You hate to hear it, but there are no simply solid answers to the question, “What does a deck cost to build?” The truth is: it depends.
Many factors are involved in building a deck that can influence its initial price tag. Everything down to the material used in the building, the deck size, the number of levels/stories, the labor involved in building, accessories, and supply chain fluctuations all impact cost. Not even to mention potential permits and fees!
The kind of deck you want to build will determine your budget, or perhaps, the other way around. Before you launch into your big deck building project, you’ll want to know what you’ll be spending.
To develop a budget or draw up a rough estimate, you must consider exactly what kind of deck you want and what labor goes into it. The following considerations will influence the cost of your deck.
First, what materials do you want your deck to be made of?
Wooden decks are of course the most popular (and one of the cheapest options), but even that isn’t straightforward. There are so many different kinds of wood out there; how can you know which is the best? Cedar wood is the most popular option for wooden decks. It has a long history of use in home construction projects, given its durability and resistance to rot and decay. Cedar is a great option if you want a standard, affordable wooden deck that will last for years and requires minimal maintenance.
BigDecks.com offers cedar wood for floorings and railings, which is great for the purpose. However, frames and joists must be constructed from a sturdier, pressure-treated wood that offers more strength over the long term. Our frame and joist lumber are all pressure-treated, having undergone a special treatment process guaranteed to preserve the wood from rot and insect infestation.
The labor required to construct a wooden deck varies depending on the size, complexity of structures such as railings, stairs, and posts, and the number of levels. Size really does matter here. A standard-size deck is about 300-400 square feet decks (or 12×12) are usually wider than they are deep, so the longer dimension runs along the side of the house.
While not as common, building a multi-level deck will increase costs by quite a bit. Multi-level decks can make great spaces, however, for multi-story homes. They also work for homeowners in small spaces looking to add extra entertainment space.
The complexity of structures such as railing, posts, and stairs will definitely impact the cost of building. Standard railing with round spindles is the simplest and cheapest option. More elaborate variations like different-shaped spindles, clear glass fixed between railing posts, or stairs that feature multiple landings and levels will be more complicated and push up labor costs.
Be choosy when picking a contractor to work with. Before settling on a builder, it is best to check references, certifications, credentials, and licenses. You should hire a contractor who has direct experience with deck-building. You should only pay a $1,000 deposit before the materials have been scheduled for delivery.
Be wary of builders who aren’t willing to be fully transparent with you and offer a fair deal on the deposit. You don’t want to get stuck with a contractor who asks for 50% upfront and then never shows up!
Number of Levels
You will need to decide how big of a deck you want, including how many levels you want to be built.
Building a two-story or multi-level deck will be significantly costlier than a single-story deck. Ground-level decks are the most economical option; you may on labor, as opposed to multi-story decks that require several additional hands on-board to build. Workers will also be able to move more quickly since they won’t have to climb up and down ladders.
Choosing a ground-level deck will save you money on stairs, and fewer framing materials are involved. Overall, ground-level decks are the easiest and least expensive choice for building a deck on your home.
Cost of Stairs
The number of stairs you use on your deck will impact the cost. A straight set of steps is the most affordable. Building more complex stairs — with more turns and more landings — will make labor more complicated and raise the price.
Supply Chain Fluctuations
If you want to build your deck using materials not currently in-stock at BigDecks, prices may vary greatly because of supply chain fluctuations. Lumber prices, for example, see many fluctuations. Prices have dropped in recent months, perhaps indicative of the slow housing market. Lumber is way less expensive this year than it was last year. Now might be a good time to buy while prices are lower.
The homeowners’ association (HOA) has certain guidelines and restrictions regulating neighborhood building projects. HOA rules apply to everything from landscaping, the number of vehicles parked on a property, trash pickup, and exterior storage. Homeowner associations have the right to impose building regulations on homeowners regarding the house’s appearance. It can be as specific as rules that regulate what colors can be painted or what kinds of materials you can build with. If the HOA specifies that you must build with a certain material, this can raise costs. They are often very particular about color matching as well and will want to see deck design and drainage.
Because building a deck on your home raises the property value, which will also raise the insurance cost. If the deck is attached to your house, it is likely covered under the dwellings portion of your home insurance. If you are building a new deck on your home, alert your home insurance company so that it will be covered in the case of damage. Although this may result in a slight price increase, it’s worth it in the long run in case you need to file a claim.
Once the big deck of your dreams is built, you can finally take a break out there and sit back to enjoy a cold beer, right? Not if your deck is complete, but you don’t have any furniture or accessories for entertainment. That’s the whole reason you wanted to build it, right?
Once the deck is completed, you will need to budget for furniture and other accessories. Some people opt for a deck covering to create a three or four-seasons room. Others may opt for other accessories like screens, pet fences, fans, or lighting in the railings. If you want to make your wooden deck waterproof, you can invest in a no-drip deck — dry storage space that goes underneath. You might even consider putting a TV out there (given that the deck is covered, of course) or an outdoor kitchen, which will require additional electrical and plumbing.
Permits and Fees
Anything you build needs to be permitted. The average permit for a deck is about $150 with an architecture fee. In total, all permits and fees average out to around $750. Make sure the building contractor you work with can pull the permit for you; if they don’t, these will cause bigger problems with a re-occupancy permit.