How much does a deck cost to build in NJ?
Deck Cost: The average deck is constructed from three main features – the decking, the frame / foundation, and the railings. Decking and rails can be made from wood, composite materials or Metal. Foundation and Frame are always wood and concrete. The costs between the different rail and decking choices as well as additional trim options will usually serve as the overall deciding factor. While wood comes in at a much lower price it requires yearly maintenance. Composite materials are more expensive up front but have a much longer lifespan and are maintenance free.
For the purpose of this post we’ll consider the costs and requirements for the construction of a wooden deck measuring 16’x20′. Keep in mind this information is for NJ residence on the East Coast only. Prices for labor and materials vary from place to place.
The cost for a new deck with wood rails and decking averages at $9,600 or $35 per square foot. Remarkably, the project has an impressive resale value, and a homeowner can reasonably expect to recoup around 80% of the total construction costs for such a deck at the time of sale.
This is considering the deck has a single set of stairs and is approximately 3 steps high. Stairs are more expensive to build than the deck itself so higher decks or decks with more than one set of steps are more money.
Deck Cost Breakdown
This is not a DIY project. The average homeowner doesn’t have the advanced knowledge of carpentry that’s demanded by such a project. You also need knowledge of local building codes and construction practices. And if you want to get value out of your new deck when you eventually sell your home it has to be built to a high level of quality that an average homeowner just can’t achieve.
Deck costs Include:
- Materials – the deck described would require pressure treated framing lumber, pressure treated decking and railings. Decking installed in a basic linear array with appropriate galvanized screws (usually around 15 pounds) or clips which give the deck a screwless look to complete construction.
- Excavation and site preparation – costs will vary according to the level of work necessary, but all projects will require leveling and the insertion of form tubes for the concrete footings.
- Concrete – the 6×6 posts used as the framing for the structure must be set on top concrete footings.
- Stairs and Railings – in NJ it is illegal for any contractor to construct a deck without also ensuring that a set of stairs and safety railings were in place unless the deck is ground level.
- Trim – On a wood deck typically the frame and stairs are kept as exposed wood. You can add Azek or some other form of Fascia or deck trim.
- Deck Skirt – The bottom space or skirt of the deck is left open. You can close it off with lattice or make it solid if you like at additional cost. The price for this will depend on the height of the deck and material used but generally is not that expensive. Add an extra $2000 for a deck this size for a solid skirt, $1,000 for lattice considering it’s only 3 steps high.
Enhancement and improvement costs
- Stain or seal – even if the decking is pressure treated it may be a good idea to seal or stain it against the weather. This is especially true in NJ where summer temperatures can be high and winter weather includes a lot of precipitation and freezing temperatures.
- Electrical service – most decks should have at least a single electrical outlet appropriate for outdoor use. This will allow the homeowner to have access to such service without running extension cords into the home or the basement. Generally this is already on the exterior of the home but can be added if need be.
- A pergola or awning – uncovered decks can become unpleasant during the worst of the hut summer. A pergola or awning can be added to the deck at additional cost.
- Step Lighting – most homeowners enjoy having step lighting or other forms of low voltage “mood” lighting such as post cap lights.
- Plumbing – Consider running a gas line for a grill or outdoor kitchen and water for a wet bar, prep sink or outdoor shower.
NJ Wood Deck Cost Summary
What does it cost to build a deck in NJ? Approximately $35 a sq. ft. will buy you a deck built from wood with concrete footings, wood decking and wood rails with a single set of steps. The deck will be built to all local codes and pass all applicable inspections. Pretty basic but affordable.
NJ Composite Trex Deck Cost
On average synthetic decks run about $5 more per sq ft for both decking and rails than pressure treated decks. So the same deck with trex decking and composite railings would be $40 a sq ft. But again keep in mind that for decks with long flights of steps or multiple sets the cost per square foot will be higher.
You could also add Azek trim to cover all the pressure treated lumber. This is called Fascia. Azek fascia is figured in linear feet not square feet. Add an average of another $5 per sq. ft for the option. Bringing this deck to $45 per sq ft.
If this deck was a 2nd story deck you could add an under deck or dry deck product. This is basically a gutter system that covers the under side of the deck keeping it dry when it rains. This adds an average of about $12 per sq ft to the deck.
As you make your decision keep in mind the cost of yearly maintenance for a pressure treated wood deck vs. $0 a year for a composite one.
These numbers are just estimates. Actual costs will vary because every deck is different, but the prices we charge are always very close to these. What is the cost to build a deck in NJ with all the options? A recent deck we finished with Trex decking and railings, Azek fascia, lighting, under decking, custom built Azek columns and Pergola cost around $65,000 not including the patio. All in was about $100,000 including the custom outdoor fireplace. It was around 1,000 sq ft. with another 500 sq ft of patio.
Decks are all custom so it’s best to come up with a budget first and then design the deck to match.
