Deck Cost | How Much Does A Deck Cost To Build?
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. The foundation is always made of concrete and the frame out of treated wood. Costs vary quite a bit when comparing different rail and decking options which is why these factors will generally be the biggest drivers of cost.
Framing wood and concrete costs won’t vary much when comparing decks of equal size. So spend most of your time pricing out the finish materials. That’s where the big money generally gets spent.
Aside from the cost to build a deck you should also consider long term maintenance costs. While an all wood deck can be built for a much lower price than a composite one, it requires yearly maintenance. Composite decks are more expensive up front but have a much longer lifespan and are maintenance free.
A Simple Wood Deck
Lets consider the costs for the construction of a simple wood deck measuring 10’x20′. Keep in mind this information is for a NJ home on the East Coast. Prices for labor and materials vary from place to place as well as building codes.
The cost for a new 10’x20′ deck with wood rails and wood decking averages around $7,000 or $35 per square foot. Remarkably, decks have an impressive resale value when compared to other home improvement projects. A homeowner can reasonably expect to recoup around 80% of the total construction costs for such a deck at the time of sale.
It should be noted, 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.
A Trex Deck
On average synthetic decks run about $5 more per sq ft for composite decking and another $5 for rails. So the same 10’x20′ deck we priced out above, now with trex decking and composite railings, would be $45 a sq ft. or $9000. 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 or some other type of trim to either a wood or composite deck. Generally trim covers all the pressure treated lumber. This is also called Fascia. Deck trim is priced in linear feet not square feet. Add an average of another $5 per sq. ft for the option. Bringing this deck to $50 per sq ft. or $10,000.
If this exact same deck was being built higher the price would go up based on the height. Lets look at the reasons for this:
- Labor. The higher you go the longer it takes to build. Construction jobs are priced based on time and materials. So naturally the more time it takes the more money it’ll cost. There are also safety concerns you don’t need to deal with when working at ground level. Once ladders and possibly scaffolding is involved the price is going up.
- Materials. A higher deck needs longer support posts and depending on the height you may need to upgrade those 4x4s to 6x6s. Also lateral braces can be added to stop the deck from swaying side to side. You could also need hurricane ties or some other form of tie down.
- Stairs. Stairs have the highest cost per square foot of any part of the deck. They take a lot of tie to build right and they require a lot of expensive railings. Because of this, the higher you go, the more stairs you’ll need. Naturally this all costs a lot more money than if the ground was low.
It’s hard to quote an exact price on a high deck because they’re are so many new variables to consider but generally you can expect to pay another 50% for a 2nd story deck. Bringing your 10’x20′ composite deck to around $15,000 or $75 per sq. ft.
When building a 2nd story deck you gain the option of adding 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. This would bring that 10’x20′ composite, 2nd story deck to a grand total of $87 per sq. ft. or $17,400.
Most of our clients end up adding a patio under the deck when they add an under deck product. Because dry deck essentially turns your deck into a roof you can now use your new patio in the rain or snow. It’s also a great place to hang out in the shade on hot summer days since the under decking blocks out the sun.
These numbers are just estimates. Actual costs will vary because every deck is different and every deck contractor charges a different price for their services. Quality of work is a big factor, not every deck is built the same. If you want top quality expect to pay more. If you want to get value out of your new deck at resale you have to build it right. Take our advise and hire a qualified professional that does great work. It’s worth paying a little more.
Pro Tip: Decks are all custom designed and built so it’s best to come up with a budget first and then design the deck to match.
Deck Cost Breakdown
A new deck is generally not a DIY project. Unless you have the tools and skill to do the job I wouldn’t recommend doing it yourself. The average homeowner just doesn’t have the advanced knowledge of carpentry that’s demanded by such a project. You also need knowledge of local building codes, construction practices and plans drawn up for permits. These are all things a local deck contractor can help you with.
Deck costs Include:
- Materials – Decks require pressure treated framing lumber, concrete for footings, decking and railings. Decking is installed with galvanized, stainless steel or composite screws 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 support for the structure must be set on top concrete footings. Each set of stairs must rest on a 4″x4″ concrete pad.
- 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 – You can add Azek or some other form of Fascia or deck trim.
- Deck Skirt – The space between the bottom of the deck and the ground is called the skirt. You can close it off with lattice or something solid at additional cost. The price for this will depend on the height of the deck and material used.
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 simple wood deck in NJ? Approximately $40 a sq. ft. will buy you a deck built from wood with concrete footings, wood decking and wood rails, around ground level with a single set of steps. The deck will be built to all local codes and pass all applicable inspections. Pretty basic but affordable.
As with any remodeling or building project, it’s best to get several estimates and to discuss your ideas with an architect or designer so you can get a range of prices and find one that suits what you can afford. Gambrick has a price match guarantee so no matter what prices you get, as long as they’re from a qualified, skilled deck builder in NJ we’ll beat it.
Take into consideration what your house is worth and how long you plan to live in it. You don’t want to overspend on an oversize deck that does not suit the scale of your home nor do you want to skimp on the size of the deck if you have a large home. If you plan to sell your home shortly after the deck is complete, you might not want a deck that costs too much and that you will not get to enjoy for long.
Generally, gathering three good estimates may be enough. People say pick the one in the middle but that’s not a great strategy. If a great deck builder gives you a good price you should take it. Just picking the middle price out of 3 without considering anything else is pretty dumb and could get you into trouble. Be open and honest with your designer. He or she may be able to suggest ways to save you money but still get the deck you want.
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 $50 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 $55 per sq ft.
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.
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
A new deck can expand the outdoor living space of your home and increase your home’s value. Decks are consistently one of the improvements you can add to your home that will increase its value. According to Hanley Wood’s Remodeling magazine’s annual 2011-12 Cost vs. Value Report.
The magazine’s survey indicates that a mid range wood deck addition that costs $10,350 in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. will recoup about 70 percent of its value at resale on the national average. In the same study, a composite deck addition that cost $15,579 recouped 62.8 percent on the national average. Even in a down housing market, a deck upgrade can mean more money in your pocket when you sell your home. Any way you look at it decks are a solid investment and hold their value extremely well when compared to other home improvements in NJ.
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 build 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. This leaves 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 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 first. But we could easily give you a general idea of the cost with a quick conversation on the phone or even by e-mail. 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.
If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.