How to Price Out Your Deck

After countless long summers struggling with deck envy, you've decided it's finally time to design the deck of your dreams. A deck is a perfect way to increase your livable space, extending your world and ability to enjoy your home even more. 

Whether you're looking forward to throwing a backyard bash or welcoming the day with a cup of coffee under the trees, your deck is an add-on with many benefits. But how do you get from step one to a deck full of outdoor furniture? And most importantly, how much will this cost you?

Dream a Little (or Big) Dream

This is the fun part! Start by exploring all the options available. In this world of overwhelming content, you can find inspiration on Pinterest, researching deck builders, flipping through catalogs, or taking a drive through neighborhoods canvassing the real thing. 

Start to narrow down your options based on your particular situation. As you would imagine, a larger deck typically will cost more than a smaller deck; however, costs will be affected by the materials you select and any additional features you incorporate.

Materials and Features

There are numerous material options to choose from, like composite, vinyl, natural woods like redwood and cedar and tropical hardwoods, even aluminum! These materials have a range in cost that will determine your bottom line.

The type and amount of features you incorporate will also affect your cost. Some features are essential, like steps and railings. If your design includes an intricate diagonal pattern or if you're adding privacy walls or benches, you'll be accounting for these features as well.

How high is your deck? What shape is it? Does your dream design include covered deck options? Some things to consider: could you add some options in phase two, or will it be more cost-efficient to do everything at once.

A Firm Foundation

The cost of the deck materials is just a piece in the puzzle. Depending on your landscape, you may need to consider various factors to decide what type of foundation system you'll need. Do you need to remove an existing deck? How many concrete support footings will you need, and how deep will they need to be placed? What are the soil conditions?  What are the code requirements for the deck you want to build? Knowing answers to these types of questions will help you determine total construction and labor costs, and also ensure your deck ultimately passes any necessary inspections.

Deck Return on Investment

You love your deck, but if you sell your home, will the new buyer love it too? Good news! According to cost versus value reports, homeowners can recoup up to 80% of the cost of building a deck. There is scalability within this number, however. Factors like choosing the best decking material and overall design will impact how much value your deck actually adds to your home value. Consider these decisions carefully and with an eye to the future.

Once and Done?

The day has arrived. The last nail has been hammered and the deck opening party invites have gone out. The deck is done! Or is it? When pricing out your deck, you need to look beyond the completion of the initial project to the cost of maintenance and upkeep. Again, the materials you select will come into play here. A wooden deck may need to be repainted or sealed regularly, while vinyl decking is relatively maintenance-free.

The Joy Factor

The 2018 National Association of REALTORS® Remodeling Impact Report researched the increased happiness experienced by homeowners once an upgrade is completed. A new deck received a "joy score" of 9.8 because of better functionality, improved livability, and an increased sense of enjoyment when they are at home. So, take step one and get ready to enjoy!