How Much Does It Cost to Build a Deck?
A deck can expand an outdoor living space to create warm-weather enjoyment, but how much does it cost to build a deck? Typically, it costs between $4,141 and $11,713, with a national average of $7,913.
- The typical cost range for building a deck is $4,141 to $11,713, though the national average cost is $7,913.
- The main cost factors in building a deck include deck size, materials, foundation, and labor and permits.
- Homeowners may choose to build a deck to replace a damaged one, increase home value, improve aesthetics, increase storage, decrease landscaping costs, or provide space for entertaining.
- Building a deck is a complex project best left to professional contractors. DIY deck building is only an option for skilled and experienced homeowners who are confident they can produce a safe structure.
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 a homeowner decides a deck is the perfect addition to their backyard, they 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, structural requirements, deck design, extra features, and more. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the average cost to build a deck is $7,913, or between $4,141 and $11,713. This cost quickly translates to a boost in property value.
Homeowners who are interested in building a deck can use this guide to better understand the cost factors that go into the total price of a deck, the types of deck options available, the benefits of building a deck, the pros and cons of DIY deck building versus hiring a pro, some ways to save money on this project, and questions to ask potential contractors before hiring someone.
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 plan and design. Materials, design style, and foundation requirements can also affect how much it costs to build a deck. These factors are explored in more detail below.
Size is a major contributing factor to the overall cost of a new deck. A small 8-foot by 10-foot deck requires fewer materials and labor and will cost $2,400 to $4,800. On the other hand, a 16-foot by 20-foot deck will cost $9,600 to $19,200. Most homeowners can expect to pay $30 to $60 per square foot when building a deck. Any special features, additions, and stories will add to this cost.
The average cost of decking material ranges from $2 to $45 per square foot. There are three common choices of materials: wood, composite, and plastic. Pressure-treated wood costs between $15 and $25 per square foot. If wood is the chosen material, homeowners will want to remember to also factor in the cost of staining the deck or the cost of painting the deck. Composite decks cost between $4 and $12 per square foot for material, while brand-name Trex decking costs $5 to $10 per square foot and metal decking costs about $15 to $20 per square foot.
|Cost per Square Foot (Materials Only)
|Aluminum or metal
|$15 to $20
|$3 to $10
|$4 to $9
|$4 to $12
|$5 to $20
|$8 to $11
|$15 to $25
|$4 to $6
|$7 to $15
|$5 to $10
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 will likely have a higher cost to build than a simple one-level deck on the back of the house.
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 need only concrete blocks. The average labor cost to install a deck foundation is $25 to $300 per post.
Labor and Permits
The labor cost to build a deck per square foot is between $15 and $35. That cost varies based on location, deck size, and materials. If a building permit is required to add a traditional deck as a permanent structure, the average cost is $225 to $500.
Additional Costs and Considerations
After discussing their customized deck requirements with a Lowe’s deck designer or other decking professional, a homeowner 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.
Existing Deck Removal
If an existing deck is beyond repair or simply doesn’t suit the homeowner’s style, they’ll need to demolish it before building a 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 $5 to $15 per square foot.
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 a deck can cost an additional $3,000 to $10,000. Installing lighting can range from $8 to $30 per fixture, and enclosing the deck can cost on average $50 per square foot. On average, patio furniture costs up to $500 or more. To make the deck more comfortable year-round, homeowners may consider adding misters ($2,100 to $3,400) or heaters ($100 to $300). Hot tubs can also be added for $650 to $6,100, or an average cost of $3,400.
|$100 to $8,000
|$130 to $300 per outlet
|$50 per square foot
|$100 to $2,000
|$100 to $300
|$650 to $6,100
|$1,800 to $3,100
|$8 to $30 per fixture
|$10 to $1,000 apiece
|$3,000 to $10,000
|$1,200 to $2,400
For raised decks, an appealing way to cover the empty space below the deck is to install deck skirting. Skirting can cost anywhere from $2 to $50 per linear foot. Materials for deck skirting vary from lattice to metal, wood, or vinyl sheets.
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 the deck. Homeowners can expect to pay about $130 to $300 per outlet. If the homeowner has plans to install a hot tub, they’ll want to make sure they notify the electrician of the power requirements.
