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How Much Does it Cost to Build a Deck?

Having a wooden deck built can be a great way to increase the overall value of one's home while also adding a great outdoor living space in the process. Wood decks come in a variety of styles and sizes, and they can be made out of many different types of wood. Homeowners considering having wood deck installed who spend time finding out an approximate cost ahead of time have an advantage when it comes to budgeting for the project's costs, which may include purchasing the materials and hiring contractors to build the deck itself. There are a number of factors that can affect the overall cost of a deck, so homeowners should consider the full scope of a project when planning the budget. 

Wood Decking Costs

  • The average reported cost of a new wood deck is $5,620.
  • The minimum reported cost is $1,500.
  • The maximum cost is an estimate of $10,000.

Deck Size

The size of the deck chosen can have a large influence on its overall cost. The average size of a deck is around 12 x 20 feet, but larger decks are becoming increasingly popular as well, but because they require more materials and more time to build, they can be quite expensive. Homeowners should consider their budgets, the size of land they have to work with and the average size of decks in their neighborhoods when determining how large of a deck they will need.

Type of Wood

The specific type of wood that the deck is constructed out of can impact the overall building cost as well. There are many types of woods available, some of which are more durable than others. Today, the most common types of wood used for building a deck are:

  • Pressure-treated wood
  • Cedar
  • Redwood
  • Pine

One of the more popular materials, pressure-treated wood, is known for being among the most affordable options. Pressure-treated wood is great for wet locations as it is also resistant to rotting. However, decks made of this type of wood generally need to be re-sealed every other year, which can add to its overall costs. The average price per square foot of this material is $2.35.

Cedar is another common type of wood used for deck building. This particular wood has a natural beauty to it that pressure-treated wood simply does not. Cedar is also known for being easy to cut and work with, so this is an ideal material for those who want quick and easy deck construction. Cedar is popular on the West Coast, and it's rot-resistant. It weathers to beautiful soft gray. It is soft and splinters easily. Treating cedar with penetrating sealers will maintain the wood's natural look longer. Those who opt for cedar for their decks should be careful to choose the heartwood type, which is more durable than construction-grade cedar. The average cost of cedar decking is $3.75 per square foot. 

Redwood is typically the most expensive material used for installing a wood deck, averaging $7.75 per square foot. Redwood is the strongest and most lightweight wood available, and it is also naturally resistant to rotting. Redwood is most common on the West Coast, where prices are still within range. Those who live elsewhere may pay even more to have this type of wood shipped to them. One big value is that it is highly rot-resistant and does not need to be treated with wood preservatives. Sealers with UV protection will help maintain the wood's natural appearance. Redwood is soft, but weathers to beautiful gray in sunlight. It may darken in damp, wet places and can be lightened by washing with Clorox and water. A pressure hose cleans it very well and restores color. Decks made out of redwood can easily last for decades.

Pressure-treated pine wood will weather to an attractive gray, and it's cheaper than most other decking woods, coming in as low as $5 per square foot. It comes in different grades, so select the top grade for the decking material. However, because it’s infused with chemicals, it’s susceptible to changes in climate temperatures and weather patterns, meaning it continually expands and contracts. So make sure you live in a temperate climate if you want to install this type of decking.

Additional Features

Many homeowners like to have additional features installed with their decks. One popular option is adding built-in lighting to the deck itself. This is great for people who enjoy spending their nights relaxing on their decks with family or friends. Other popular options include adding built-in storage and seating, a grill for barbecuing or even an automatic misting system to keep the deck nice and cool during hotter months of the year. These additional features may drive up the cost of the deck but are often a great way to make the most of the living space.

Considerations for Building A Deck

Homeowners who wish to have a deck built should find a contractor who specializes in this type of work. He or she will then be able to come out to one's home, assess the situation and give the homeowner a number of possible deck options in terms of price and features. This is a great way for homeowners to choose the deck that is right for them both in terms of their budgets and their desires. It is never a bad idea to compare deck prices among a few different competitors to ensure a reasonable price.

Homeowners should take into consideration the fact that while building a deck is not cheap, it is one of the best home improvement projects to add resale value to one's home and yield high returns on the investment over time. Homeowners who do not plan on selling their homes anytime soon can still enjoy the benefits of having a wood deck for outdoor entertainment and additional living space.

Deck Maintenance

Any homeowner considering the option to have a deck installed should be aware that there will be some maintenance involved in order to keep the deck in good shape over time. This maintenance includes:

  • Staining the deck to keep it looking like new
  • Sealing the deck to prevent moisture damage and splintering
  • Replacing wood slats as needed over time

A bit more work is required for those who wish to have a stain on their decks. In general, homeowners should wait until the time of the first deck sealing to stain the wood. This will give it time to dry out and settle from the initial construction, which is important in order for the wood to properly take the stain. Staining should always be done prior to sealing and can be done by the homeowners themselves or by hiring a team of professionals. Those with larger decks should hire a professional as the process can be very time consuming otherwise.

Overall, there are a number of factors that can ultimately influence the cost of building a wood deck. Regardless, many homeowners agree that a wood deck is a great investment that can be enjoyed on a regular basis.

Last updated on Feb 10, 2016

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