How much does it cost to build a deck ?
The national average cost to build a deck ranges from $3,564-$10,750 for a ground-level deck with a railing that's 144 square feet in size. This cost includes labor and materials. For a 2nd story or raised deck (of the same size) with a railing, the national average cost ranges from $5,647-$14,663.
You may also need to factor in other costs when building your deck, including adding flashing ($167-$286 per 15 linear feet) and deck stairs ($635-$1,732 for five stairs). Painting and priming a deck costs $174-$359 per 100 square feet.
Cost to build a deck:
|Project||Quantity or scope||National average high-to-low price|
|Ground-level deck with railing||144 sq. ft.||$3,564-$10,750|
|Raised or 2nd story deck with railing||144 sq. ft.||$5,647-$14,663|
|Deck flashing||15 lin. ft.||$167-$286|
|Deck stairs||5 stairs||$635-$1,732|
|Paint and prime deck||100 sq. ft.||$174-$359|
All costs include labor and materials.
Because building a deck is a large project, it's important to understand all of the expenses you're facing before you move forward with the project. Read this cost guide to learn more about what it takes to build a deck, and get free estimates from the best deck builders near you.
As with most home improvement projects the answer is… it depends. The biggest influence on the cost of your deck will be the size, materials and labor. Design extras also affect the total cost of the project, but you can get a rough idea of what a new deck will cost you if you know those three things. Here's everything you need to consider.
- Square footage: Obviously, the bigger the deck, the more it costs. A large structure takes longer to build and requires more decking, posts, piers, joists, and screws. Some deck contractors charge by the square foot as well, so if your budget is tight, lose some square footage from the design.
- Elevation: How high off the ground will the deck be? Taller decks require stairs and railings. Stairs and railings add complexity – and material costs – to your project.
- Labor: Deck installation contractors either charge by the hour or by the square-foot. Hourly rates include time spent including time spent sourcing materials, job set-up and break-down, etc.
- Demolish an old deck: If there's an existing structure already in place, you'll have to factor some demolition costs into your new deck budget, or simply opt for a refinish. The cost to remove an old deck ranges anywhere from $500 to $2,000.
- Permits: If you're building a new deck, you may need a permit. Your contractor can do this for you (for a fee) or you can apply yourself before the project begins. The average cost of a general building permit starts around $500, but can go much higher. Permitting fees vary from region to region and will depend upon the size and scale and value of the project.
- Design extras: This is where it gets fun. Expensive, but fun. Go crazy. Add a hot tub. Or a pergola. Some garden boxes, a fire pit, grilling area, built-in seating – all of it will cost you but remember, you can potentially recoup up to 70% of those costs in home resale value.
Pressure-treated wood is the most common, budget-friendly decking material. Hardwood and composite materials are for those with a higher price point.
What is it?
Pressure treated wood
Affordable and widely available, pressure treated wood is coated with preservatives to help it resist weather, termite and fungal damage. Treating the wood involves saturating it, which makes it prone to warping and splintering when it first dries. But if maintained properly once it's installed, it'll last you 20+ years.
Bugs and weather generally won't be a problem with vinyl decking, but it can get hot in the summer and some people don't like the look. Vinyl also might not be the bargain you'd expect. Plastic decking is in the middle, price-wise. The real advantage is you don't have to do much to maintain them. They're UV-resistant, require no sealers or finishes, and are free of splinters and cracks.
When most people say “wood deck," they mean redwood or cedar. Both of these are considered softwood, but they're actually pretty durable considering how lightweight and easy they are to work with. They're also workable and stable, meaning they generally don't shrink or expand much due to weather.
True to its name, tropical hardwood is denser than other woods and far more resistant to pests and decay. For example, ipe (pronounced “e-pay") can last 40+ years. But you'll pay extra for that durability. Hardwood comes from trees that tend to grow slowly and often has to be imported. Mahogany, teak and oak are all hardwoods.
Wood fiber, plastic and a binding agent come together to form composite, a virtually indestructible mixed material that has pros and cons. It resists the elements well and requires less maintenance. But it also tends to be expensive, and some people find the look to be a bit, well, plastic.
Besides shaving some square footage off your deck, you can also save money by using budget-friendly materials.
- Railings: Cable railings are much more affordable than wood. They also improve visibility and look very modern.
- Lumber lengths: Using standard dimensions (8', 10', 12' and 16' lengths) eliminates waste… and wasted money.
- Protective coating: Saves money over time, preventing situations that require repairs.
Also think about joining forces with your friends and neighbors. If you're building similar decks at the same time, you could save by purchasing materials in bulk.
- It's a lot cheaper than an addition. Adding a deck expands your living area at a lower cost per square foot than a structural addition.
- It increases your home value. Decks are consistently one of the improvements you can add to your home that will increase its value. Some homeowners will recoup 60-70% of their investment, when they choose to sell.
- You get to enjoy it. Maybe even a hot tub too.
To find potential builders for your deck, look online. Compare highly rated deck builders side by side, and read the reviews.
When reading the reviews, pay attention to customers' comments regarding the builders' craftsmanship. Inspect photos of decks the pros have build recently so you can judge their quality of work.
Once you've found three or five potential deck builders, message them to get a free estimate. Give the deck builders information about your project, including:
- Your existing design plans (or if you need help with the design)
- The materials you want
- The scope of the work
- How soon you need the beck built
Also, ask the builders a few questions, such as:
- Do you have references?
- What licenses or credentials do you have?
- How long have you been in business?
- How long would it take to build a deck?
- Can you help me with the design?
In the end, choose a builder who's offering a fair, competitive price and has a strong reputation for building beautiful, sturdy decks.
Find a deck or porch builder near you
Now that you know all of the costs involved in building a deck, it's time to search for a pro. Go online and compare deck builders near you. Once you've found a few that seem qualified for the job, reach out and ask for estimates.
*The project cost estimates provided in this article were provided by Xactware’s pricing data. For more information, visit Xactware’s pricing methodology page.