It sure helps to know how much your deck will cost before buying materials.
Use our detailed deck cost calculator below and read on for all the information you’ll need to cost-out a deck in 2018.
Table of Content
- Deck Cost Calculator
- More deck pricing information
- Cost to Build a Deck
Deck Cost Calculator
More deck pricing information
As you can see our deck costing tool enables you to figure out the approximate cost of many types of decks based on square feet, material including composite decking, wood and pressure treated wood. It also takes into account whether you hire a deck builder/contractor to install it or whether you do it yourself.
Cost to Build a Deck
Adding a deck to your home can increase the beauty, value, and style of your home. A deck is a less expensive method to increase home resale value than adding an addition such as a new bedroom.
Just because it is less expensive though, doesn’t mean it is cheap. The national average cost of a new deck is between $4000 to $10,000. Your costs will be determined by many factors, including:
- Materials used for construction
- Square footage size of the deck
- Labor and installation fees
- Features and add-ons
This guide will explain the costs in detail to give you a better understanding of the true cost of building your deck and ways you can lower costs to meet your budget.
The materials you choose to use for your deck will end up being the lowest portion of your overall costs, in general. Because of the way decks are constructed, costs are calculated using square foot measurements.
A typical deck cost calculator will use a 2 square foot calculation because most decks are built in 2-foot increments to utilize the majority of the material measurements.
Your decking needs to have a foundation to rest upon. When you are deciding on your substructure, you will have three main options to choose from: wood, steel, and aluminum.
Wood substructures are the most common and the least expensive with a range of between $700 and $1500 for the materials, depending on the size of your deck.
Steel and aluminum will cost more initially. However, they will outlast wooden substructures and require less maintenance. The average material cost range (200 square foot deck to 500 square feet) is between $1500 and $5500.
Once you have decided on the substructure, you will need to decide on the materials for the decking. Once again you will have several options: composite, natural wood, and pressure-treated wood.
Within each option, you will have further options. When deciding on your decking, you need to consider the major factors: durability, usability, and maintenance.
When you decide to use composites, you have a choice of PVC, polyethylene, and polypropylene. With the PVC option, because it is plastic, you will have the further option of a solid or hollow core. The hollow core will allow you to run wires and power for such things as lighting and entertainment if you choose to go that route.
Of the three major choices, composites are the easiest to maintain. They do not need to be sanded, treated or stained year after year. Their durability makes them a popular choice in decking, and most will come with a very long-term warranty.
However, unlike wood decking, if you get dents and scratches you will need to replace the entire piece as they cannot be sanded out. Also, because of the nature of the materials they store and release heat, which means in hot climates they may become too hot to walk on barefoot.
Your average costs for composite decking materials will be between $7 and $10 per square foot.
ii. Natural Woods
Natural woods are still the most popular options for decking. You also have a near unlimited choice for the wood you use. The most common softwoods are cedar and redwood. These will run you between $3 and $5 per square foot.
Hardwood options are going to cost you a lot more, ipe and tigerwood, for example, make excellent decking material but will run upwards of $22 per square foot because of their availability.
Naturally, fire and pest resistant, these options are beautiful to look at and will last for decades. One downside though, it that because of their nature you will have to pre-drill all holes and use galvanized nails and screws to prevent oxidation and discoloration.
One newer option is bamboo. It is stronger than oak and redwood and will outlast almost any other wood. Because it is a grass, it is sustainable and readily available. Bamboo will cost you about $3 per square foot and will last a long time.
The downside to natural woods though is the maintenance. Unlike composites, you will be required to treat the wood annually to prevent warping, damage, and mold.
iii. Pressure-treated Wood
Pressure-treated wood is another option for deck builders looking for long-term decking with a lower cost.
On average, you can expect to pay between $8 and $10 per square foot, which makes it more than soft woods and less expensive than specialty hardwoods. However, the maintenance is lower, requiring only a reapplication of a sealant annually.
Pressure-treated woods are also pest resistant. Termites won’t invade your deck if you opt for pressure-treated woods. However, because they are made with chemicals, they are considered hazardous materials and fires can release dangerous chemicals into the air.
Woods manufactured before 2013 also contain an arsenic-based chemical that can prove dangerous if pets or humans walk on it barefoot without it being properly sealed.
Often overlooked, hardware is a cost that needs to be added to the budget. Screws, nails, joists, and tools will all need to be figured. While this cost is minimal compared to the other factors, if you don’t calculate for it, you could be surprised by going over budget.
As with everything else, the size of your deck and the materials used will determine the factor of the total cost of hardware materials. Stainless steel versus galvanized fasteners, for example, as well as the amount and where you purchase them.
Some home improvement stores will sell hardware by the pound and others by the piece. You will need to determine exactly what you need and over-estimate the amount. Hardware is easily damaged (bent nails, stripped screw heads, etc.), and you will still have to pay for the remaining pieces.
