Essential Budgeting Tips to Know Before Building a Deck

A deck can be a great additional space to have in your home, and can even increase its resale value. But increasing lumber prices have made decks more expensive to build. Here are the deck-building costs to be aware of before you start.

Decks are less expensive than other home additions, and they come with a big bonus: Decks are so popular, they may even make your home more marketable. Whether you're looking to add a new deck or improve your existing design, upgrading your home with a deck will provide the perfect place for relaxing outdoors with friends and family. But first, you should know the average cost to build a deck in today's market. This will help you build an adequate remodeling budget, whether you plan to build that deck yourself or find an experienced contractor for the job.

The national average for building a deck is about $12,600, according to home improvement comparison site Fixr. Deck-building costs range from $2,200 on the low end and up to $35,000 on the high end. With lumber costs (and supply) in flux, planning ahead and considering all the costs can help save you money and time, whether you're building a deck yourself or hiring a contractor. Here's a look at the average cost to build a deck, plus essential budgeting steps to take before digging in.

Tree House Deck Home Back Exterior
Bob Stefko

How much does it cost to build a deck?

For basic deck designs using the least expensive lumber, you can expect to pay from about $8 to $10 per square foot (depending on the material) of deck area if you do the work yourself or pay about $30 per square foot if the material is professionally installed.

When you consider that hiring out the job will perhaps double or likely triple your costs, a do-it-yourself deck can look 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.

  • 8x8-foot Raised Deck: Doing it yourself, you can build an 8x8-foot raised deck attached to your home out of treated lumber for about $1,300 in materials. Changing the decking material to red cedar would raise the cost by approximately about $700. Having a contractor build it for you raises the price to $3,200-$4,800.
  • 12x16-foot Raised Deck: You could build a 12x16-foot treated-lumber raised deck with stairs, for about $3,100 in materials. Hiring someone to do the work for you brings your total cost to $3,700-$9,500. For that same $3,700 you might spend on a professionally installed 12x16-foot deck, you could build a deck almost twice the size at 18x20-foot if you build it yourself.
  • 16x16-foot Raised Deck: You can buy the materials for a 16x16-foot (256 square foot) deck using composite decking materials for about $5,600-$9,800 and build it yourself. A contractor would charge closer to $7,800-$15,700 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.

How to Hire a Contractor

Choosing the right contractor is an important first step in the deck planning process. You should get at least three written estimates from contractors. Choosing a local contractor is best because they're easier to contact if problems arise with the work in the future, and they're more likely to be familiar with building codes in your area. Be sure to check their references and examples of their past work to make sure they'll provide quality workmanship and customer service. Finally, check to make sure the contractor is insured and bonded by asking for a certificate of insurance. You can verify the coverage and confirm that the policy is still in effect by contacting the insurance company directly.

How to Add Value to Your Home

When planning for a new deck, remember to balance its cost with the added value a deck gives to your home. Not only can a new deck provide additional living space, but it can also increase your home's value.

Increase Your Home's Resale Value

According to Remodeling magazine's 2022 Cost vs.Value report, on average, a homeowner can recoup around 62% of the cost of a composite deck or almost 64.8% of the cost of a wood deck. Why? Because home buyers are willing to pay top dollar to own a deck. According to the National Association of Realtors' 2018 Remodeling Impact Report, a new wood deck ranks fifth among the top 13 outdoor features that appeal to homebuyers.

Increase Your Happiness

The same study also reports that homeowners experience increased happiness after their new deck is completed. After remodeling, 81% said they had a greater desire to be home since completing the project, 74% had an increased sense of enjoyment at home, and 77% felt a major sense of accomplishment.

Prepare for a Possible Tax Increase

When considering your deck-building costs, you should factor in that your property tax bill may increase once the project is complete. According to IRS guidelines, if you make an improvement that adds value to your home (like a deck), you'll increase the amount of property taxes you pay. The actual increase amount depends on where you live and the value of the deck. When planning your new deck, check with your local tax assessor's office to prevent an unplanned expense.

Plan for Added Insurance Costs

Before construction begins on your new deck, contact your insurance agent to make sure your deck is covered by your homeowners' insurance. After your deck is completed and you have a certificate of occupancy, let your insurance provider know how much the new deck cost to build so that additional coverage can be added to your insurance policy.

Deck with wooden floor and marble table
Edmund Barr

How to Finance a Deck

Now that you know the costs involved to build your deck, how will you finance it? While you might be inclined to use your credit card or tap into your savings because it feels familiar, a personal loan might be an easier and more affordable way to fund your new deck. Choose a lender who will work with you, listen to your situation, and do what's right for you both now and down the road. Consider a fixed rate and flexible repayment terms to allow you to plan your finances and know when you'll pay off your loan. You can preview your rate and monthly payment without impacting your credit score.

Plan for the Unexpected

When planning for deck expenses, don't forget to include a contingency fund in your total renovation budget. You might need more than your estimate to cover unexpected costs that come up throughout your project. Some personal loan products make the loan process extremely easy, with no lengthy process or collateral required.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles