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Build Deck Cost

The average cost of building a deck is $17,200 - $19,000​.

In this guide

Cost factors
Design and planning
Types
Materials
Construction
Finishes
Labor
Deck vs patio and porch
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to build a deck?

A deck can be attached to a home or built as a freestanding platform structure. It is normally made of aluminum, wood, or composite material. A deck is a lovely addition to any landscape.

Homeowners often choose to have a deck constructed to enjoy a view or simply to be above the ground while entertaining outdoors.

To construct a deck that measures 16’ by 20’ (320 square feet) averages $2,500-$9,000, depending on the type of materials. A contractor will determine their labor cost based on a per square foot average of $30-$35 per square foot. Labor for a 320 square foot deck costs $9,600-$11,200. The total amount to complete a 16’ by 20’ deck with materials and labor averages $12,100-$20,200.

Cost factors

The material that you choose will affect the cost of the deck because some materials are priced cheaper than others. Also, adding extras such as a roof, railing 1, and stairs requires extra time and material be added to the final cost. In addition, the design of the deck matters when it comes to cost because some decks feature multiple levels and various wood design intricacies. If the deck is being constructed on a slope then it may need underpinnings to secure it to the ground. Also, in colder climates, a deck needs freeze-proof footings 2, which are more expensive than a deck constructed in a region that does not suffer hard freezes. In some cases, you might also have an old deck rebuilt, which is cheaper than building a new deck from scratch.

Design and planning

You should have a general idea of the type of deck that you want. Do you plan on holding bbqs on the deck? Use it for sunbathing? To enjoy family meals? All of these things must be taken into account when planning because if you want to sunbathe on your deck then you certainly don’t want to have the deck constructed with a ceiling. However, a deck that will serve as a retreat for family meals might benefit from the shade of an overhang.

Also, when planning the size of the deck be sure to take into consideration your outdoor furniture. Deck board normally measure 5.5 inches wide, so you will need to plan an acceptable size so that no narrow pieces are left at the ends. You do not want to overspend on an oversized deck. Your deck’s size should suit the scale of your home. A large home looks nice with a larger deck. Your deck designer can help you determine the size you need.

If you plan on gas grilling on your deck, then check your state laws to determine placement. Laws vary from place to place.

Prior to determining where you want your deck constructed, you should call 811 to have your underground utility lines marked.

Types

Deck designs are as unique as a home. You can choose a raised deck, a platform deck, or a ground-level deck. You can even have a multi-level deck design. Many people want their deck attached to their home, but others like a freestanding deck. In addition, you can have a balcony deck or even a rooftop deck. Many people have a pool deck designed around their above-ground pool. If there is an obstruction, such as an air conditioner or tree, then you can have the deck constructed around the item. The cost of the deck can vary dramatically depending on the angle used, stairs, and design complications/upgrades. The more elaborate a deck, the longer it will take to construct and the more technical skills required.

Materials

When building a deck, there are innumerable materials that you can choose between. Each one has its pros and cons.

MaterialProsCons


Aluminum

320 sq.ft.

($2,500)

Inexpensive

Rot-resistant

Pest-resistant

Ground contact approved 

Somewhat flimsy

Can dent

Does not look natural


Pressure treated pine

320 sq.ft.

($2,790)

Inexpensive

Looks natural

Rot-resistant

Pest-resistant

Ground contact approved

May split or crack

Can discolor

Considered a softwood

Contains chemicals

Requires frequent upkeep


Redwood

320 sq.ft.

($3,400)

Stable

Natural rot resistance

Pest-resistant

Durable

Requires maintenance to stay looking good

Cedar

320 sq.ft.

($3,800)

Durable

Environmentally friendly

Resists warping

Rot-resistant

Pest-resistant

Dents and scratches easily

Requires maintenance to stay looking good


Composite

(Trex timbertech, plastic, PVC/vinyl)

320 sq.ft.

($6,000)

Never requires staining or sanding 3

Often made from recycled substances

Lasts longer than wood decking

Weighs more than wood

Expensive


Exotic hardwoods

(tigerwood, IPE, teak, mahogany)

320 sq.ft.

($9,000)

Aesthetically beautiful

Exotic

Extremely hard

Durable

Rot-resistant

Pest-resistant

Moisture-resistant

May not be eco-friendly or harvested from sustainable sources

Expensive

Hard to obtain (rare)


Many people choose to have benches, stairs, and railings constructed from the same decking material so that everything matches, or they choose cheaper materials for such items. If a concrete foundation must be installed beneath the deck to hold the footers then the price of the concrete foundation and labor averages $5-$8 per sq.ft.