Another aspect to consider in your budget is the railing. Purely optional for most ground level decks, if you have a multilevel deck or a deck on a top floor, you will need to install railing.
The railing will also be used around hot tub installations, along steps, and as a decorative piece around the outer ring of the deck.
You can usually add the railing length to the overall square footage for your cost estimates, but if you plan to do something lavish or extensive, you should account for it as its own line item. Another cost factor to think about is the material and maintenance.
More often than not, the railing is made of the same materials as the decking. It will also need to be stained, treated and maintained as the decking is. These overall costs will need to be added to your budget accordingly.
The overall size of your deck will be the largest cost factor of the project. Because everything is priced based on square footage, the smaller your deck, the less you will pay.
The average deck size range is between 200 and 500 square feet. In this range, with installation, labor materials, and design, you can expect to pay upwards of about $10,000 for the total project.
Smaller decks will range between $1800 and $2200, and anything over 500 square foot in size will add to the cost exponentially. Multi-level decks and decks using add-ons and optional features can run an average of up to $25,000.
3. Labor Costs
Labor costs will total just about two-thirds of the total project cost. With contractors charging, on average, about $35 per square foot.
For an average deck size between 200 and 500 square feet, you can expect to pay out between $7,000 and $17,000 just for installation and labor.
The good news is that this cost can be virtually eliminated by doing the labor yourself. If you are handy and have the tools, you can build your deck and save thousands of dollars. However, this is a labor-intensive job, and if you are unsure of your abilities, it should be left to professionals.
Weighing the cost of doing it yourself to save money versus professional (and usually faster) installation, as well as warranties, will ultimately be your biggest cost consideration. You can even opt for a split and have the deck designed and the substructure professionally installed, and the decking and railings installed yourself.
There will be several ways to shave off a few hundred dollars through the labor and installation.
Your deck is an extension of your home and should serve a purpose based on your needs and desires. Knowing what additions you want to have installed will also determine the overall cost of the project.
A. Hot Tubs
Hot tubs are very common additions to decks and can add function as well as value. However, the hot tub will need to be installed and added to the budget which will include railing, steps, and decking.
B. Grilling Area
Another popular option is a grilling area. Having a built-in area for grilling is a great use of your deck. You should consider if you had a grilling area before deciding on your decking material. Pressure-treated wood is prone to fire and because of the chemicals used in the manufacture, could cause dangerous fumes around the grilling area.
You can also choose to install an entertainment area. This can include an outdoor television, radio or stereo system. The use of PVC decking with a hollow core will allow you to run speaker wires and power cords through the deck itself, however, other cost factors need to be considered.
Electronics in the elements don’t usually hold up too well. You will need to ensure that that portion of your deck is covered and protected from the elements. This will add to your overall square footage of materials needed, and raise your costs accordingly.
Gazebos make good structures for housing entertainment aspects of your desk. You can also install a fire-pit in the middle instead of or in addition to, your entertainment options. Keep in mind though, like the grilling add-on, if you use pressure-treated wood, a fire-pit or other heating device may not be the best option.
5. Overall Costs
When every choice is made, and your design and budget are set you can expect to see a few variables. Obviously, prices of items and materials will change depending on your location and options.
The largest cost, by far, will be the labor and installation. You can cut that cost out by doing the labor yourself.
A. Professional Installation
Hiring a professional to help design and plan your deck and then continue to the installation will cost you, on average, about $35 per square foot more than doing it yourself.
However, with that cost you can expect to have a warranty included should anything happen to your deck during it’s first few years of service. You will also have the deck completed in a shorter amount of time over a DIY installation; part of their fees will be to hire a crew to knock it out in a short period.
B. DIY Installation
Doing the hard work yourself will save you a lot of money. On average, the typical deck will cost only materials and options. Because you will be doing the hauling, labor, and installation yourself, the average cost will run you about $15 to $20 per square foot.
This will vary depending on your material choices, of course. You will also only have a warranty on the materials you purchase if they have any, and not on the craftsmanship and installation.
On the upside, though, if you are handy with power tools and don’t mind spending your next few weekends getting dirty, the result will be a deck you can be more proud of because you built it with your own hands.
In the end, you should expect to pay a minimum of about $7000 for an average sized deck. If you opt for options such as a grilling area, a gazebo or even a hot tub, you can double or even triple that cost.
Thank you for your interest in our deck cost calculator.
The results of this calculator are NOT a professional quote. This is a free online deck cost calculator that provides an APPROXIMATE cost of a deck. There are many variables that go into a deck, including expansive price ranges for every material as well as labor costs by region. This calculator is intended to be used merely as a guideline to give you an idea of how much a deck may cost according to select variables, materials and sizes.
For example, we set the cost of deck lighting at $400 USD which is an amount one could pay for deck lights. However, you could spend considerably less or more.