Budgeting for a New Deck

Decks are popular -- and relatively inexpensive. They also make homes more marketable and valuable. Here's a look at what they cost.

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Expand your enjoyment of the outdoors with a deck.

Decks are less expensive than most other home additions. And because decks are so popular, they also make homes more marketable and valuable. Here's a look at what they cost.

For basic designs using the least expensive lumber, you can expect to pay from about $6 to $8 per square foot of deck area. Even if you choose top-of-the-line redwood lumber or want a hot tub, material costs are still reasonable, anywhere from $20 to $35 per square foot.

When you consider that hiring out the job will perhaps double or likely triple your costs, a do-it-yourself deck looks attractive. In fact, the economy of a do-it-yourself deck might buy you a larger design or higher-quality materials. These examples show you the DIY vs. contractor price for a variety of deck sizes and styles:

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  • Doing it yourself, you can build an 8x10-foot ground-level deck from treated lumber for about $500 in materials. Having a contractor build it for you raises the price to $1,500.
  • You could build a treated-lumber raised deck, say 10x16 feet, for about $1,500 in materials. Hiring someone to do the work for you makes your total cost in the range of $3,500.
  • You can buy the materials for a 12-foot-square redwood deck off the second floor, with a flight of steps leading to the ground, for about $6,000 and build it yourself. A contractor would charge closer to $10,000 to construct a deck of this kind.

Actual prices in your area may vary. Any extra features, such as shade structures, built-in benches, or planters, require additional materials and add to the cost per square foot.

If you're not a do-it-yourselfer or you simply do not have the time to devote to building your own deck, concentrate on designing the deck you want, then finding a builder who can work within your budget.

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