Deck Cost Considerations: Budget Planning

Large covered deck
  • 10-100 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 1,000-15,000

A new deck can be a valuable asset to a home, but before building a new deck, a homeowner should create a plan that includes the deck cost.

1. Set Your Parameters

There are an almost limitless number of possibilities for a deck. It can be one story or two or more stories. It can include a grill and a mini-kitchen, including a countertop and a refrigerator. It can include a built-in stereo system. The only real limits are your budget, your imagination, your local ordinances, and the rules of your local homeowners' association.

For this reason, it is important that you begin your new deck by setting your parameters. How much do you want to spend? What are your legal limitations? Do you need to acquire building permits? Do you want to do all the building yourself or do you want to contract it out?

2. Research

large deck in the sun

As with any home building project, more research will lead to a better outcome. A small, single-level, do-it-yourself deck can cost as little as $1000, but as the size increases and the quality of the materials goes up, the price also increases exponentially. You can design your deck digitally at several websites, and in doing so, you can get a good idea of the challenges you may face.

3. Materials

Though wood is a traditional choice for decks, you can also find multiple composite and alternative non-wood materials. Choosing a material is a highly personal decision. However, if you can be flexible about your decking material, you may be able to find it for a good price. Contact local lumber yards or home-repair stores and ask them if they sell slightly damaged wood or composite deck materials for a discounted price.

You can also personally contact local contractors and ask them if they sell old or damaged wood for a low price. You may even be able to reclaim wood from buildings that are being demolished. However, always ask for permission before taking materials from a demolition site. Also, before purchasing old or damaged wood, ensure it is still strong enough to safely complement your deck.

4. The Complementary Yard

decking with furniture and landscaping

Once you've completed restoring or replacing your deck, take some time to prepare your yard to complement it. Add shrubs around the perimeter of the deck to obscure the lines of the deck. Decorative flower beds or vegetable gardens can serve as a colorful enhancement to increase the deck's natural attractiveness.

While you're at it, clean up your yard. Gather and compost dead leaves and branches. Prune trees and plants so they will grow more healthily and quickly. Apply fertilizer and mow the grass. These simple measures can make even the cheapest deck look like a million-dollar deck.