The average cost to build a deck is $25 per sq. foot with most homeowners spending around $4,380 to $10,080. The price can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). Get free estimates from deck building pros near you.
If you’re tired of walking out your back door and having nothing decent outside to relax on, never mind host a BBQ or enjoy a stint in the hot tub, a deck can meet your needs.
Build one level, or include some raised portions; stretch it the full width of the back of the house or contain it to the area by the back door. No matter how large you go, make sure it meets your needs.
The average cost to build a deck is $25 per sq. foot with most homeowners spending around $4,380 to $10,080. For an entry level deck it costs around $15/sqft., and for a deck built with premium materials costs $35/sqft.
Here's the average cost for a common size deck which is around 12’ x 24’ or 288 sqft.
|Deck Quality||Cost Per Sq. Ft.||Average Total Cost|
|Entry Level Materials||$15/sqft||$4,380|
The main thing you need to choose before you start is the size of the deck. Common advice is to make a deck a minimum 12’ by 12’ to make it a useable space for an average size family.
Many home builders will include an upgrade of a small 10’ x 10’ deck, but many people either regret going with one so small, or they upgrade before the home and deck are built.
You may elect to have one or two raised portions on the deck and possibly add a hot tub, which will increase the deck’s visual appeal, cost, and the overall value of your property. Another option is to continue the deck to a second floor.
Consult a general contractor with an architect as part of the team if you’d like a design-build deck with 2- or 3D renderings before construction begins.
To get an idea of the size that fits your plan of use, look up the average sizes of furniture for the number of people you want to entertain. If you plan on having a dining section on the deck, then allow around 3’ around that table. Add square footage for any firepits, butane heaters, grills, or other accessories. To read a more in-depth guide as to the size needed, check out our article cost of a concrete patio.
In general, a deck will be built no more than two inches below the bottom of the door used to access the deck.
Types of decks:
A high-elevation deck with a space under it less than eight feet tall could be used for storage for lawnmowers and yard equipment. If the space is at least eight feet high, then you could create an additional living space with a deck floor and ceiling, which will add an additional cost per square foot.
The three most popular materials for the construction of outdoor decks in the US are pressure-treated wood, hardwood, and recycled composite. The pricing provided is an average from 2018 prices across the country, and depending on where you live, you may experience slightly more or slightly less per square foot for your project.
|Deck Material||Average Cost|
|Hardwood – Redwood||$15–21/sqft|
Pressure-treated wood (or PT) is used on almost 75% of all decks in the US today. Chemically treated under pressure, it is fabricated to make the wood more resistant to mold, insects, and rot.
One option for replacing the fasteners with something that won’t corrode is to use stainless steel. Having said that, they’re so expensive, it doesn’t make for the most practical solution, especially since the use of pressure-treated wood is normally a cost-saving measure.
Vinyl-coated “green” wood/deck screws are resistant to the chemicals that pressure-treated wood is infused with. Some brands offer lifetime guarantees, so this makes them an ideal replacement option. They generally cost between $30–$35 for 5 lbs/350 screws.
The most common type of natural wood used in deck building is the redwood from California. In terms of cost, redwood is just a little more per square foot than pressure-treated wood.
If it isn’t maintained with sealants, etc., it can develop mold and get damaged by the sun.
Recycled composite is a decking option that is growing in popularity as a material in building a deck. It’s made from recycled plastic with two of the most common options including polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride or PVC.
This recycled composite is fabricated to look like wood. Of the three, polyethylene is the cheaper by roughly $.80/sqft compared to polypropylene, and by $1.70/sqft compared to polyvinyl chloride or PVC, but polyethylene is also the least durable.
Decks can be customized to your exact preferences. Here's an average breakdown of costs to add bells and whistles to your deck:
|Deck Feature||Average Cost|
|Portable Heaters||$100 – $500|
|Firepit||Basic: $200, Custom built: $2,700 – $6,000|
|Outdoor Fireplace||$1,500 – $6,500|
|Privacy screen||$20 per panel|
|Flooring||$2.50/sqft – $14/sqft|
|Stain and sealer finish||$0.40/sqft|
|Premanufactured Seating||$350 – $1,100|
|Custom Seating||$2,000 – $5,000|
|Steps||$210 – $290|
|Planter boxes||$120 each|
|Hot tub||$3,000 – $14,000|
|Outdoor shower||$800 – $1,000 ($4,000 with privacy enclosure)|
|Grilling area with sink||$1500 and up|
|Roofing / Pergola Framing||$0.70 – $1.30/sqft|
|Cover||$1,000 manuel, $1,700 motorized|
Hill Country Outdoor Living in Austin, TX, says, “Adding a fire feature to your home is a great way to stay warm during the cooler months, and makes the perfect gathering spot for family and friends in every season.” For heat on your deck, you have a number of options to choose from, including the following:
These are usually somewhat mobile with at least two wheels installed in the base. Leaning the heater back on the wheels makes it easy for most people to move them around on most flooring surfaces. Cheaper models are available without wheels, which makes them a little less convenient to move around.