Construction

When constructing a deck there are many variables that depend on the building site, design plan, region being built in, and the material used. Normally, a contractor will prepare the building site by leveling the area. The foundation, footers 2, underpinning, or banding are then undertaken. The deck is then framed and constructed. Rails 1, stairs, or balusters 4 can be added. Upon completion, the deck will be either stained or sealed if wood material has been used.

There are four types of foundations used when building a deck: basic concrete pillars that have footings, concrete pillars with no footings, concrete deck blocks, and screw piles. The type used depends on the terrain, deck placement, and type of deck. In some situations, an actual concrete pad 5 is laid beneath the deck to support the pillars, especially if the region is prone to flooding and snowfall.  The more elaborate foundations that require a concrete pad will increase the cost of the deck’s foundation. A poured slab of concrete averages $3-$5 per square foot. Adding simple footings beneath the concrete pillars averages $1-$2 per square foot.

Adding railings or stairs to a deck will also increase its cost. The average cost to install steps and railing 6 is $30-$35 per square foot. A long flight of steps will cost more to install and averages $48-$55 per square foot.

Finishes

There are several types of finishes that you can choose to add to your deck to protect it from the elements and provide it with a finished appearance.

Stain is designed to protect a wood deck from the elements. It is transparent but does come in a variety of hues. The cost of deck stain averages $162 per five-gallon bucket. Water seal products average around $20 per gallon. A water seal is a clear product that protects the wood from water, but does not alter its appearance. Both waterproofing and staining protect the deck’s surface from UV rays.

Staining a deck protects the wood without altering its beauty. The stain does darken or change the wood’s color. Waterproofing with sealant is similar to staining, providing protection from the elements, but it does not change the wood’s coloration.

Labor

A decking professional will ensure that your deck is created according to your specifications. The deck will be level and square when complete. In addition, it will meet all codes and regulations. There are innumerable tricky angles required when constructing a deck, but a builder/contractor has no problems making sure everything turns out perfect. A decking contractor typically charges $30-$35 per square foot for most basic deck designs.

Deck vs patio and porch

A deck, patio, and porch are all additions to your outdoor living space. Each one has its pros and cons.

TypeProsCons

Patio

(16’x20’ ft.) 

$2,000

Makes a residence more visually appealing

Can be built of several materials

Normally sits low to the ground so can flood during a rainstorm

Deck

(16’x20’ ft.)

$12,390-$14,622

May be child or pet safe

Can include a fire pit, pool, or hot tub

Increases the value of the property

Less expensive

Can be built of several materials

Requires maintenance

Susceptible to weather

Normally has no roof or cover against the elements

Porch

(16’x20’ ft.)

$16,000-$30,400

​​​

A porch is covered and out of the elements

Makes a residence more visually appealing

Can be built of several materials

Expensive to install


Enhancement and improvement costs

Removal of the old deck

The debris removal from an old deck can average $15-$30 per hour. The cost to dispose of the old deck debris averages $100-$500, depending on the volume of debris removed.

Lighting

Deck lighting helps add ambiance to the area and also lets you enjoy the space after the sun sets. You can have deck lighting installed for a price of $35-$200 per deck light. An electrician charges $65-$85 per hour for electrical wiring.

Trim

Trim gives the deck a finished and completed appearance; it will average $0.25-$10 per linear foot, depending on wood or composite material.

Lattice skirt

Many people choose to place lattice around the base of their deck. The price of wood lattice averages $30 per piece. Vinyl lattice averages $15 per piece. A lattice skirt not only completes a deck’s appearance but also prevents animals and other things from crawling beneath the deck. It acts as a barrier around the deck’s base. You can have it professionally installed by your deck contractor at the time they construct the deck.

Outdoor kitchen

An outdoor kitchen allows you the freedom to cook and entertain on the deck. You can have a basic or lavish outdoor kitchen placed on your deck. The cost of an outdoor kitchen ranges from $2,700-$10,000.

Fire pit

With a wood or gas fire pit, you can not only make s’mores but also stay warm during a brisk day. A wood or gas fire pit averages $500-$3,800.

Deck cover

A deck cover provides you with shade and also protects the surface of the deck.

A deck cover can average around $1,300 depending on size and material.

