But it’s difficult to establish a budget when you don’t know all the parameters to consider including labor costs to build a deck. The following information will be helpful in calculating the cost of a new deck so that you can develop a realistic budget and move forward with confidence.
What is the Cost to Build a Deck Per Sq. Ft.?
To help with the planning and budgeting of your deck project, here are some rough average square foot prices to give you a ballpark idea of new deck costs. Prices below are general ranges, and include labor, materials, hidden fasteners, a basic railing, a staircase, and fascia around the perimeter of the deck.
Basic Grade Level (18 in high or lower)
- Low Maintenance Decking $30.00 - $55.00 sq. ft
- Pre-Stained Wood = $20 - $25
Basic Walkout Level (18 in from the ground or higher)
- Low Maintenance Decking = $40.00 to $65.00 sq. ft
- Pre-Stained Wood = $25 - $35
New Deck Costs - Important Factors to Consider
The higher the deck is elevated, the more stairs it will take to reach the ground and the greater the need will be for railings. Stairs and railings are more labor intensive and therefore more expensive to build. Most municipalities do not require you to build a railing if your deck is lower than 18 inches from the ground, so depending on the design of your home, you might consider building a grade-level deck. Whatever you decide, elevation will significantly impact the cost to build a deck.
Deck Layout. The most efficient designs are created around decking board lengths, which are 12’,16’ and 20’. Decks with more elaborate layouts including curves or irregular shapes are more time consuming to plan and build than those with simple square or rectangular layouts. Irregular layouts will also have more material waste.
Railing and Stair Layout
How much does it cost to build a deck with stairs? This is a more precise question because stairs and railings tend to be the most expensive line items on a deck project. Depending on the elevation of your deck, you might need railings on all sides for safety reasons. How many staircases does your deck require? A walk-out deck staircase can sometimes cost as much as the entire deck. Wide platform style stairs will cost more than a straightforward 4’ staircase to the ground, so if you’re on a budget, talk to your contractor about staircase options.
This is a big cost factor and typically comes down to personal preference. First, you will need to decide if you’re going to build a wood deck or use one of the many low-maintenance options available on the market today. Wood decks cost less initially, but will need continuous maintenance which will add to the long term deck cost. (At Woodland we use wood decking that has undergone a drying process called KDAT, or Kiln Dried After Treatment, and we pre-stain all the boards so you don’t have to worry about the first staining coat.) If you choose to go the low-maintenance route, there are many wonderful low-maintenance composite decking products to choose from and the range of cost among these is quite large. Depending on the size of your deck and the added features you choose, the difference in these selections can move the price by the thousands. Most low-maintenance decking manufacturers offer tiers of products from good to better to best, and the pricing will reflect that.
You can build a basic deck with just the essentials, or you can add benches, skirting, borders, deck lighting, pergolas, privacy screens, etc. Keep in mind that all additions come with a price. Check out our deck design guide to learn more about some of the deck options you might want to consider.
Construction Site Access
How easy will it be for the deck contractor to access the building site to construct the deck? Are there unique obstacles in your backyard that will need to be navigated to reach the site? For example, is your backyard a ravine? Is there a finished patio surrounding the area which would prohibit equipment access? All of these things will affect the labor cost to build a deck.
Existing Deck Conditions. Is there an existing deck or patio that will need to be demolished? Demolition can run anywhere from $1000-$2000 so don't forget to include it in your budget. Do you have a brick or stucco house that will require a special ledger attachment details and/or possible engineering?
So ... What is the Cost to Build a Deck?
The most accurate answer to that questions is “That depends ….” But now that you’re aware of some of variables that can affect new deck costs, you’ll be able to plan ahead and accurately budget for the features you want to incorporate into your plan. Thinking things through carefully on the front end will eliminate problems later down the road and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to building the ideal deck to complement your home and lifestyle. No matter where you are in your deck planning process, we would be happy to walk you through some planning considerations to help you establish your budget and total costs. We are here to help! Contact us or get a free estimate.