A deck makes a wonderful addition to a home. It’s great for family time, reading, catching some rays, or entertaining guests. It can also increase your home’s value. However, the bottom line is that decks are an investment. The average deck costs over $8,000 to plan, build and finish.
Of course, the cost of a deck depends on a number of things—including size, location, the material you use, and whether you have the deck professionally installed or choose to attempt it yourself.
So, how much will it cost to add a deck to your home? Read on to get a better idea.
Size, location & prep work
Not surprisingly, the bigger the deck you want, the more it will cost. Most reputable deck contractors charge around $35 per square foot; materials are also purchased per square foot.
There’s also the question of where you plan to put your deck. A deck that’s low to the ground may cost less if your contractor is able to put the joists on deck blocks as opposed to digging holes for the posts. While it’s possible to place these directly on the ground, most homeowners choose to add gravel or a paving stone to anchor the structure. For higher decks, support is crucial. Concrete pilings will be poured, post holes will be augured, and posts will be set into the ground before the surface is built.
Budget-conscious homeowners also need to factor in prep work such as grading or leveling the land, which varies from project to project.
Wood Decks: The Standard
Pressure-treated wood is generally considered the standard material used in decking. Although a common choice among homeowners, a wood deck does require yearly maintenance to preserve its integrity and good looks.
For example, a wood deck needs to be sealed and treated once a year to avoid unnecessary splintering or rotting. Splintering wood can be pretty annoying and even downright dangerous to walk around on, so, if you choose wood for your decking material, make sure you can handle the annual upkeep. Additionally, wood can be a haven for wood-boring insects like carpenter bees, ants, and even termites. Without proper preventive measures, these insects can ruin your deck in a relatively short amount of time.
The type of wood also plays a factor in how much your deck will cost. Using high-quality, exotic woods can drive up costs quickly. Ipe wood, a popular exotic hardwood used in decking, can cost upwards of $20 per square foot — just for the material itself. Redwood is another premium wood that’s gaining popularity in recent years. Like other premium hardwoods, it offers an alternative to pressure-treated wood. A properly maintained redwood deck might last more than 30 years with few signs of wear and tear.
Composite Decks: Eco-Friendly
Another popular option for decking material is composite decking. Composite material is typically made out of recycled plastics and wood byproducts. What’s great about composite decking material is that it doesn’t rot or split … ever. Additionally, composite material lasts longer and doesn’t require nearly as much upkeep and maintenance as standard wood decking. Once your composite deck is built, all you have to do is use it.
As an added benefit, composite decking can be more eco-friendly than using pressure-treated wood. For example, composite decking uses wood byproducts and recycled plastics; some brands, such as Trex, use up to 95% recycled materials. Additionally, these planks never need to be stained, painted, or sealed, limiting toxic off-gassing from harsh chemicals.
As you might expect, the inherent benefits of composite decking make it a pricier option. For example, Trex, one of the leading brands of composite decking material, can cost up to $12 per square foot compared with $3-$7 for wood planks. On average, you can expect to pay about $20,000 for a 16 x 20-foot composite board deck.
Vinyl Decks: Maintenance-Free
One decking material option that’s been gaining popularity in recent years is vinyl (PVC) decking. Short for polyvinylchloride, PVC is an extremely common plastic, used in everything from pipes to wrapping material and other building products. Like composite decking, PVC decks are virtually maintenance-free. Aside from standard cleaning, these decks don’t need painting, staining, or sealing.
Although PVC decking maintains a sleek appearance year-round, the planks can expand and contract as the seasons change, eventually causing some of the fasteners to come loose. Like composite material, the upfront cost of a vinyl deck is typically more expensive than that of a wood deck — but the absence of a need for regular maintenance makes the upfront cost the only major expense associated with this type of decking. Generally, vinyl decking costs about $10 per square foot.
Professional vs. DIY
Hiring a professional to install your deck will, of course, cost more upfront than if you do it yourself. If you hire a professional and use standard lumber, you might pay between $8 and $10 per square foot.
The costs of a stressful, mistake-ridden DIY build can, however, be far greater. Contractors bring years of experience and expertise. They staff your project with trained workers and professional tools to make sure you get impeccable results—but make sure to exercise due diligence in selecting a quality, reputable deck-building specialist.
Taking The Next Step
When putting together a budget for your deck-building project, the factors discussed in this post will all come into play. Our team deck-building specialists offer the professional, courteous and dependable service that our customers deserve and enjoy. We create and install an outdoor addition to your home that brings beauty, pride, enjoyment, and value to your home.