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How much does it cost to build a deck?

A newly built composite elevated deck
Jorge Salcedo/Getty Images

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Two pandemic-induced years of being house-bound has given many people a deeper appreciation of the outdoors. And installing a deck has become a particularly popular project: Some 14 percent of homeowners added or upgraded one in the past year, according to the 2021 Houzz & Home study. If this is inspiring you to revamp your backyard space, you’ll naturally wonder: How much does a deck construction cost?

According to HomeAdvisor, homeowners typically spend between $4,080 and $11,340 to build a deck, with the average cost right around $7,710. But a variety of factors influence that figure, ranging from basic materials to labor costs to features and furnishings. Let’s break down the costs to build a deck, and how to save on those costs.

How much does it cost to build a deck?

Not all decks are created equal. Plenty of elements impact the price to build a deck, including:

  • Size of the deck
  • The complexity of the deck’s design (different levels, shape)
  • The type of deck material
  • Whether your deck is self-installed or professionally installed

The bigger you want your deck to be, the bigger you should make your budget. The average cost per square foot is around $10 to $30, according to HomeGuide. A deck under 200 square feet could cost as little as $3,000, HomeAdvisor data shows, while a deck that’s more than 500 square feet averages a much higher $24,000, and can climb as high as $45,000.

Decking materials

What your deck is made out of plays a major role in how much your deck will cost. In fact, materials can often make up half the total project expense.

Source: 2022 HomeAdvisor True Cost Guide
Material Average price per square foot
Fiberglass and composite (including vinyl and PVC) $12-$22
Aluminum $15-$20
Redwood $5-$30 (depends on grade)
Tigerwood $7-$15
Cedar $3-$7
Bamboo $3-$10

Of course, the boards aren’t the only materials. You’ll need to factor in framing and the other components that will keep your deck off the ground. Pressure-treated wood is the most budget-friendly, according to HomeAdvisor, running between $2 and $5 per square foot. Elevated concrete, on the other hand, will cost somewhere between $30 and $75 per square foot.

Keep in mind that the current market can translate to higher prices. The rush to remodel and renovate in the pandemic has contributed to a surge in the cost of wood, with lumber prices up by more than 170 percent in 2021. Prices continue to climb in 2022, with lumber futures trading above 1,400 per thousand board feet.

Deck labor costs

If you decide to hire pros to build your deck, be advised that labor costs a lot — at least around 50 percent of the total deck installation price tag. HomeGuide gives a range of $8 to $22 per square foot for labor costs, which is between 70 to 80 percent of the overall project. The presence of multiple levels, staircases, and a wraparound or asymmetrical shape all make the workers’ time mount. Also expect to pay more if they’re dealing with hard-to-work-with materials, like tigerwood.

Deck style and features

Many people want their deck to function as an additional room. Keep in mind, though, that the more features, the more it will increase your total deck construction costs.

Stairs and steps are often a necessary fixture, especially if you are building an elevated deck. These can run between $200 and $300, according to HomeGuide. Railings are another important safety feature, which runs about $26 per linear foot.

Lighting is a worthwhile addition, both for safety and ambience. Deck lights can run from $8 to $30 each, according to HomeAdvisor. Post lighting can cost considerably more, from $30 to more than $100 per piece.

If privacy is important, screens can cost around $20 per panel, based on reported HomeGuide data. A screened-in deck can also be customized, which can run between $600 and $3,500.

If you want to enjoy your deck even on cold nights, a heater is a must. Prices vary — a high-quality post heater or wall-mounted heater is $100 to $300, HomeAdvisor reports. At the other end of the scale, a deck that gets too warm could benefit from a misting system, which can run between $2,100 and $3,400.

You’ll also need a place to kick back and enjoy the view from your new deck, so be sure to include furniture prices in your expense forecast. If you’re looking for a living room-style setup with chairs, a couch and tables, you might need to shell out $4,000, HomeAdvisor’s data shows. To save on this expense, look for seasonal deals on outdoor furniture to take advantage of retailers looking to move last year’s inventory.

Deck building permit

As with any major renovation, you might need a permit for the work. Every jurisdiction has its own requirements, and it’s important to know what they are before commencing with your deck project. HomeAdvisor pegs the permit for building a new deck somewhere $500 for a 320 square foot deck.

Other/ongoing deck costs

Once the deck construction is complete, there are other, ongoing deck costs homeowners will have to factor into the total cost.

Taxes and insurance

A new deck also has the potential to increase the value of your property, which is good news for anyone planning on adding a deck as an investment. A deck addition can increase your home’s value by 60 to 65 percent, according to Remodeling‘s 2021 Cost vs Value Report.

However, that increase in value can also mean an increase in property taxes. Once you know what kind of deck you want, check with your local tax assessor to factor in an estimate of the increase, which you can then account for in the overall cost to build a deck.

Be sure to call your homeowners insurance provider, too. In most policies, decks fall under other structures coverage, which may need to be increased to protect your new home addition.

Deck maintenance

Wooden decks require regular maintenance. Deck stain, which HomeAdvisor estimates costs $30 per gallon if you do it yourself, fades over time, so you might need to refresh it annually. If you want to hire someone else to handle the work, expect to pay between $550 and $1,050.

Combination products for sealing and waterproofing a deck, meanwhile, cost $30 to $40 per gallon.

Remember that decks can get dirty, too. Whether you want to do a deep-clean or need to reseal or stain, expect to pay between $200 and $400 to pressure-wash yours.

Keep in mind that skimping on these maintenance steps might save you some money in the short term, but could cost a lot more in the long run if it becomes necessary to replace a damaged deck.

How to keep deck construction costs down

Looking for ways to lower the bill for a new deck? Consider these three tips as you envision your new outdoor oasis:

  1. Keep it simple. It might be nice to add a roof for some extra shade or design a deck that wraps around your house, but those enhancements will increase the cost of your project. The fewer angles, stairs and materials you require, the fewer dollars you’ll need to spend.
  2. Think long-term. If you’re planning to stay in your home for a long time, consider the big picture when picking your materials. For example, cedar’s upfront price tag might be one of the cheapest, but it can also damage easily. Tigerwood, on the other hand, has a higher per-square-foot cost, but it can last more than 25 years. Be sure to ask your contractor for advice on materials that can stand the test of time.
  3. Do it yourself. Speaking of contractors, you could skip that step, too, which can create big savings in the labor department. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of dedicating a chunk of your free time versus paying someone else for their time, however — and you’ll need to feel supremely confident in your building skills.

The bottom line on building a deck

A new deck can increase your living space and transform your outdoors into a fun and functional place for relaxing and entertaining.

When considering how much it costs to build a deck, it’s important to understand that expenses vary based on materials, size of the deck and any additions you want.

Work out your specific requirements first, and then shop around for competitive quotes. Home builders and contractors are busier than ever, so you’ll want to have an idea of who is available early on and how much they can help you save on materials. Contractors might be able to find better pricing than off-the-shelf at major home renovation stores, for instance.

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

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Written by
David McMillin
Contributing writer
David McMillin is a contributing writer for Bankrate and covers topics like credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. David's goal is to help readers figure out how to save more and stress less.
Edited by
Senior homeownership editor