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How Much It Costs to Build a Deck

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If you’re thinking about building a deck to enjoy those starry summer nights or cool fall mornings, you’ll spend almost $8,000 on average, according to Home Advisor. However, the cost to build a deck may range between just over $4,100 and a tad north of $24,600, depending on how basic or luxurious your deck vision is.

We’ll dive into the dollars and sense of building a deck, discuss ways to pay for it and even take a look at how much value you might (or might not) add to your home.

Average cost to build a deck

According to HomeAdvisor, the national average cost to build a deck is $7,863, with prices ranging between $4,120 and $11,608 depending on materials and labor. That translates to about $30 to $60 per square foot if you’re trying to ballpark the cost of building a deck based on its size.

However, the 2022 Cost vs. Value Report suggests higher average costs based on data from 150 U.S. markets: The job cost for a 16-by-20-foot deck averages $19,248 for a wood deck and $24,677 for a composite deck. The wide price range makes it especially important to know all the costs involved in building your deck.

How to calculate the cost to build a deck

Four major factors affect how much you’ll pay for a deck:

  1. The size of the deck
  2. Materials
  3. Extras like electrical outlets, lighting effects or ornamental railings
  4. Labor

Decide on the size of the deck

Your deck size has the most impact on building costs. If you just want a small deck to enjoy some peace and quiet, something under 200 square feet will probably do the job. The most common size deck is 320 square feet. Larger decks may include multi-level features to allow you to cook, dine or entertain large family or friend gatherings.

Deck cost based on size

Deck dimensionsTotal cost range
10’ x 20’ (200 sq feet)
  • $3,000 to $9,400
16’ x 20’ (320 sq feet)
  • $4,800 to $15,040
20 x 20 (400 sq feet)
  • $6,000 to $18,800 

Based on data from Fixer.com

DECK FINANCING TIP

You may want to consider using a home equity loan if you don’t have the cash to pay for the deck and don’t want to refinance your current mortgage. You’ll receive all your funds in a lump sum at a fixed rate and predictable payment.

Choose the type of deck you want

The cheapest decks are typically simple platform or freestanding decks, while a multi-level or covered deck will cost you a pretty penny. The fancier you get with your deck, the more you’ll spend. There are four different decks to choose from:

  • Platform or freestanding decks. These types of decks are built on the ground, don’t require any pillars or footings and aren’t attached to your home. A platform deck is typically set on a patio, whereas a freestanding deck might be placed in a different part of the yard with a path leading to it from your patio or back door.
  • Raised decks. Homeowners usually opt for this type of deck, which is raised up above the ground on pillars and attached to the house. The pillars are usually supported with concrete footings and attached to the home.
  • Two-story and multi-level decks. Although they are less common, these decks may be featured in luxury homes, with multiple entrances to different levels, or in the case of a two-story deck, an entrance to the deck from each floor.
  • Covered decks. If you prefer to spend a lot of time outside but live in a rainy or very sunny climate, a covered deck may give you a roof to block out the elements. You’ll shell out the most money for a covered deck in most cases.

Deck construction cost breakdown by deck type

Deck typeCost per square foot
Platform and freestanding
  • $12 to $35 
Raised
  • $28 to $47
Two-story
  • $30 to $60
Multi-level
  • $30 to $75
Covered
  • $40 to $100

Based on data from Fixer.com

Check out material costs to build your deck

The biggest deck cost factor besides size is the materials used to build it. Homeowners often spend the most time choosing from the following decking boards options, since this is the surface they’ll be walking on every time they’re on the deck:

  • Wood. Most decks are made of pressure-treated wood, which simply means it’s soaked in a preservative to keep it from rotting. You’ll generally choose the same wood type for the flooring, beams and railings.
  •  Vinyl. You’ll spend a good chunk more than wood for a vinyl plank deck but enjoy a relatively maintenance free, water-resistant surface that won’t burn your feet on those hot, sunny days.
  • Composite. You’ll spend more for a composite material (usually made of recycled materials) than wood but spend a lot less over time on maintenance.
  • Metal. Although it’s not a common choice, some homeowners like it because it keeps out bugs and fire and doesn’t rot. However, it can be noisy when walking on and may dent easily.

Deck cost breakdown based on materials

MaterialCost per square foot
Pressure-treated wood
  • $2.15 to $5.50
Vinyl
  • $10 to $18
Composite
  • $9 to $17
Metal (aluminum)
  • $14 - $15
Covered
  • $40 to $100

Based on data from Fixr.com

DECK FINANCING TIP

If current rates are low, you may be able to finance the cost of your deck with a cash-out refinance by borrowing slightly more than you currently owe. Just make sure you have an idea of how much your home value will increase before you take on a bigger loan to make sure the benefit is worth the cost.

Pick out your extras

Once you’ve decided on the size and type of deck you want, you may want to add some custom features. Each feature adds cost to the final labor tally, so be prepared for some sticker shock if you add a lot of extras.