Additional Costs to build a Deck in NJ
Some additional costs you’ll have to pay are zoning and building fees for permits. You’ll also need a set of plans. A homeowner can draw they’re own plans and we can help, but a builder can’t draw plans for a homeowner. If you don’t want to draw them up we have an architect that can do it for you. I Can’t say exactly how much that is but I’d figure at least $1000 for something very basic.
Many factors affect the cost to build a deck, such as level of finish and site preparation, but the price of professional installation always makes up a big chunk of the bill. Knowing this can help prevent sticker shock.
In general you should follow the old fashioned 50/50 rule: “For every dollar spent on materials and supplies, expect to spend another dollar to have it installed.” And if your contractor quotes a cost per square foot, it’s probably for labor and materials combined.
In addition to supplies and labor, the climate of the location and slope of your property can also affect the cost to build a deck.
Foundations for decks in cold climates are typically more expensive because they need deeper, freeze-proof footings, while “sloped sites can create additional expenses but also present interesting design opportunities.”
New Deck Shape
All these prices assume the deck your building is square. If you want a deck with multiple levels, cut outs or some complicated shape or a round design, it’ll be custom pricing. Round is by far the most expensive. We’ve done round decks in the past that started at $100 a sq. ft. Multi level would be the next highest followed by a custom designed single level deck.
Additional Deck Option Costs
Deck options are all priced separately as per the customers design. There’s really no way of giving you a good idea of what they cost but I’d budget in a couple grand for an average size deck for things like:
- Lighting or additional outlets
- Gas line to a grill
- Access door or stair gate
- Stair Landing
- Fancy decking pattern or border
Value for Your Money
How to plan your deck installation
Know your limits: A deck is a permanent addition to your home, just like a bathroom or kitchen remodel. Decks must follow local building and zoning codes, such as required distance from property lines, that may limit the size and scope of the project. Upkeep is another limiting factor to consider: Composite decking and other synthetic materials generally cost more but require less maintenance, making them cheaper in the long run.
Make a budget: Start with a list of “wants” and “must-haves,” as well as the amount you’re willing to spend. Then, think about the size and value of your home, as well as how long you plan to live there. A large, luxurious home might look funny with a small, simple deck. And an oversized deck with lots of personal features may not make sense for a small house you might outgrow in a few years. Work with a professional builder to fit as many must-have elements into the design as your budget will allow.
Things To Consider
Balance cost with benefits: When planning a deck, increased comfort and living space should be the main goal. Should you ever refinance or sell, improved home value and marketability may be a happy side effect.
Find the right contractor: Peace of mind and a workmanship warranty are usually worth the added cost of hiring a pro. Still, some homework is required to find the right one. Make sure to:
- Compare quotes from three or more deck contractors to ensure a fair price
- Read credible reviews of all potential contractors as well as the materials they use
- Request pictures of past deck projects, and don’t be afraid to ask whether the initial timeline and estimate were met
- Ask the contractor’s previous clients if they are satisfied with the service and finished product
- Confirm that contractors are bonded, licensed and insured (if required) by contacting your local building department or state consumer protection agency before hiring them
Tips to reduce deck cost
Keep it simple: Eliminating curves and other fancy design features will make a difference, but reducing the overall size of the deck is where you’ll likely find the biggest savings, Wormer said. Matching deck dimensions to standard lumber lengths and using premade concrete piers, or footings, can also reduce cost.
Choose wood, but carefully: Untreated wood decks are generally the cheapest to install, but don’t forget long-term costs. Wood decks require yearly maintenance and deteriorate quickly if they don’t get it. Investing in pressure-treated wood or a composite deck could save time and money later, especially if you plan to stay in the house for a long time.
Time it right: The warmer months are most popular for deck building, so scheduling your installation in the offseason could be a way to save. With fewer jobs competing for their time between November and March, contractors may offer reduced labor rates and faster scheduling to gain your business.
Not a DIY Project
DIY if you dare: Pulling permits, interpreting building codes and properly installing foundation supports are above the skill level of many DIYers. In most cases, paying a pro to install a deck is worth the peace of mind. But, if you’re confident in your carpentry skills or have friends who are experienced builders, doing it yourself can significantly reduce the cost. There are many resources and how-to videos available online, especially if you’re content with a simple, rectangular design.
In some cases, it could make sense to have a professional handle the harder parts of building a deck, while leaving the easier tasks to you. For example, a pro could install an unfinished wood deck and you could do the sealing, staining or painting. It’s fairly easy for any homeowner and would save some money.
When In Doubt Ask?
The best way to figure out what the cost to build a deck in NJ is, is to ask. Call a professional like Gambrick and tell them what your thinking of doing. No one will give you an exact price without meeting and getting more info but we could easily give you a general idea of the cost with a quick conversation on the phone or even by e-mail. Usually with some basic info we can come close to a final cost. So if your thinking of building a deck and want to know the cost to build a deck just give us a call or send an e-mail. It’s really that simple.
Hope this information helps you better understand the costs involved in building a deck at the Jersey Shore.
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