Available in gas or wood-burning options, a fire pit can add a distinctive element to your outdoor space. A log firepit will be portable so it can be moved if hosting large parties, whereas the gas firepit will need to connect to a gas line, making it more of a permanent fixture.
Normally a railing will not be on all four sides of the deck because one of the sides of the deck will be along the house. For a 42”-high handrail, one 2’ x 4’ horizontal top rail, and one 2’ x 6’ placed on the edge directly below the top rail, prices are:
|Deck Railing Material||Average Cost|
|Pine, pressure treated||$15/linear foot|
|Redwood, select heart||$19/linear foot|
|Recycled composite lumber||$36/linear foot|
As a budget alternative to traditional deck railings, or added to your new deck railing for increased privacy, you can also choose to install a privacy netting screen. This is available to the consumer in 15’ x 3’ lengths and is almost 3 feet high. Generally, each panel will run around $20, will still need deck posts to tie to at each end, and will generally be attached to a top rail with screws and washers through grommets.
Pricing allows for a buffer of 5% for waste. Prices are per square foot installed and are based on a deck with 200 SF of area floored.
|Deck Flooring Type||Average Cost|
|Pine, 5/4” x 6” thick, pressure-treated deck flooring||$2.50/sqft|
|Redwood, 2” x 8” thick, select heart deck flooring||$4/sqft|
|Recycled, 5/4” x 6” thick, composite lumber decking||$8/sqft|
|Recycled composite lumber decking 2” x 8” thick||$14/sqft|
|Add for stain with sealer finish||$0.40/sqft|
|Deck Flooring Type||Average Cost|
|Pine decking, pressure treated||$0.40/sqft|
|Recycled composite lumber decking 5/4” x 6” thick||$1.00/sqft|
|Recycled composite lumber decking 2” x 8” thick||$1.90/sqft|
Depending on your desire to go completely upscale with some unique custom designed seating designed and built by your installer, or to add your own bench style options, there will be something for every budget.
On the lower end of the spectrum, you can expect to pay:
The addition of some steps will make a nice transition from the yard onto the deck. Depending on the size of the yard, one set may be sufficient, although you may choose to add the steps on either side of the deck.
The variance in cost depends on whether you want an open vertical space between each step or you’d rather close it up with a matching riser.
Concrete footing for each set of steps for support (excluding excavation) is $50.
Wide, narrow, rectangular planter boxes are available in a number of materials including wood, metal, and a range of plastic composites. Taller, deeper planter boxes which hold less are also available for roughly 15% less than the rectangular options.
For the hot tub installation, you can simply sit the hot tub right on top of the deck, or, if you have a slightly raised portion of the deck, it can be set down into a cutout. If the hot tub is going to be recessed, then some form of entry will need to be created to provide access for any maintenance that the hot tub pumps or electrical setup might need.
Depending on the number of people you want to accommodate in the hot tub; the number of jets per person; how long you want the product to last; the type of inner shell; and features like drink holders, colored LED lighting, etc., you will see a range of prices:
Depending on the type of shower you want to install—allowing you and your family to rinse off after using the hot tub or pool—and the distance from the nearest water line, your costs will be:
If you just want a sink cabinet and counter area that you place your grill next to, you are likely to spend
Adding a skirt can finish out the look of the deck from your walking surface down to the ground and protect that space from large rodents. The finished product will either look like a privacy fence—with little to no gap between the boards—or it will be more like a trellis with the wood in either a diamond or square configuration.
A complete absence of gaps will rule out the space becoming home to rodents or snakes, while the trellis option is more suited to being a visual addition. If you have an elevated portion with a recessed hot tub, the skirt must include a gate or a door to provide access to the underworking of the hot tub.
Plan ahead for maintenance and repair costs, to include:
|Deck Maintenance Type||Average Cost|
|Sanding and resealing||$3.50/sqft|
|Missing or loose nails and screws||$5–$10|
|Mold, mildew, or rot||$250|
|Termite and pest treatment||$100–$300|
Professionally installed decks will almost certainly increase the value of the home. As reported by Hanley Wood's Remodeling magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report, “Decks are consistently one of the improvements you can add to your home that will increase its value.” No matter if the housing market is up or down, the addition of a deck generally translates to a higher sales price for your home. In a survey conducted in the magazine:
Check with your local governing authorities and homeowner’s association, if applicable, to see what regulations you need to adhere to, and to see if you need a building permit. Some restrictions are created to regulate the minimum distance between your deck and a well, a septic tank or its drain field, and even a neighbor’s house, all of which have the potential to impact your desired deck location.
At different times during the construction of your deck, it will need to be inspected by a local building department to make sure it is being built to code. When the deck is complete, and it passes the final inspection, you will get a certificate of occupancy issued by your local building department certifying that a structure is compliant with all applicable building codes and any additional relevant laws.
Call 811 to find out if there are any lines for water or power that run underneath the proposed location for the deck. It will be important for the locations to be marked before the project can be fully planned out.
