a deck with any of these dimensions eliminates lumber waste and makes it easier to calculate the cost of deck planking.
- Get multiple quotes. Asking for a quote from more than one contractor could help save money if prices vary between them, as long as they all have great reviews and references from previous customers.
Questions to Ask About How Much It Costs to Build a Deck
Identifying the right deck installer for your home can take some time if you live in a region with a short building season due to weather, so plan ahead to get on their schedule. Consider having your basic concept ready when you talk to a pro about what to expect when asking how much it costs to build a deck. The following questions can help you choose a qualified deck contractor and understand the estimated costs based on your preferences for a customized deck.
- How long have you been building decks?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you offer a warranty on your work?
- Do you have references I can contact?
- Can I see a portfolio of your work?
- Do you handle local permits?
- Will you come to my house to inspect the area where the deck will be built?
- Have you built a deck like I’m interested in?
- Can this design hold a hot tub?
- What decking material do you recommend and why?
- What kind of foundation will my yard and deck design require?
- How much would a roof cost?
- How much would it cost to add power outlets?
- Can you provide a detailed estimate with labor and material costs?
- Do you require a deposit up front?
- When can you start, and when do you expect to finish?
- What if I decide to add a feature while you’re building the deck?
- What kind of care and maintenance will this deck require?
Understanding how much it costs to build a deck can be a complicated process since decks are so customizable. Here are some frequently asked questions to help explain deck building costs for most homeowners.
Q. How much does it cost to build a 10-by-16-foot deck?
The cost to build a 160-square-foot deck averages between $14 and $44 per square foot or $2,240 and $7,040 total. This is dependent on the material choice, deck patterns, number of stairs, and other contributing factors.
Q. Is it cheaper to build your own deck?
In terms of up-front costs, yes, it is cheaper to build your own deck. It’s estimated that a DIY deck installation would cost 65 percent of a professional installation. Other factors to consider in the long term include the safety of deck construction (immediate repairs or replacement) and the longevity of a deck that’s hastily constructed.
Q. Does a deck add value to a home?
New decks add immediate property value to a home. Homeowners who install a new deck can experience up to an 80 percent return on their investment. On the other hand, a deck that’s in poor shape can bring down the value of a home.
Q. Are composite materials cheaper?
No. Composite materials are fabricated, last longer, and resist weathering, which makes them more expensive. Common wood selections are the cheapest material for installing a new deck.
Q. What steps should I take to estimate the cost of my deck?
- Talk with local outdoor professionals at home improvement stores or deck building companies.
- Identify the general size and style of deck that works for your yard and needs.
- Determine what accessories or add-ons you must have and what is optional for the budget you’ve set.
- Measure and mark the actual area where you intend to build the deck to get the feel for how much space it will take since size is a primary factor in the cost of building a deck.