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How much does it cost to build a deck? dynamic

The cost to build a deck can vary greatly depending on many factors.  Including the type of materials used, the design and complexity of the deck as well as other factors such as labor costs and the type of company you hire.  Here is a breakdown of some of the key elements that contribute to the cost of building a deck.

Size and Design

  • Larger decks require more materials and labor as well as more planning and site prep.
  • Complex designs like curves or multiple levels, intricate patterns or roofs add to the cost.

Material Selection

  • The specific materials used for the deck play a role in the cost.  Common materials include wood, composite and PVC for decking.  Railing may be wood, vinyl, composite or aluminum. 

  • Composites, PVC’s and exotic hardwoods will be more expensive than wood.  However, there are some composites that are almost the same cost as pressure treated wood. 

Labor and Permits

  • Labor will vary depending on who you hire.  An established company with skilled and trained employees will cost more than a guy in a pick-up truck with some tools.  
  • Building permits, design fees or engineering approvals can add cost.

Below are some examples of typical deck projects and what similar decks may cost.  Specific material choices and design will dictate the exact cost:

Location and Site Preparation

  • The location of the deck may affect costs.  If site preparation is required or an old deck needs to be removed prior to building the new deck.  Grading the area where the deck will go can also add to the cost. 
  • Accessibility to the site and transportation costs for equipment and materials can impact the cost.

Footings

  • Some designs, like decks the have roofs or need to support a hot tub may need more footings.
  • Tough digging conditions or types of footings like concrete or helical piles will affect the cost.

Framing

  • Standard pressure treated lumber, even the specific grade (#1 grade or #2 grade) can affect the cost.
  • Engineered lumber or alternative framing materials like steel will increase the cost of the project. 

Stairs

  • The more stairs the deck has, the more it will cost.  Stairs are a lot of work to build and require railing that generally costs more than level railing. 
  • Specialty stairs like curved steps, spiral steps or large or angled steps will cost more.

Additional Features

  • Adding features like outdoor kitchens, screened areas, pergolas, planters, deck lighting or built-in seating will increase the cost.
  • Custom elements or high-end finishes may require specialized labor and additional costs.

Overall Business Model

Some companies focus on providing an excellent client experience, constant communication and professional design and management of the project.  Others may just rely on low prices and a vague scope of work. Businesses that are well established and have been around a while have a handle on what it takes to deliver quality projects.

While small, one-man shops may cost less, they may not be in business in a few years should you have a problem with the original build. Larger companies may also have a showroom you can visit to see different materials and work with a designer to come up with the right plan for your space.

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