How Much Does Plastic Decking Cost?
Adding a deck to a home increases the value of the property and gives the owners a place to relax and entertain family and friends. Most decks feature a railing that wraps around the front and sides, and most cities and states require that any new or existing decks contain a railing that prevents people from falling over the side. While wood decks were once the most popular option, the use of plastic decks rose in recent years. Homeowners love that these decks require little maintenance and that the decks can last for years. Before even thinking about design, homeowners should find out more about these decks.
Cost of Plastic Decking
- Plastic Deck Costs: $6.25 to $9.40 per square foot for a basic deck
Parts of A Deck
When it comes to adding a deck to an existing home, most people forget about the various elements and parts of a deck: These parts include:
Decking posts sit below the base of the deck and hold the boards in place. The posts provide stability and support the weight of furniture, people and anything else sitting or standing on the boards. These posts rise above the top of the deck and hold the railings in place as well. Post caps are the small pieces that sit at the top of each post and hide the unfinished edges from plain sight. Homeowners can choose between traditional railing and decorative balustrades that fit between the posts.
Benefits of Plastic Decking
Plastic decking features pieces made specifically from plastic. Some homeowners might opt for recycled plastic decking materials, which consist of fibers recycled from other plastic pieces, while others prefer virgin plastic. Both types of plastic are durable enough for regular use. Homeowners will also find that plastic looks great for years.
Plastic has a number of benefits over traditional wood decking materials. Wood requires staining and sealing, and wood boards can splinter or crack. Wood also expands and contracts during temperature fluctuations, which can lead to swelling and warped boards. Plastic can withstand the elements much better than wood, and it doesn't require any staining or painting. Recycled plastic wood is sustainable, long-lasting and is very consumer-friendly. It is the leading alternative to wood for a reason. It can be used over and over again, and no trees going into the production of this product. There are no toxic chemical or greenhouse gases that are released when it’s created.
Plastic decking is also resistant to decay and can withstand severe weather, meaning it lasts basically for a lifetime without compromising the way it looks. There’s no maintenance required. It will cost you more in the beginning, but the benefits in the long run seem to outweigh the initial investment cost. Its tongue and groove form gives it greater rigidity over longer spans. It doesn’t require finishing, won’t crack, warp or splinter. It also comes in more sizes than other decking choices.
Finally, comes in a variety of different colors, and some products can even resemble the look of natural wood.
Disadvantages of Plastic Decking
The biggest problem for most homeowners is that plastic decking doesn't offer the same freedom and flexibility as other types of decking. Those adding a wood deck to their homes can create a design of their choosing. They can make a deck with a unique shape, wrap the deck around the house or add unusual angles to the design.
Also, if a damaged board must be replaced, all boards up to that one will have to be removed because of the tongue and groove construction. It also comes with strict instructions and additional pieces that are not optional, including special fasteners, fascia boards and trim pieces. It doesn’t stand up well to the heat, so if you have hot summers, you will not be able to walk on a plastic deck on those days.
Manufacturers of plastic decking often sell kits that contain all the pieces needed for a deck. Installers must follow the steps outlined in the kit exactly. This doesn't offer much flexibility and can also cause the overall maintenance costs to rise. When parts break, the homeowner will need to buy replacement parts directly from the manufacturer. Plastic decking, while easy to maintain, is also susceptible to mold. Homeowners need to clean the plastic carefully.
What About Composite Decking?
Composite decking is a unique type of decking that combines the best features of wood and plastic decks. Composite wood contains a combination of wood filler and plastic filler, which gives each board the strength of plastic and the look of wood. Some newer manufacturers released composite decking materials that feature a wood and plastic interior with a plastic coating over the outside of each piece. This coating blocks out moisture and prevents mold and other problems without taking away from the look of the wood.
One of the biggest benefits associated with composite decking is that it offers the same flexibility and freedom found with a wood deck. Manufacturers of composite decking offer kits that let homeowners build the deck themselves over a long weekend. Shoppers can find composite decking from most home improvement stores, and those boards range in price from $20 to $50. Homeowners can purchase as many boards and other parts as they need to build their deck.
Building A Deck
Building a plastic deck begins with the design of that deck. Some homeowners might add a deck around a swimming pool in the backyard, while others want a deck added to the front of a home. After creating that design, a contractor will determine the overall shape and size of the deck and purchase the necessary number of boards, fasteners, posts and other components. In most cases, the contractor needs to cut and trim the boards to fit the space.
Installing a plastic deck also involves digging holes for the posts. These posts must span the deck at equal intervals, creating a firm foundation for the boards. Renting a post digger and buying concrete to fill those holes can increase the price of the job. Builders will dig a series of holes, tamp down the bottom of the hole and add the post. They will then pour concrete into the hole and ensure that the post remains stable and level during the drying process.
Plastic Deck Costs
The average cost for a plastic deck ranges from $6.25 to nearly $10 per square foot. This cost only refers to a traditional or basic deck or a square of rectangular shape. A wraparound deck, which covers two or more sides of a home, is often more expensive. Some homeowners also like the look and functionality of a deck with multiple stories, but adding a multi-level deck is more expensive than adding a basic deck to a home.
The exact cost that a homeowner will pay for a deck depends on the materials used as well. Decorative railings and balustrades will cause the cost to rise, and the cost will also increase for decks of unusual shapes. Anyone interested in adding a deck should always talk with a contractor about the costs first.
Last updated on Feb 9, 2016
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