Because the deck will increase the value of the home, it will also increase your property taxes. That amount will depend on the total cost of the project and your local property tax rate. Have a tax assessor come and inspect the deck once it’s built. It is not uncommon to be notified of any changes in your tax estimate while they are at your property.
Policies will already allow for coverage of an additional deck when it is attached to your home, just like it would cover damage to a garage or any other attached structure within the covered hazards portion of the policy. While there are some differences between states, according to the Insurance Information Institute, most homeowner insurance policies cover standard hazards from weather damage, fire, and other damage.
Call your insurance agent to add the deck to the general information about your home. The revised policy should be the replacement value for the house plus the replacement cost for the deck.
Dining deck - If your plans are more centered around eating on your deck, build your deck an average size of 12’ x 14’ to comfortably seat 6–8 people around a 48” round table and still have room around the table for foot traffic.
Living room size - To replicate an average living room, build a deck of 16’ x 18’ or 12’ x 24’. With a deck of this size, you can furnish it with large lounge chairs, a coffee table, and an outdoor sofa. In addition, you could add an outdoor gas fireplace for the colder months. Alternatively, you could mix it up and have a love seat and table and chairs for four people.
Location relative to your house —The vast majority of decks will be constructed completely against the house or via a connected patio.
Intended deck use — Access to the deck from the back door is convenient and gives easy access to your indoor kitchen, but an additional extension to the deck could wrap around the side of the house—granting access via a door to the master bedroom and adding a separate quiet spot to relax in during the evening.
Seclusion — While the back of the house is the most private location on your property to build a deck, some homes are built on alternating elevations that can put neighbors’ houses somewhat higher than yours, and fencing does little to provide privacy. It should be possible to increase the degree of private space with the installation of a lattice trellis on one or more sides of your deck, adding an extra layer of privacy.
Surrounding scenery — Consider adding an extension or elevated area if it will give you a chance to enjoy the view of nearby hills or woods.
Direct sun exposure — If you have a home on an acre or more, then you may have more options as to where the majority of the deck is located. If you live in a region that typically allows for more cold days than hot, then the ideal location for the deck is a spot where the sunlight falls for the majority of the day. Alternatively, if you live in a hotter region like Arizona or Texas, the typical preference would be a location with as much shade as possible during the day. In either a hot or a cold region, a deck that starts at the back door and continues around the side of the house may be the best design.
Existing trees — Sometimes there could be one or more trees in the desired deck installation site. You may have to cut them down, if that is permitted by local governing authorities. Depending on the maturity of the tree(s), though, it may be possible to incorporate the tree into the deck, resulting in a more organic relaxation zone.
Wind — The most ideal location for your deck is one that has the least amount of wind on a regular basis.
Landscaping – If you were also planning to landscape the yard, plan it at the same time as the deck design to make both the deck and the yard a fluid thing of beauty. Contreras Landscaping 2 in Paterson, NJ, says, “Landscapers are not only used for gardens and lawn care, although this is an important part of any home design. Decks and fences are just as crucial when creating landscape architecture.”
Overall look – JH Strain Carpentry in Berlin, NJ, says, “Customers should have some kind of idea about what they would like and put together a file of pictures of things they like.”
A multi-level deck doesn’t have to all be built at one time. It is possible to start by planning the complete project but build it out in two or more phases, spread out over a year or two.
Instead of having the decking contractor stain and seal the deck, you could buy the sealant and stain and complete that portion of the project on your own time.
One gallon of:
Stain – Available as an opaque or semi-opaque stain in acrylic latex, oil, or latex. Covers 400 square feet of wood surface and costs $30–$45.
Wood finish – Available as a clear or waterproofing finish. Covers 400 square feet of wood surface and costs $16–$80.
Wood water clear sealer – covers 225–325 square feet of sanded wood and 125 square feet for the initial coat on rough-sawn wood. Costs $16–$18.
Wood preservative – covers 100 to 300 square feet and costs $24–$29.
While not an option anyone would advise—to ensure the long life of your deck—untreated wood is cheaper but will require more ongoing treatment when compared to pressure-treated wood; because it has not been treated with chemicals to make it resistant to insects and rotting.
Before you narrow down your short list of contractors to make your final selection of who will build the deck, ask the contractors for a copy of their certificate of insurance so you know for a fact that the workers they bring in to build the deck are covered under the contractor's insurance policy—in case one of the workers gets injured while on your property. Having this lets you avoid being held liable for any claims by the injured workers against you.
When picking your final choice, make sure he/she has as many of the following criteria as possible:
Marin Renovations in Novato, CA, a licensed California contractor of 30 years in business, says, “Meet with contractors and discuss the job. You will be able to tell their experience and if you would enjoy working with them.”
Get free estimates on HomeGuide from trusted pros:
Let us know about your needs so we can bring you the right pros.
Receive quotes from multiple pros that meet your exact needs.
Compare quotes, message or call pros, and hire only when ready.