Looking to build a deck? You can typically expect to pay between $5,200 and $11,200 for a medium sized deck of 200-500 square feet.
The cost to build a deck will vary quite a bit. Here's what determines the total price tag:
- Material (see chart below)
- Shape and number of levels
- Grade of the land where you plan to build your deck
- Type of deck foundation
- Finish -- staining, painting, sealing, waterproofing
- Extras such as banding, balustrades, stairs, roof, awnings, built-in seating, etc
- Special fasteners, if required
- Necessary building permit(s) and Certificate of Occupancy
Compare Deck Materials
Average Cost (per sq ft)
A. NATURAL WOOD
CEDAR (American softwood)
2. Moisture resistant if not covered
3. Rot resistant
1. Needs frequent re-staining
2. Easily scratched or dented
3. Unsuitable for shaded or ground level deck
BAMBOO (Grass that functions like hardwood)
1. Extremely sustainable growth
2. Consistent grain for attractive appearance
3. Very durable
4. Easy to stain and seal
1. Needs resealing annually, especially in harsh winter climates
2. Info about its performance over time is still unknown
$3 - $4
1. Beauty and curb appeal
2. Long lifespan
3. Fire and pest resistant
4. Warp resistant
5. Ease of staining or painting
1. Somewhat high cost
2. Vulnerable to mold and UV damage
3. Often cut from old growth
IPE (Brazilian hardwood)
1. Extremely strong
3. Mold, fire, weather and scratch resistant
2. Needs predrilling to attach fasteners
3. Hard to apply preservative
TIGERWOOD (Brazilian hardwood)
1. Beautiful striped color
3. Weather resistant
2. Needs predrilling to attach fasteners
3. Only stainless steel fasteners can be used to prevent discoloration
4. High maintenance against fading
B. PRESSURE-TREATED WOOD
1. Low cost
2. Very Long-lasting
3. Resistant to dents, scratches and insects.
4. Suitable for ground level and elevated decks.
1. Needs sealing to protect bare feet and pet's paws against toxic chemicals
2. Only galvanized fasteners can be used to prevent corrosion
3. Difficult to get rid of old pressure-treated decking, due to high chemical concentration
$7 - $8
C. PLASTICS AND COMPOSITES
(polyethylene, polypropylene or PVC)
1. Very durable
2. Mold-, splinter- and rot-proof
3. Assorted colors, including wood grain
4. Low maintenance; doesn't need sealing or staining
5. Hollow core type may be wired for lighting and electronics
1. Costlier than domestic natural wood
2. Can feel very hot in summer
3. Hollow core deteriorates faster than solid core
4. PVC can't be stained
5. Dents & nicks can't be sanded
6. Burns hotter than wood; can be dangerous when grilling
$7.50 - $9.50
The cost to install a deck will normally include:
- Materials and Supplies -- Cost of deck material varies quite a lot (see chart above). Finishes may or may not be included in your estimate.
- Labor -- Your carpenter's labor charge to install the deck is included. However, additional work such as demolishing an existing structure or leveling very rough ground will add to the expense.
- Cleanup -- Removal of an old deck made of pressure-treated wood is complicated and likely to cost you more money.
- Permit -- Depending on where you live, you may need a permit to add or modify a deck. In fact, more than one permit might be necessary if you are also installing electricity, gas (for a BBQ), or plumbing.
- Estimate -- The initial estimate, which may include an onsite inspection, is often free.
Get the Most for Your Money
Before you begin your deck building project, make sure that your HOA will permit the deck addition and that your homeowners' insurance will cover it. Find out how much it will increase your insurance premium.
Also check out how much a deck addition will add to your property taxes.
If you are building a wood deck, eliminate the labor involved in cutting lumber. Have it designed to work with standard lumber lengths -- 8, 12, and 16 feet.
Avoid the need for a building permit by having your carpenter build the deck less than 30" above grade. Double-check first that this limit applies in your area.
Cost to Hire a Carpenter
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