You’ve got the super awesome man-grill. You have the never ending supply of buffalo wings and beer. You even have the enormous television that’s so big if your roof was see through someone could comfortably watch the big game from space. You’ve invited your whole crew to come and hang out at your place and everything seems like this is going to be a great night. Three hours and a lot of stained carpet later and you suddenly a single question fills your brain. How much does it cost to build a deck?
Doing it yourself
So, you’re a manly-man (or womanly-woman) and you’re going to build this thing yourself. You have a hammer, so why not, right? Besides, it’s always cheaper to do things yourself. That’s what conventional wisdom says and conventional wisdom can’t be wrong, or else it wouldn’t be conventional wisdom, right?
Well, it can be cheaper to do it yourself, that is true. That is no guarantee, however, because as with any type of home improvement if you do it incorrectly, you are footing the bill for tearing down and starting all over again. The biggest part of the expense regardless though is going to be the most basic element: the material.
For a pressure treated deck, hitting the local hardware and do-it-yourself shops will get you materials for around $7 per square foot. This of course doesn’t count in the hours of hard work and equipment you will undoubtedly need to tackle this project. If you are planning a more elaborate deck, one fit for not just a football party but for the mother of all football parties, you may be looking into hardwoods or composites which could run you as high as $30 per square foot. The average price for doing a deck of 10 x 12 is around $1500. The bigger the deck, obviously, the more expensive it will be. A 20 x 20 deck could run you as high as $10,000.
Also keep in mind that there are a million little tricks and tips that if you don’t know going in could cost you more in the long run. Building zoning requirements and permits, types of sealers and their effect on the type of wood you use, the proper way to set posts, etc all can be downfalls of the project that could stop it before it even began, or worse, could cause accidents once “finished.”
Hiring a professional
Depending on who you hire, how big your prospective deck is going to be and what type of material you are willing to pay for, hiring someone can be really, really expensive. Most contractors know this and especially in today’s economy are trying to keep prices somewhat low. Considering that adding a deck is a very cost effective way of adding to the value of your home, many will frame a price pitch in that vein.
For a simple 12 x 12 deck you are looking around $2000-2500 depending on material needed. However, if you are looking for a larger deck, like a 20 x 20 deck for the giant party of doom, you will almost certainly look into hiring professionals as they know how to do work like this much easier and quicker than doing it yourself. For those 20 x 20 decks it can range from around $8000 to $15000.
Don’t write that mental check just yet. There are still a few more add-ons that might jack that price even higher. Do you want wood railing or vinyl or aluminum? Vinyl or aluminum will cost more than wood will, but are more durable to weather and withstanding the upset kicks of friends when a ref blows a call. When asking how much does it cost to build a deck, did you factor in adding electricity? Most likely you didn’t. That could be extra too. All of this is aside from the cost of getting the permits. At the end of the day, building a deck can be harrowing work, both for you personally and also for your wallet.