Deck 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. Railings cost about $35 to $210 per linear foot, and stairs run $25 to $50 per stair. The cost per linear foot for common deck railing materials are in the table below.
|Cost per Linear Foot (Material Only)
|$115 to $175
|$80 to $165
|$140 to $210
|$55 to $85
|$40 to $60
In regions that receive more rain than others, it’s worth homeowners considering building a covered deck so they 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 is $50 per square foot, though the actual cost could be higher or lower depending on size and 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 20 percent for increased labor and materials.
Maintenance and Repairs
It’s often necessary to do some maintenance to restore a weathered deck a few years after it is built. Composite decks resist weathering and require little maintenance other than regular cleaning. Decks made from natural woods will need to be resanded and stained or sealed against weather at least once a year ($550 to $1,300). Deck waterproofing is also a good idea for wooden decks. Any boards or railings that are significantly damaged will also need to be repaired or replaced, and a professional can help inspect the foundation regularly. Lastly, applying a fresh coat of the best deck paint every couple of years can keep it looking like new.
Cost to Build a Deck by Type of Deck
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. The typical costs per square foot for different deck designs are listed below.
|Cost per Square Foot
|$30 to $75
|Floating or detached
|$20 to $60
|$30 to $75
|$10 to $20
|$40 to $50
Elevated concrete is a sturdy deck option, but this heavy material is more expensive than some. Once installed, however, concrete decks require very little maintenance. Foundations for elevated concrete decks will need to be made of steel or concrete to support the extra weight. Homeowners can expect to pay about $30 to $75 per square foot for an elevated concrete deck.
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.
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 $30 to $75 per square foot.
Ground-level decks are extremely simple to install because they sit flat on the ground and don’t require foundations, stairs, or framing. In this way, a ground-level deck is essentially a patio. This also makes a ground-level deck the most affordable option at about $10 to $20 per square foot.
Second-story decks are one of the most popular varieties and extend from the second floor of a home. Since they sit higher from the ground, they require stabilizing pillars and a solid foundation. The average cost to install a second-story deck is $40 to $50 per square foot.
Benefits of Building 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 need to be repaired or replaced to prevent accidents and to increase the total value of the house.
Damaged Deck Replacement
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 so a homeowner can determine whether it makes more financial sense to repair or replace the deck. Although deck repair costs may be lower than replacement costs initially, they can start to add up quickly if the deck is in bad enough shape and requires frequent repairs.
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. They’ll want to 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 the homeowner 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. It might even make sense for a homeowner to keep the lawnmower 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 yard weeding and mowing.
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.
Building a Deck: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Another factor for homeowners to consider when determining how much it costs to build a deck is whether to complete the project with or without a professional installer. DIY enthusiasts might jump at the opportunity to learn how to build a deck. Installing a deck independently would cost approximately 65 percent of the total price if done by a decking company, so there are some cost savings for homeowners to consider. However, most decks will take approximately 3 to 4 weeks to complete, including preparing the ground and footings, purchasing materials, and building it. Obtaining the 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—even if they feel confident that they know how to build a floating deck or other deck design. 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 a backyard deck help eliminate most of these safety problems, since they are qualified to identify the best foundation for the 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 a particular space, explain where money can be saved, and handle the logistics of ordering the correct materials. A professional company also 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. With an understanding of how size, materials, and design affect the overall cost of the deck, homeowners 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 learn how to stain a wood deck and have the installer leave it 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 the Cost to Build a Deck
Identifying the right deck installer can take some time for those who live in a region with a short building season due to weather, so homeowners will want to plan ahead to get on their schedule. It’s advisable for homeowners to have a basic concept ready when talking to a pro about what to expect when asking how much it costs to build a deck. The following questions can make it easier for homeowners to choose a qualified deck contractor and understand the estimated costs.
- 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. Below are some frequently asked questions to help explain deck building costs for most homeowners.
Q. How much does it cost to build a 10-foot by 16-foot deck?
The cost to build a deck of any size will depend on the type of material used. Based on an average cost of $30 to $60 per square foot, homeowners can expect to pay between $4,800 and $9,600 for a 10-foot by 16-foot (160-square-foot) deck. A wood deck cost may fall toward the lower end of the range, while a deck made from aluminum will likely reach or exceed the high end. The best decking material will depend on the homeowner’s preferences and budget. The cost can also depend on the deck pattern, the number of stairs and railings, and other contributing factors such as the need for a deck cover or built-in seating.
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 a 100 percent return on their investment, with homes in southern states potentially seeing a return of 150 percent. 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 decks cost more than many other deck materials because they 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?
There are several steps to take when estimating the cost of building a new 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 a feel for how much space it will take, since size is a primary factor in the cost of building a deck.