Hot Topics: How Much Would a 10x12 Deck Cost?

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Original Post: How Much Would a 10x12 Deck Cost?

squale - Member

I have a bi-level home and was interested in putting a deck off the lower level of my house, I have a sliding door there now that just steps down about 1 foot onto my lawn. I want to put a deck that is about 10'x12' and is sturdy enough to hold a six person hottub, does anybody have any ideas on how much a deck like this would cost me?


chandler - Former Member

Not sure where you live, and construction costs vary alot from location to location. Around here in the South, it will run about $22 per square foot including one staircase, and that is materials and labor. So a little over $2,500.

lefty - Member

And what do you want to use for decking?

Larry guessed $22/sq.ft., which is probably PT decking. A composite is going to be around $25, and Ipe could be $35 or $40.

(Concrete could be done for well under $10!!)

chandler - Former Member

After reading the post again, I agree with Mike to pour concrete, since your stepdown is only 1 foot. That way you will have the permanance a wooden deck will not give you, a cost saving factor, and the strength for several hot tubs! You can have the surface scored, etched and stained to keep it from looking like a driveway extension.

squale - Thread Starter

Well the yard slopes down right outside the sliding door, so initially it's about a 1' step down out of my door, but once you get about 10' away from the house then the ground level is about 5' lower than the ground level right outside the door... so how would I do this with concrete?

Pendragon - Member

Wow.. that's um, pricey. I need to start building decks!

I built a 10x12 for my neighbor using 2x6 for the decking, 2x10 for the joists, 2x4 for the roofing, lattice work, etc etc.. ALL PT lumber. Cost of materials was about $700-800. Some additional reinforcing to handle the static weight of a hot tub wouldn't add more than $50 or so to the cost.

I'll post some pics if interested.

lefty - Member


There's a HUGE difference between DIY (for mat'l only, and figuring your time at zero), and building decks for a living.

OK, you neighbor paid $700-$800 for material. Who knows what he got or WHEN. This time last year, the mat'l would cost $700 -$800. The same stuff TODAY is going to be about $1200 to $1500.

You figure the labor at zero. As a contractor, I can't do that. If I'm paying a man $15/hr., he's costing me almost $50/hr. by the time I add in worker's comp. insurance at 70%, payroll taxes, etc. Now I need to cover the overhead. Diesel on the left coast is back up to about $2.80/ gal. Liability insurance is $2K a year. Renewing my contractors license and bond in going to cost me another $1K. Advertising is $500/ month. And you don't want to know what I pay out every year for TOOLS!!

I grossed over $300K last year -- I paid income taxes on a bit over $1,000.

You wanna build decks for a living, GO FOR IT!!!

chandler - Former Member

Materials have gone ballistic here on the right coast, too. These same decks about 7 years ago, I could build for $12 a square foot and still make a profit. 6x6x14pt cost $25 each, and here in the mountains most of the decks start out on grade level and wind up 12 to 14 feet high only 10 feet out, so it ain't like skippin' rocks.

Squale: I see, now why a deck is in order. When originally posted, we didn't know that, so that is why we suggested the concrete. Good luck with the project.

squale - Thread Starter

Okay so with going for a deck, is there any online software, etc that will allow me to put in the deck dimensions, the weight the deck must hold and then give me a bill of materials, etc.? I am going to build the deck with a friend, shouldn't be too hard just need to know how to estimate the materials. Also do you guys know what I need to do differently to build the deck in order to hold a hottub. The hottub filled with water and people will weigh between 5-6K pounds and be about 8'x8' in size. So given that, how big of a deck should I build and how would I properly support the deck to hold this much weight?

lefty - Member


Now I see too why a deck is in order, You forgot to mention that the yard drops off so drastically.

Proper footings, properly sized girders and joists, and it will work. The BEST place to go for that info is your local bldg. dept. It the edge of the deck is 5' above grade, you're gonna need a building permit anyway.

lefty - Member


Get out of the big orange or blue box and go to a LUMBER YARD, Most of them have software that can design you deck, show you 3D pictures AND do a mat'l take off from the drawing..

Pendragon - Member

I was being somewhat sarcastic.

I have no interest in building decks for a living, I don't have time now to build my own deck!

My rule of thumb is to take the cost of materials and add that much again for labor.

So for your example $50 X 16 = $800. If your man can't build this deck in 16 hours, you need a new man.

You can add that much again for profit/overhead and we reach that magic $2400 figure.

My main point I guess (if I even had one), was that this was a simple enough project that you can do it yourself, save $1600 and put that towards an even nicer hottub, or some extras like lighting, privacy screens, etc.

squale - Thread Starter

yeah me and friend are going to build it, I need it to be 16' wide by 14' deep and the highest part of the deck off the ground will be 3'. At the side that connects to the house, the deck will basically be sitting almost on the ground, then on the far right hand corner of the deck (if you were standing on it looking away from the house), that's the side where the ground slopes down, and it will be about 3' off the ground there.

I called my town, I need a $50 zoning permit and a $50 building permit, and they said for that size deck my taxes should go up about $100 per year.

Now I just need to figure out how to suppor the deck the right way for a hottub, etc. I figure an 8'x8' hottub that weighs 6,500 lbs with full water and full people in the tub. So I need the deck to at least support 100 lbs per square foot. Actually it should probably support more than this to allow room to be SAFE.

Any ideas on what I can do to sort of make it private, my yard flows directly into my neighbors and I don't want the neighbors to see me in the hottub.. so I was thinking of putting some type of wall around the deck or something but that might look crappy. Maybe building a room over the deck might be a good idea to keep rain, snow, etc. off of the hottub.

Pendragon - Member

The hot tub you want will state what it's weight is with and without water. Allow 180 lbs per person, plus any accessories.

If this were my deck, I'd probably put about 5 extra posts directly under the tub, 4 corners and a center with the posts notched so the joist is resting directly on the post -or- concrete blocking resting on footers. Better to overbuild for that kind of weight than underbuild.

The footers/posts will have to be set below the frost line, which the permit office will also be able to tell you.

Some 1x6's installed vertically with the flat side facing your neighbors would give some privacy while still allowing airflow.

Don't forget your electrical requirements.

squale - Thread Starter

ah forget this whole idea, just read about what is required to build the deck and support it the right way, just not worth all the time and labor to dig all these footers, etc. For a 16'x14' deck I would probably need at a minimum 9 cement footers, 48" into the ground, 9-12" in diameter. That's a lot of holes and a lot of cement! Then I have to drill into my houses cement foundation for the ledger and take the risk of collapsing the cement block and rupturing my baseboard hot water pipes that run through my concrete slab. Then I will have to pay higher taxes, seal the deck every year, etc, etc... too much of a pain in the butt! I think I will just level off the yard, maybe put up a railroad tie wall to backfill and make a level 16'x14' area and then just pour a cement slab or do a patio. At least this way I know my hottub will be supported no problems. The only thing I would have to figure out is what to put around the patio to provide privacy from my neighbors.

Pendragon - Member

Sucks living in a frost zone.

Here in Florida, our frost line is like, 6".. Sure hate to know I had to go 4' down for every post just because it snows!

lefty - Member

Footings in a frost zone will get you every time! If you have access, call a post hole digger and let him drill them. Most are using mini-excavators or Bobcats with augers and only need about 4' of width to gain access.

chandler - Former Member

Unless most of your decks are off the sides of mountains. No mechanical means to dig footings. Pitch of ground is better than 45 degrees sometimes. Thankfully 12" does it for us. Good luck with the project, whichever way you decide to go.

Tscarborough - Member

Concrete pavers and segmental retaining wall blocks would work better and eliminate some of the digging. They would also look better, be much less maintainence, and are easily installed by DIY'ers. Initial cost is higher, but the finished product is much prettier to my eye, and counting life cycle costs will be cheaper.

lefty - Member

Maybe we need to go back to square one with this thing.