  • Decking patterns. Horizontal or vertical plank installation is the most common deck pattern homeowners choose, but you can get fancy with parquet, herringbone or even your own pattern design. Expect a 15% to 20% markup for anything but straight patterns.
  • Deck stairs. Raised or multi-level decks require stairs, and each stair adds to the cost of your total project. Premade stairs (called stringers) cost less than custom-made stairs but come in limited widths and steps.
  • Railings. You may want railings for decoration or safety if your deck is raised several feet off the ground. They’re a must for multi-story decks and usually sold and installed based on a per-linear-foot cost. Rails may be available in readymade lengths, or you can have them created on site. The more custom the rail, the more expensive the project.
  • Skirting. If you want to hide the underside of your deck from view (and add a deterrent for critters that might want to camp out there), lattice skirting may be worth considering.
  • Lighting. You may want to add lights for decks that will see a lot of nighttime entertaining. You’ll pay a separate hourly rate to an electrician and about $50 to $250 per light.
  • Cover. Homeowners sometimes add deck covers for extra shade or for added protection of the deck surface. Simple cloth coverings start at about $1,200 while full roofs can cost up to $20,000 depending on materials.

Deck cost breakdown based on extras

ExtraCost 
Custom deck pattern
  • 15% to 20% mark up per square foot
Stairs
  • $25 to $35 per stair for premade
  • $35 to $50 per stair for custom made
  • $1,000 to $3,000 for metal staircase
Railing (installation)
  • $37 to $57 per linear foot (wood)
  • $55 to $85 per linear foot (metal)
  • $80 to $165 per linear foot (composite)
Skirting
  • $2 to $50 per linear foot
Covered
  • $40 to $100

Based on data from Fixr.com

DECK FINANCING TIP

If you have enough cash to get the basic deck finished but want to add some bells and whistles over time, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) might give you the flexibility you need. You can use the HELOC to pay for deck additions and only make payments on the amount you charge. When the work is done, you can pay your balance off and then reuse it as needed.

Don’t forget about the foundation

Your deck needs support, so you’ll need to choose a foundation. Concrete deck blocks should do the job for a small deck that’s not attached to your home. The foundation footings may be above ground but are often even with or below the ground. The size of your deck will often determine how much extra foundation support you’ll need.

Deck cost breakdown based on foundation type

Foundation typeCost per foot installed
Concrete deck blocks$5o to $75
Buried post$100 to $300
Screw piles$150 to $250
Poured concrete base$250 to $350

Based on data from Fixr.com

Add the labor costs and permits for your area

Decks are often built by contractors who specialize in deck building. They do the work from foundation to final installation. Your labor cost may vary based on all the choices you make above, as well as what the labor market is like in your area.

You should interview at least three different contractors and ask for examples of decks they’ve built to make sure they can handle your deck project. They may quote you labor costs based on the entire project, or based on each component. The most common labor costs will include charges for:

  • Framing. This cost is for building the structure your deck will sit on.
  • Installation. Additional labor is involved in placing your deck on the frame.
  • Stairs. Each stair or string of stairs will require labor to be securely fastened to your deck.
  • Foundation. Labor costs may include hole digging and concrete pouring, depending on the type of support your deck needs.
  • Permits. Check the local building codes to find out if you’ll need a permit, which usually costs between $100 and $200. If your home is in a neighborhood that’s part of a homeowners association, find out if there are extra steps to take to get your deck approved.

Labor costs to build a deck

Deck-building phaseCost per square foot
Framing$9 to $12
Installation$5.50 to $7
Stairs$15.50 to $21 (premade stairs)
Foundation$25 to $300 per post or section

Based on data from Fixr.com

DECK FINANCING TIP

If you’re planning other renovations to your home besides your deck, you may qualify for a Fannie Mae Homestyle Renovation Loan or other fixer-upper loan. You can roll the cost of your projects into one loan and unlike a cash-out refinance, your loan is based on the after-improved value of your home, which could give you more borrowing power.

How to use a deck cost calculator

There are a number of different online deck cost calculators that will give you a general idea of how much your deck might cost. You’ll usually need to provide length and width numbers and answer questions about whether your deck will have features like railings or stairs.

If you have some carpentry knowledge, some calculators will even allow you to add details about joist spacing and decking angles, or breakouts based on deck materials, installation labor and job supplies. Just keep in mind the actual amounts may vary depending on the labor and material costs in your area.

Cost to build a deck DIY-style

According to HomeAdvisor, you might be able to build a deck for about 65% of what you’d pay a deck-building company. However, you’ll need to budget the time to do the job and make sure it meets local building codes. If you don’t have the basic construction know-how or carpentry skills to build a safe, secure deck that will support you and anyone who might be on the deck, it may be best to delegate the job to local deck professionals.

How much value will a deck add to your home?

You’ll add about $15,315 of value if you add a 16-by-20-foot composite deck addition at an average cost of $24,677, according to 2022 data from remodeling’s 2022 Cost vs. Value Report. That means homeowners currently recoup just over 62% of the money they spend on a deck.

Deck costs change as the prices of labor and materials related to building rise and fall and based on the size of your deck and how many extras you add. The increase in your home’s value may be higher or lower depending on the housing market and economy where you live.

 

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