How Much Does Composite Decking Cost To Build?
$20 – $38 per square foot
Composite decking prices range from $20 to $38 per square foot with most homeowners spending between $5,821 and $10,826 to install a 12’ x 24’ composite deck with railings. In comparison, a pressure-treated wood deck costs $15 to $25 per square foot while a cedar wood deck starts at $30 per square foot. Get free estimates from composite deck builders near you.
Composite Decking Prices
The average cost of composite decking ranges from $20 to $38 per square foot with most homeowners spending between $5,821 and $10,826 to install a 12’ x 24’ composite deck with railings. In comparison, a pressure-treated wood deck costs $15 to $25 per square foot while a cedar wood deck starts at $30 per square foot.
|National Average Cost||$8,064|
|Average Range||$6,611 to $8,901|
Table Of Contents
- Composite Decking Prices
- Composite Decking Cost Per Square Foot
- Composite Decking Cost Factors
- Composite Decking Vs. Wood Cost
- Composite Decking Pros and Cons
- Composite Decking Materials & Deck Boards
- Composite Deck Designs & Enhancements
- Trex Composite Decking Cost
- How To Save When Building
- Composite Deck Maintenance
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Finding A Deck Builder
- Deck Builders Near Me
Composite Decking Cost Per Square Foot
The national average cost of composite decking is $28 per square foot. An entry-level deck costs about $20 per square foot installed, while a premium deck with high-end materials costs $38 per square foot or more.
A typical size of deck is around 12’ x 24’ or 288 sqft. The per square foot prices below include railings and a flat deck on a wood substructure.
|Composite Deck Quality||Cost Per Square Foot Installed||Average Total Cost|
|Entry-Level Composite Deck||$20||$5,821|
|National Average Cost||$28||$8,064|
|Premium Composite Deck||$38||$10,826|
How Much Is Composite Deck Boards?
On average, composite deck boards cost between $3.19 and $5.80 per linear foot for material costs only and does not include installation or any fastenings. , Each board is also 5.3/8” wide (5.375”), so including 10% for wastage, you’ll need to buy decking boards for 317 SF. (708 LF.) for an average 12’ x 24’ or 288 SF. deck.
|Deck Boards Type||Cost Per Linear Foot||Total Materials Cost|
|Polypropylene Plastic||$3.19 – $5.80||$2,259 – $4,106|
Cost To Install Composite Decking
The average labor cost to install composite decking is $7.52 per square foot. A 24’ x 12’ (288 SF) deck will take an average of 34.5 hours to build with a labor cost of around $2,165 for a deck to be installed on an existing substructure. The labor to install a substructure, the deck, and the railings take an average of 50 hours, which brings you to an installation cost of $3,138.
Composite Decking Cost Factors
The price of composite decking depends on many factors and materials alone range from $2–$5 per linear foot. The average cost to install a 12” x 24’ composite deck without rails, hot tub sections or planters is approx. $8,064.
While there’s no such thing as cheap composite decking, the ultimate cost of a composite deck depends on a few things, most of which are in your direct control, giving you the deciding factor in how much your deck will cost.
- Size of deck – The size and the design of your deck are crucial to coming in under budget. The larger your deck is, the more it will cost. For instance, if you shave 50 SF off your deck plans, you can save $1,150–$2,000 off the price.
- Angles of deck corners – The more creative your design is, the more it will cost. If your dream deck is the shape of a hexagon rather than a square, all those angle cuts will add to the installation cost at a price of about $60/hour.
- Structural Obstacles – If the deck is built around trees or other structures, that will add to the cost.
- Existing Substructure – If you don’t have an existing substructure, posts need to be 4 x 4, joists must be spaced 16” on center, and the wood needs to be pressure–treated lumber. This can cost an additional $4 per square foot.
- Accessories – Built-in lighting or plumbing (for a hot tub or shower) will quickly raise the cost. You’ll need to hire an electrician and a plumber for those projects at the expense of $60 to $90 per hour after the service fee.
- Remove the old deck – removing the old deck and hauling it away. A home demolition company can do it for you at $5–$15 per square foot.
- Grading/Leveling – If your new composite deck needs to be built on level ground, it will cost $300 to $1,000 to have it leveled professionally.
- Time of Year – If you want your deck installed in spring, just like everyone else, you’ll pay premium installation prices. If you can wait till late summer or fall, you could very well find a deal on installation costs.
Composite Decking Vs. Wood Cost
The average cost of composite decking ranges from $20 to $38 per square foot depending on the quality of materials. In comparison, the cost to build a pressure-treated wood deck is $15 to $25 per square foot while a cedar wood deck starts at $30 per square foot.
|Decking Type||Average Price Per Square Foot|
|Composite||$20 – $38|
|Pressure-Treated Wood||$15 – $25|
Benefits Of Composite Decking Vs. Wood
Homeowners are adding composite decks to their homes in preference to building a wooden deck, because of the many benefits of composite decking material, including its low maintenance and durability. Composite decking also increases your home resale value, and in spite of the high total cost, you can see a return of about 64% on your project expenses.
The cost to build a deck is just the beginning. Over the life of a real wood deck, the cost of maintenance begins to add up until it surpasses that of composite decking. Real wood decks must be sealed, cleaned, sanded, stained, or painted on a regular basis to stay looking nice, and these things must happen every few years, depending on the weather and the use it gets.
Composite Decking Pros and Cons
While composite decking may have an initial higher cost than wood plank decking, it has a longer life, avoiding many of the problems wood has. These benefits explain how composite decking is more cost-effective vs. wood.
- Durability - Composite decking is made to withstand the weather. It’s manufactured from durable materials that won’t rot, warp, or splinter, and they are mildew and mold resistant.
- Bug Resistant - Insects don’t feed on it like they do with wood.
- Color Fast - It is fade and stain resistant.
- Eco-Friendly - It’s made from recyclable materials.
- Low-Maintenance - It’s maintenance free: no sanding, staining, painting, or sealing is needed.
- Installation friendly - It can be installed easily with a user-friendly interlocking system.
- Fire resistant
- Cost - The initial cost of installing a composite deck on your property is higher than wood. However, the low-maintenance cost for composite decking usually evens out those costs over time when compared to wood decks.
- Repair Costs - If you do incur some wind damage and receive some significant scrapes or scratches in your composite decking, it can’t just be sanded out. A board or tile will need to be replaced.
- Color Changes - You can’t change the color of your composite decking. What you order is what you’ll have for the life of your deck.
- Slippery - When it gets wet, some composite decking materials can be slippery. Test a few steps before walking in confidence.
Composite Decking Materials & Deck Boards
Composite Decking Materials
There are three main types of composite decking materials to choose from. When making your decision, compare the advantages and disadvantages of each type:
- Polyethylene Plastic – This is created by mixing the polyethylene with wood fibers, grain hulls, or other filler material, along with some chemicals to aid in sealing the boards or tiles to protect against mold and mildew. It costs $3.79 per linear foot.
- PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – PVC decking is also known as vinyl decking and costs $3.78 per linear foot. This product is made from composite decking materials, but it is encapsulated in PVC as it is manufactured. This provides protection from mildew, stains, fading from the sun, and scratching.
- Polypropylene Plastic – Polypropylene is used in higher-end composite decking materials and costs $3.19–$5.80 per linear foot. It’s resistant to heat and will not warp in prolonged moisture. It is more durable than polyethylene or PVC-based composite decking.
Solid & Hollow Composite Deck Boards
Composite decking will either be solid or hollow. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but both will build a strong and durable deck. 
|Solid Composite Decking Materials||Hollow Composite Decking Materials|
|Approx. $2.82 per linear foot||Approx. $3.62 per linear foot|
|Are heavier, feeling more like real wood, but being heavier, they need more structural support.||Have ends with a tunnel-like design that’s not found in real wood.|
|Might expand and contract with temperature fluctuations, which can loosen fasteners and cause the boards to warp.||Being hollow, expansion and contraction doesn’t affect them as much.|
|Are very strong.||Are easily damaged during installation.|
|Look more like real wood, especially at the ends of the board.||Have a more uniform and manmade look to the boards.|
Grooved or Ungrooved Deck Boards
Grooved board have a channel on their sides so they can slide into each other and lock in place with deck fasteners. Prices start at $3.62 per linear foot. Ungrooved boards are installed with visible nails and start at $1.55 per linear foot.
Colors of Composite Decking
Since you will have your composite decking for the lifetime of your deck or the time you live in the home, it’s best to choose a neutral color that will go with anything. Composite decking comes in natural colors in the brown and gray family. Names such as pebble and slate and mahogany are choices, as well as colors that look like natural wood such as teak or walnut. You can also choose composite decking by texture and wood grain pattern.
Composite Deck Designs & Enhancements
There are many design enhancements when installing a deck which will add to your total cost. Railings and steps are the two most common additions, but you can also include custom built-in seating, add a place for a hot tub, and add roofing.
Naturally, if you decide to add any deviation from the standard rectangle shape and design, your costs will increase. Prices will go even higher if you need plumbing and electricity installation services.
Composite Decking Options
|Additional Options||Average Cost|
|Railing||$36 per linear foot|
|Custom/built-in seating||$2,500 – $5,500|
|Planter boxes||$120 each|
|Privacy screen||$45 per panel|
|Steps||$55 – $100 each|
|Roofing/Pergola framing||$2 per square foot|
|Trellis or skirt finish||$30 – $35 per square foot|
Trex Composite Decking Cost
Many would say the best composite decking material is Trex. An average 24’ x 12’ deck that is 288 square feet built with Trex decking costs between $4,244 and $10,826 for materials and installation. Trex decking materials cost $8.25 per square foot on average, while the average labor cost to install decking is $7.52 per square foot.
Trex Decking Cost Per Square Foot
Trex decking comes in a wide variety of colors, with three main product lines: the Trex Select, Trex Enhanced, and Trex Transcend which each come at a different price per square foot to meet your needs.
|Trex Decking Type||Material Costs Per Sq. Ft.||Labor Costs Per Sq. Ft.||Total Cost|
How To Save When Building A Composite Deck
There are some ways to save money on your composite deck.
- Install it yourself. Installation of a composite deck is much quicker and easier than installing a wood deck unless you have no substructure in place, and you can save $2,000–$3,000 by doing so. Preparing the site and installing footings may be more complicated. Consider hiring the professional to do that part, while you install the deck itself.
- Build your deck on level ground rather than a slope. It can cost about $300–$1,000 to level the soil properly before you begin.
- Choose hollow composite decking over solid. It’s about $0.80 per linear foot cheaper.
- Keep your design simple. Every corner requires more carpentry work and time.
- Build a smaller deck and save $20/$25 for every square foot you shave off it.
- Schedule your installation in the offseason. Many contractors will be more available, and potentially a bit more flexible on cost if you have the deck installed in the late fall or winter.
- Eliminate the need for electrical wiring for lighting or plumbing by forgoing any accessories that require lights or water.
- Remove the old deck yourself, but you will have to dispose of the old wood. It might be more cost effective to have your contractor do this compared to hiring a junk removal service for $5–$15 per square foot of debris.
- Spread out the cost. Some people plan to add a second level but are planning to do half now and half later to spread out the cost. However, it could end up being cheaper overall to get the entire project built at one time rather than have contractors come out again to do the second phase of construction.
Composite Deck Maintenance
Composite decking care and maintenance is the easy part. Sweep it off, use the hose and maybe a little soap on a spill, and you’re good to go. If there happen to be greasy stains, you can get a deck cleaner designed for them. Clean your composite decking regularly for best results. If you use your deck quite a bit, clean it monthly and clean up spills immediately.
For composite deck repairs, there is no sanding, sealing, or staining involved in keeping your composite decking looking tiptop. Painting or staining your composite deck is unnecessary because it’s already dyed all the way through, and if you start doing this, you will have to keep doing it regularly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to build a 12x24 deck?
On average, it costs between $9,320 and $11,005 for a PVC deck including installation that has 10 railing posts with a railing and deck footings. A similar deck using Trex composite decking will cost between $4,244 and $10,826, while a deck using pressure-treated wood will cost $6,244 to $7,373.
How much more expensive is composite decking than wood?
A pressure-treated wood deck will cost, on average, $15 to $25 per square foot while the composite deck will cost about $20 to $30 per square foot. The composite deck will cost more upfront, but the savings are in the maintenance cost over the years, and the composite deck will last longer than a wood deck.
How much does Trex decking cost per square foot?
Trex decking costs between $15 and $38 per square foot installed. The typical deck of 24 x 12 will run $4,245–$10,825 for both materials and installation.
How much does it cost to replace a wood deck with composite?
You can replace your existing wood deck with composite decking for about $22 per square foot. You’ll need to remove the old wood decking too for between $5 and $15 per square foot. 
Finding A Deck Builder
There are pros and cons to both composite decking and pressure-treated wood decking. Some people prefer the look of real wood and are willing to put in the time and money needed to maintain it. Others are happy with the faux-natural look of composite decking and simply don’t have the time to keep a real wood structure. Composite decking is also eco-friendly, being made from all recycled materials.
If you’re on the fence about which decking to choose and you don’t mind the initial cost, choose a composite deck. It will last for years—longer than a wood deck—and can be a bonus financially when it comes time to sell your home.
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