You step out of the slider and have a step or two, and that's about a foot of fall to the lawn. When you are out about 10' from the house, the yard is about 5' below the threshold of the door. Then you come back and the deck (or slab) is about 16' wide and 14' deep, and the highest part is about 3' above the ground. I'm a bit confused -- is it 3' or 5'??? And THAT is going to make all the difference in the world!

Tscarborough is suggesting segmented blocks (i.e. Keystone or Garden Wall blocks from Basalite), and they will work fine for the retaining wall, TO A POINT. Those are only good to 4' of wall height unless you go with the concrete filled ones and have the wall engineered.

What you want to do can be done with a deck, or it can be done with a retaining wall and a slab over back fill inside that wall. You mentioned deck footings having to be 48" deep -- that tells us that you are in a frost zone. That ALSO tells me that the footing for a retaining wall is going to be a trench 48" deep.

Whatever you decide to do is going to be a pretty pricey project. It's probably BEST to have several local contractors come out and give you an estimate. That will cost you nothing, you will get several ideas, and those guys can actually SEE the situation.

Tscarborough - Member

That is a good point about the frost line. Around here the frost line is what you use to determine how much beer is left in your can. If you have to trench to below 48" for a compacted sub-base, you are probably out of DIY territory.

lefty - Member


Obviously Austin TX and Redding CA have about the same frost lines. The only advantage that you have over us otherwise is that you have Willie and we have the Hag. (Of course, when Willie comes to town, we get BOTH, usually!)

squale - Thread Starter

I'm sorry, at about 14' off the house, the ground level is 3' below the threshold of the dirt against the house. Yes you walk out the slider, step down 1' onto dirt/grass. As you walk straight out 14' away from the house, you are now 3' lower than the ground where you started out just outside the sliding door. Forget the 5' number, that was a guess, I actually measured the other day.

lefty - Member

Oh yeah -- measuring tapes are much more accurate than our old eyeballs!!

But you are still dealing with the issue of frost lines, and how deep your footings, retaining walls etc. will have to be. If you don't respect them and dig deeper than that line, you deep will heave.

Tscarborough - Member

No being in an area with frost line concerns, I was unfamiliar with requirements for segmental retaining wall units in that environment. I checked my tech data for one of the systems that I use and it requires no footing below frost line. This ties with my experience with SRW units, in that they are able to adjust themselves to poor soil conditions. In this area we deal with very expansive clays, which exhibit similar behavior to frost heave.

In short, it should be feasible for you to DIY a wall and paver patio for your hottub. Post pictures or sketches of your yard and desired patio layout.

DIY Handyman - Member

Just did one of these last week

We finished a deck just like this one last week sizing was a little different but I have some Ideas that might help. Forget about putting the jacuzzi on top of deck way too much weight and framing concerns. You said your lowest point is a 3 foot drop, well you average jaccuzi top is 42" so the top will be above the decking if you set the unit in the deck. What we did was pour a slab for the jacuzzi to sit on. We dug all the holes for the beam posts with a two man auger that rents for about 70 a day. Then had a cement truck come and we poured the posts and the slab on the same day. Then we set the jacuzzi on the slab and built the deck around it. If you set it inside the deck you can also use privacy lattice under the deck rail which will solve the problem of your neighbors looking at you. I will try to include some pictures for you to look at because it is hard to describe. But we were dealing with a similar drop off issue on the deck. Murph

I don't know how to include the pics but if you would like to see them let me know

squale - Thread Starter

yeah this is an option, but you can't get a cement truck into my back yard, and also I don't like the idea of having a hottub in a deck, incase you need to get something repaired in the hottub it could be a huge problem..

DIY Handyman - Member

The electrical and plumbing access will be well below the framing of the deck but to each his own.