What is the Cost to Build a Modest-Sized Deck?
Whether you live in a city like Bridgeport, where many of the houses are expected to have decks, or you just want some extra space to entertain guests, a deck is a great way to enhance your backyard and add value to your home at the same time.
What Size do I Need?
A modest-sized deck is generally between 200-350 square feet, or from 14’x14’ to 18’x18’. The size, layout, height and style you choose depend on the look and size of your yard, and of course, your budget.
What Type of Material Should I Use?
Most decks are wood, but there are a variety of types and styles to choose from, depending on your climate and budget. Wood can be pressure-treated, which resists rot and repels pests, but has a blue-green tint to it, and costs more. The lumber grade level is also important, and should be high enough for your needs and rated for outdoor use.
Types of Wood Commonly Used for Decks
- Western Red Cedar: A durable, soft wood, resistant to decay but quick to weather. It ages to silvery gray, can last up to 30 years, and costs about $20 a square foot.
- Redwood: A lightweight soft wood with different levels of decay resistance. It comes in several colors from red to brown, and weathers quickly to a yellowish-red or gray. Prolonged exposure to moisture will cause it to blacken. It can last up to 20 years, and usually costs about $18-$22 a square foot.
- Mahogany: It comes in many different varieties, and not all types are suitable for the outdoors. The price tends to be $7-$8 per square foot.
- Ipe: A very strong, South American wood. Its strength makes it difficult for carpenters to cut and can raise the price of labor. It can last up to 20 years, weathers to a silver-gray, and usually costs $2.50 - $3.50 per square foot.
Aside from wood, there are alternative materials that can be used for decks, made of composites. All are practically maintenance-free and some look very similar to real wood, without having to cut down trees. These composite materials run from $13-$22 a square foot.
In addition to the cost of floor boards, there are other factors to consider when pricing a deck. Railings, steps and fences also add significantly to the price, depending on the complexity of the design and size.
How Much Will it Cost?
A general estimate puts the national average cost of a 16’x20’ wooden deck at about $11,000, and a composite deck at about $16,000. Whether you build it yourself or hire a carpenter, a professional should be consulted.
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