December 8, 2016 in Personal Finance

If you dream of relaxing on the deck with a cold drink on a hot day, it’s time to consider the cost of improving your outdoor space.

Even a small deck has the potential to reinvigorate your backyard, improving functionality, creating a dedicated area for hosting parties and cookouts, and increasing your living space without the expense of adding an extension.

So, how much does it cost to build a deck?

Costs vary significantly based on deck size and materials and whether you install the deck yourself. Because deck installation is a relatively complex process, it’s often better to leave it to the professionals.

Before you start shopping around for quotes, take the time to figure out how much your project will cost so you get the best deal possible.

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The average cost of building a deck

Many factors determine the overall cost of deck installation, including:

  • Whether your deck is self-installed or professionally installed.
  • The type of deck material.
  • The size of the deck area.
  • Your home’s geographical location.

Taking all of these factors into account, most homeowners spend from $4,085 to $9,885 on deck installation, or an average of $6,916. Areas less than 200 square feet fall at the low end of the price spectrum, while areas in excess of 500 square feet can cost more than $20,000, with most homeowners spending approximately $35 per square foot.

Permits and taxes

A new deck has the potential to increase the value of your property, which is good news for anyone planning on adding a deck as an investment. However, the increase in property value also means an increase in property taxes. Once you know what kind of deck you want, check with your local tax assessor to determine what the total increase is.

You also must check your local regulations to see if you need a permit for the work. Every jurisdiction has its own legal requirements, and it pays to know what they are before commencing with a construction project.

Frequently, particularly in urban and suburban areas, a construction permit is necessary to make any additions to a home. Permits add at least $100 to your project, but the national average is $979.

Material costs

Material costs are some of the largest for determining a project’s overall cost. Average costs per square foot for some of the most popular construction materials are:

  • Polyethylene: $7.82
  • Polypropylene: $8.68
  • PVC: $7.50
  • Redwood; $7.75
  • Tigerwood: $20
  • Cedar: $3.75
  • Bamboo: $3-$4

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Additional deck costs

Once your deck is built, it’s time to add the finishing touches. You have the option of keeping the deck as simple as possible, or introducing landscaping, decor and furnishings to make it cozy. Keep in mind that the options you choose have a considerable impact on overall project costs.

Lighting is a worthwhile addition, both for safety and for adding the perfect ambience to al fresco dinner dates and parties. Deck lights run from $8 to $30 each. Post lighting can cost considerably more, from $30 to more than $100 apiece, according to the HomeAdvisor website.

If you want to enjoy your decking even on cold nights, introduce a heater to the setting. Prices vary, but a high-quality post heater or wall-mounted heater is $100 to $300. At the other end of the scale, a deck that gets too warm benefits from a misting system, which adds around $100 to your overall expenditures.

Deck maintenance

In addition to the one-time installation fee, a wooden deck requires regular maintenance costs. Deck stain, which is about $30 per gallon, fades over time, so you may need to refresh it annually.

Combination products for sealing and waterproofing a deck cost from $10 to $25 per gallon. Skimping on these maintenance steps may save money in the short term but could cost more in the long run if it becomes necessary to replace a damaged deck.


A new deck is a cost-effective way to increase your living space and transform your outdoor area into a fun and functional place for relaxing and entertaining.

In asking yourself how much it costs to build a deck, understand that expenses vary based on your materials, the size of the deck and any additions you want.

Work out your specific requirements first, and then shop around for competitive quotes.

Always remember to check with your local authorities to get any necessary permits, which may increase the overall cost of the project, and factor in additional costs such as property taxes and insurance into your budget.

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