Finding out the answer to how much a deck costs is an important part of planning your deck upgrade, but the answer isn't always so easy to come by.
To help you accurately estimate the cost of your project, we’ve gone straight to the experts. They have given us figures for deck ideas and small decks of different dimensions, as well as the costs for all of the popular decking materials, deck railings and deck lighting ideas.
‘Naturally the larger the deck size the more costly the materials, so you need to consider which materials are best for you in terms of short term spend versus long term investment,’ says Karl Harrison of Karl Harrison Design, which designs and builds high end residential landscape projects.
‘Softwood is generally accepted as an introductory level, but needs maintaining and potentially repairing as the years go by, whereas composites which are made of recycled materials are more durable and require low maintenance – just a wash with soap and water from time to time.’
Hardwood decks are also an option, and you’ll find price guides for all three types below.
How much does a deck cost?
'An average size deck is 12x16-ft. and the cost ranges from $5,000-$11,000, including labor, and depends on the products you select and other variables like design and complexity,' say Egypt Sherrod & Mike Jackson of HGTV's Married to Real Estate.
It'll also depend on whether you're building a new deck, or upgrading an existing one.
“Building a deck from scratch is typically a bit more expensive vs. replacing an existing deck using an existing substructure,' says Patrick Barnds, senior vice president of product management at TimberTech, a composite decking manufacturer. 'However, every deck space is unique and costs range based on location.' You will also need to factor in any deck planting and deck edging ideas into your designs and budget.
To get a more specific cost for your project, we've broken down the prices for hardwood decks, softwood decks, and composite decks, as well as the factors that typically influence installation costs, and more.
How much is a hardwood deck?
Hardwood decking is made with timbers from the tropics, or trees such as beech, ash or oak. The slow growth of the wood used to manufacture the boards creates decking that offers fabulous durability, and they’re resistant to splitting, rotting and warping. If you care for a hardwood deck correctly it can last for many decades and, while it will look good from when it is first laid, it could even become more attractive as it ages.
But how much is a hardwood deck?
‘Hardwood decking can be in the form of a temperate species like European oak, or more commonly in a tropical species like balau or iroko,’ says Nick Collinson at Duffield Timber. ‘For a good-quality hardwood deck board, you will look to pay between $56 and $77 (£40 and £55 + VAT) per square meter.’
How much is a softwood deck?
Softwood decking is made from coniferous evergreen trees like pine and spruce. The boards should have been pressure treated so they can withstand an outdoor environment and are protected from fungal and insect decay. Regular maintenance is still needed to keep it in good condition, though.
It’s an extremely popular decking material because it is widely available, and easy to work with, plus it’s a cost-effective choice.
‘A typical tanalized (pressure-treated) softwood decking board will cost approximately $21 (£15 + VAT) per square meter,’ says Nick Collinson. ‘This is the type of deck board that you’ll usually see being sold at garden centers and DIY stores, providing a low-budget option.’
‘That said, there are high quality softwood decking products available which are design and style-led. Examples include Siberian larch and modified species like Thermowood. Durable and attractive, these softwoods perform more like a hardwood with a price point of $35 to $42 (£25 to £30 + VAT) per square meter. This makes them an excellent middle ground option.’
How much is a composite deck?
Composite decking is made from a combination of wood and plastic, and can contain a high proportion of recycled materials. It’s a low maintenance option, but is a bigger investment than softwood decking.
‘The cost for a professionally installed composite deck can vary tremendously,’ says Karl Harrison. ‘High quality composite decking, such as from Trex, can cost as little as $307 (£220 + VAT) per square meter for the basic range.
At the same time, while composite decking can be more money up front, its low maintenance requirements and long lifespan may mean you'll end up saving money in the end.
'People think composite is going to be more expensive but it’s really not in the long run,' says Sam Toole, CMO at TimberTech. 'While it typically costs more to install composite decking over wood initially, you have to consider the cost and time and hassle of maintenance of a wood deck over its lifetime. It will cost 15 - 25 percent more to maintain a wood deck over the course of 10 years compared to maintaining a composite deck.'
As far as installation costs go, expect similar prices to hardwood or pressure-treated decking, says Toole. 'TimberTech can be installed using familiar deck installation techniques such as top-down fastening, so the installation cost is similar to pressure-treated lumber,' he says.
How much do different sized decks cost?
The cost of a deck will be influenced by what you need to spend on labor and installation, the materials, and, of course, its size. As a guide, check out these estimates from makers of composite decking Trex.
How much does it cost to build a 10 x 10 deck?
The cost to build a 10 x 10 foot deck is likely to be from around $999 (£715) for materials with the wooden substructure required included in the estimate.
How much does it cost to build a 20 x 20 deck?
The cost to build a 20 x 20 foot deck is likely to be from around $3,996 (£2,859) for materials with the wooden substructure required included in the estimate.
How much does a 500 square foot deck cost?
The cost to build a 500 square foot deck is likely to be from around $4,995 (£3,572) for materials with the wooden substructure required included in the estimate.
Is it cheaper to build your own deck?
It is cheaper to build you own deck providing you have the skills to do so. Bear in mind that softwood deck boards are easier to work with than hardwood versions which require greater skills in woodworking.
Inexperienced deck installers might also feel more confident working with the less expensive option of softwood in case of errors. Composite decking should be straightforward to install – check the individual manufacturer’s guidance.
Does a deck add value to a home?
A deck could add value to a home – and make it more appealing to buyers when the time comes to sell. Be aware that although you can recoup a large percentage of what you spend on a deck, it’s unlikely to pay back in full. A wood deck might add $10,355 (£7,419) for a spend of $14,360 (£10,288) and a composite deck $13,257 (£9,499) for a spend of $19,856 (£14,227) – in other words, 72.1 and 66.8 per cent of the cost would be recouped respectively, according to Remodeling.
However, adding a deck could definitely make your home more saleable when you have to relocate. Theo James Wright of estate agents Savills Country Department comments: ‘Decking can turn an underused section of your garden into somewhere smart that you want to spend more time, it can transform an area into a destination and, in some cases, can even be viewed as another room. For the right buyers it certainly adds appeal, particularly during the summer months.’
Is it cheaper to build a deck or a patio?
If you're weighing the pros and cons of a deck versus a patio, cost will likely be one of your considerations. Overall, the cost will depend on the type or deck or patio you're considering.
If you're deciding between a poured concrete patio and a hardwood or composite deck, the patio will generally be less expensive. However, if you're debating a flagstone patio with a retaining wall or a softwood deck, you'll likely find the deck will cost less.
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Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.
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