How to Estimate the Cost of Your Deck
Making the decision to add a deck to your home is a smart one. A deck is a good investment that not only makes your home more enjoyable, but it can also add a boost to your home’s market value as decks recoup about 70% of their cost.
Before you make the choice to have a deck built, it’s important to have some sort of understanding about the costs associated with the project. This guide will help you estimate the cost of your deck.
What Is the Average Cost of Building a Deck?
Deck costs can vary, sometimes significantly, depending on several different factors. Things like deck size, decking materials, steps, amount of extra add-ons, and amount of work to prep the land all have substantial impacts on the overall cost of a deck.
A standard deck can be cost anywhere between $2,000 (for a deck less than 200 sq. ft.) and $15,000 or higher (for decks more than 500 sq. ft.). Meanwhile, custom decks and raised decks can cost as much as $36,000. In the U.S., the average homeowner spends between $4,000 and $10,000 for their deck.
Decking Material Costs
The factor that will impact your project’s upfront costs the most is the material you choose to finish your deck with. There are several different types to choose from. Here is a basic breakdown of their costs:
Natural wood is a popular material used for decking surfaces because of its beauty. Deck boards are usually made from “tropical” hard- and soft-woods like Californian Redwood, Brazilian Ipe, African Tigerwood, Cedar, and Bamboo. The average cost for natural hardwood decking is about $35 per square ft.
One of the most common materials used for budget decks, pressure treated wood is resistant to insects and rot and costs about $15 per square ft.
Composite decking is made by blending wood fibers with plastic and it provides exceptional water and insect resistance. The average price for composite decking is around $38 to $45 per square ft.
PVC is an all-plastic decking material that, like composite, offers best-in-class durability, rot and insect resistance. The price for PVC is also similar to composite, averaging between $38 and $45 per square ft.
One of the things that catches most homeowners off guard in terms of the cost of their deck is the impact their steps have on the price of the deck. But, steps can have a significant impact on the deck’s price. The reason is because building steps is a labor-intensive process. So, the higher your deck is off the ground, the more expensive the steps (and your deck) are going to be.
Everything you add on to your deck’s project will have an impact on the price. For instance, things like accent lighting, gates, deck planters, flower boxes, benches, pergolas, and other built-ins will cost you in both materials and labor. So will special accents like diagonal flooring. If you are replacing an older deck with a new one, then you will also have to account for the old deck’s removal as well.
Your deck contractor can give you a better idea of how these things will impact your cost.
Additional Cost Concerns With Building a Deck
Unfortunately, installing a deck is never as easy as just paying your contractor and letting them do the work. There are other costs that can come into play, such as increases to your property tax and homeowners insurance.
During the building process, your deck will be inspected at various times by your local building department to ensure that it’s being built to code. Once the final deck passes inspection you’ll receive your written notification of passing. Then, shortly after, you’ll be visited by your local tax assessor so he or she can visually inspect the deck. In some cases, the deck may cause a home’s property taxes to go up slightly and your tax assessor will notify you of any changes during their visit.
In terms of homeowners insurance, your policy will be amended once the project is completed and you receive your Certificate of Occupancy from your local building inspector. This is important because you want to make sure your homeowners insurance can cover your new deck. For instance, if you paid $5,000 for your new deck and your home is only covered for $200,000 by your insurance, then the policy needs updating to reflect the replacement cost of the deck.