Having enough usable outdoor living space is highly popular. Most homeowners and potential homebuyers cite it as the top preference. Installing a deck will fulfill that want, and the right one will add functionality and style to the house. The National Association of Realtors puts out the Remodeling Impact Report, which claims homeowners see an ROI of 80 percent!
You’re probably wondering about the initial investment. Below, we’ll break things down for new deck costs, the available decking materials, and the types of decks. Whether you hope to add value to the home, lounge around, or entertain, this guide will fill you in on what you should know for this renovation project.
Average Per Square Foot Cost
The average price to build your deck is about $20 to $50 per square foot. That includes the labor costs and decking material, with approximately one-half to two-thirds coming from labor.
If you choose a cheaper material, like pressure-treated wood, you can lower the price to about $20 per square foot. However, high-end materials, such as exotic hardwood (IPE, mahogany, redwood, and tigerwood), could cost $50 or more per square foot. Likewise, a multi-level deck will be more than a single-level option.
Average Cost by Size
The national average price for a deck is $7,732. However, that amount can decrease or increase significantly based on the materials, labor, deck size, deck add-ons, and foundation type. Projects are often charged per square foot, so getting an idea of the average cost for different deck sizes can give you a better idea. Overall, more square footage means an expensive deck.
Here are the things to consider when checking deck sizes and prices:
Giving just one number is hard because the materials used will impact the price. Decks made with economical materials, including pressure-treated wood, might be at the low end. However, composite decking and exotic woods might be high-end. Likewise, if you have multi-level decks, you’ll pay more.
Labor Cost (Consider a Deck Cost Calculator)
The cost will include a labor estimate, but this can change significantly based on who you pick, where you live, and more. Deck cost calculators can help you get a precise idea. However, it’s wise to contact a contractor to determine what you’ll pay.
Labor Costs to Build a Deck for a Better Outdoor Living Space
Generally, the average labor cost to build decks runs about $15 to $35 per square foot. Bamboo and cedar are easier to install, but tigerwood is inconsistent and heavy, so it is on the high end of the spectrum.
It’s wise to work with a local deck contractor to determine the project cost based on your needs and preferences.
Deck Material Costs
Most decking material options are easily accessible. They’re often broken down into composite decks and wooden decks.
Wood decks cost about $3 to $15 per square foot for just the materials. The price varies significantly based on the wood used. For example, natural wood can be painted or stained, and some varieties have beautiful variegation. However, they need routine maintenance to look their best. Here are some of the average prices for popular woods:
- IPE Wood – This costs $10 to $15 per sq. ft. It’s a South American hardwood that’s heavy, hard, and durable. Therefore, it’s one of the most expensive options.
- Redwood – This costs $7 to $9 per sq. ft. It’s a domestic wood often used in decking because it’s cheaper and won’t warp as easily. Maintenance is crucial because this wood could get sun damage without the proper care.
- Cedar Wood costs $4 to $8 per sq. ft. There are many grades, and it’s often untreated to help it resist rot and bugs. Since it’s softwood, it dents more efficiently and requires more maintenance.
- Bamboo Wood – This costs $3 to $5 per sq. ft. It’s often cheaper than other options and requires yearly maintenance to keep it strong and healthy.
- Pressure-treated Wood – This costs $2 to $5 per sq. ft. It’s chemically treated to withstand bug infestations, rot, and weathering, but you must maintain it regularly.
- Tigerwood – This costs $6 to $15 per square foot. It’s another hardwood from South America that’s durable and heavy. The differing grain and color make it visually appealing. However, it features inconsistent hardness, so it’s challenging to install.
Composite decks cost about $10 to $20 per square foot for the materials. It’s more expensive than wood decking but often lasts longer (between 30 and 50 years). Therefore, it leads to cost savings in the long term because you’re not replacing or repairing it as often.
Since composite materials use recycled plastic, such as PVC or polyethylene, they won’t rot or splinter. Plus, they come in many colors and require less maintenance.
Prices by Foundation Type
Size and material are significant factors when determining the price of a deck. However, the foundation type also fits in.
Elevated Concrete Deck
Raised decks made of concrete will cost about $40 to $75 per sq. ft. They’re weather-resistant and durable, so they’re a great option. Plus, they look contemporary and only occasionally require pressure washing and hose-down. Your outdoor furniture would look great, but it’s not an ideal option for a second-story deck because concrete is heavy.
A floating deck costs $20 to $60 per sq. ft. They’re often three to five times more expensive than a basic deck. They’re called freestanding or floating because they don’t attach to the building. This is a great choice for people without space for the deck beside the house.
These cost $10 to $20 per sq. ft. They’re so cheap because they don’t require railings, stairs, and deck posts. Plus, they’re more easily accessible since they’re similar to patios.
DIY Deck Installation vs. Hiring a Deck-building Company (Costs)
Building your own deck will save you about half the cost if you’ve got the carpentry skills. Small decks are the easiest to make. However, if it’s a complex build, including floating or second-story decks, it’s often better to hire a contractor to do the job.
Those who wish to build a deck themselves may want to use sealing joists and sealer to protect it and ensure it lasts longer. Failing to do that will mean that the money you saved on the project will be used a few years later to repair damages.
Additional Considerations and Costs
It’s important to factor in additional considerations and needs to get the total cost of building decks. For example, having a raised or platform deck will cost more. Let’s focus on the extra costs:
Cedar and bamboo woods are often the cheapest, though they don’t last as long as tigerwood, IPE, and composite deck boards. Therefore, you might save money choosing long-lasting deck materials because of their longer lifespan.
If high-end materials aren’t an option, you can ask the professional to apply deck flashing tape to protect it from splintering, warping, mildew, and other problems.
Most cities require homeowners to get a building permit before the deck project starts. These can be a few hundred dollars or up to $1,000.
Add-ons (Like a Hot Tub)
When focused on deck prices, you can’t forget about the add-ons. These can include a hot tub, pergola, and under-deck additions. You may also consider rooftop decks or built-in seating. Fire pits and propane heaters can also raise the cost of building a deck, and outdoor kitchens will be even more expensive.
Then, you have to consider the patio furniture you want. Though this will come later after the deck is built, you should focus on what you need now to save up for that later.
If you’ve got an old deck to demolish before building a deck, the contractor will charge more. The typical price range is between $600 and $1,000.
Maintaining your deck will cost time and money. Therefore, you should focus more on the materials before diving into the build. Cheaper materials might require more maintenance, upping the cost of building your deck.
Save Money When Building a Deck
There are ways you can save money when building a deck. These include:
Cutting out the labor can reduce the cost by half or even more. If you’re thinking of a raised deck, you may want to hire someone. Still, you can demolish the old one yourself to save money.
Get Many Quotes
When choosing a deck contractor, get multiple quotes before hiring someone. However, be aware that meager prices might indicate inexperience or other troubles. Check the references and reviews of the company first.
Keep It Simple
Simple designs cost less per linear foot. However, you can decorate it later and have creative landscaping to prevent it from looking like everyone else’s.
Build in the Off-Season
Austin, Texas, does get chilly in the winter, but it’s still decent, and most contractors don’t mind working in the cooler months. You can save much money by having your deck built in the off-season.
Work with Austin Fence & Deck Builders
Knowing how much a new deck costs can help you decide if now is the time for this home renovation. However, many factors affect your price, so it’s wise to read this article and choose a reputable company to handle the deck construction.
Austin Fence & Deck Builders is here to help. Call (512) 799-7574 to request your free estimate today!