Heater

With a portable deck heater, you can enjoy outside time on the deck year round without being cold. A portable deck heater averages $100-$300.

Enclosure

An enclosure prevents insects and debris from coming into contact with your deck. An enclosure averages $4.44-$6.93 per square foot.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Over time, your deck might start to look shabby and require pressure washing to restore its clean appearance. The average cost of pressure washing is $100 per 300 square feet. Wood decks often require the reapplication of a water repellant or stain to protect the wood’s surface.
  • A deck can be a DIY project if you are handy and knowledgeable about construction. You will have to pick an easy-to-follow design. You can also contract out to have certain things done by a professional such as the concrete work or site preparation.
  • A building permit averages $430 depending on the area. Not all areas of the country require a building permit for a deck. You will need to check with your local building permit department to determine if a deck permit is required in your area.
  • It is always a good idea to gather estimates prior to signing a contract. Most contractors provide free estimates. Once you obtain the estimates, you might want to pick the most moderately-priced option.
  • Building a new deck can increase your property taxes because it is considered a permanent improvement on your home.
  • In some cases, the added value of a deck can increase your homeowners’ insurance. A deck is not a small financial investment, so if the deck should sustain damage due to an act of Mother Nature or fire, many homeowners’ insurance policies cover the deck’s replacement.
  • If you want to save money when building a deck then you should avoid a complicated design. A basic deck is far more affordable than a complex design. You might also want to have your deck built in the offseason (from November to March). Many contractors offer discounts when things are slow.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to build a 20x20 deck?

A 20’ x 20’ deck averages $30-$35 per sq.ft. The deck would average $12,000-$14,000 for labor for 400 sq.ft. of deck space, plus the cost of material. The cost of wooden deck materials averages $2,790-$3,42.

  • How much does it cost to have a deck built?

A deck costs $30-$35 per sq.ft. for labor plus the cost of materials such as wood (redwood, pine, cedar) or composite materials.

  • Do I need a permit to build a deck?

Most areas require a permit. Please check your local building code department.

  • What size deck should I build?

A 16’ x 20’ deck is a popular size for a standard 1,600 sq.ft. house. However, larger houses might benefit from a bigger deck and a smaller home may require a smaller structure to look balanced.

  • How much does it cost to build a 10x16 deck?

A 10’ x 16’ deck is 160 sq.ft. The cost of construction averages $4,800-$5,600 for labor, plus the cost of material. The cost of wooden deck materials averages $2,790-$3,422.

  • How much does it cost in labor to build a deck?

The average cost of labor to build a deck is $30-$35 per sq.ft.

  • How much does it cost to build a vinyl deck?

A 320 sq.ft. vinyl deck averages $6,000 in materials and $9,600- $11,200 for labor.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Railing: A long bar designed for a person to hold onto, giving them support. They are usually found on the sides of staircases, and can also be found in bathrooms, for example, to help persons with disabilities
glossary term picture Footing 2 Footers: (Also known as Footings) A support for the foundation of a house that also helps prevent settling. It is typically made of concrete reinforced with rebar, but can also be made of masonry or brick. It is usually built under a heavier part of the house like a wall or column, to distribute the weight of the house over a larger area.
glossary term picture Sanding 3 Sanding: Process of removing the top surface of a material, such as wood, using sandpaper and/or a specialized sanding machine (for large surface areas)
glossary term picture Baluster 4 Balusters: Small pillars that are used to support a railing, such as on a staircase.
glossary term picture Concrete Pad 5 Concrete pad: A flat area of concrete that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as a patio or a driveway

Cost to build a deck varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

picture related to the guide

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Alexandria, VA
+2%
Ann Arbor, MI
+13%
Arlington, TX
+6%
Arlington, VA
+38%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Clearwater, FL
-14%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Clifton, NJ
+27%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Concord, NC
-15%
Cypress, TX
+8%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
Dublin, OH
+13%
Fort Wayne, IN
-7%
Frisco, TX
+23%
Greensboro, NC
-9%
Hampton, VA
-18%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Janesville, WI
-6%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Laurel, MD
+26%
Littleton, CO
+2%
Long Beach, NY
+31%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Marysville, OH
-15%
Mayfield, KY
-43%
Middletown, DE
+9%
Middletown, NY
-4%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Naperville, IL
+47%
New Bern, NC
-19%
Newnan, GA
-23%
Newport News, VA
-12%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Ottawa, KS
-22%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   See change history
Methodology and sources