Summer is here and along with it comes outdoor living. The deck becomes the hub of the home during the summer as we host barbecues, share the tranquility of the outdoors with the ones we love, and enjoy the views as the sun settles in the sky and the stars come out. Outdoor living has become the summer norm, but what if you don’t have a space or enough space? A new deck can add value to your home and increase your living space without the expense of an addition.
Things To Consider
There are a few items to consider when building a new deck. Yes this exterior home remodel will add value, but you don’t want to just go at it blindly. While most people would think the first thing to consider would be cost, it is actually obtaining value through functionality and use. You want to get the most value out of your dollars spent, therefore items to consider are how much time do you spend outdoors? Is your deck the social central area during the summer or is it just a place to transition from house to yard? What are your must haves in terms of functionality? What space do you have available? What restrictions must you deal with? Do you want to have to provide continual maintenance?
Once you have an idea of your space requirements and the functionality, you are ready to start looking at costs. There are many factors that will affect the cost of the new deck. For example, what material you choose can have a significant impact on your budget. Are you a DIY installer or do you want someone to install it for you? Are you wanting to install lighting, trim, railings, or stairs? You will need to know the answers to these questions as you move forward with your budget.
Materials For Your Deck
In the past, most decks have been built out of natural wood, but with advances in technology, new products have hit the market that make continual maintenance a non-issue. Just like roofing in Salt Lake City or re-doing the siding on your house, there are a lot of options in materials. Beware however, you will pay a bit more for this convenience. Composite decking is available in Polyethylene, Polypropylene or PVC. Each comes with its own pros and cons. You will want to make sure which product type you are having bid to truly compare apples to apples if obtaining multiple estimates. The same can be said for obtaining bids for natural wood. There are many different species available such as, Redwood, Bamboo, Ipe, and Tigerwood. These also have their own pros and cons. Again, know what is being bid if obtaining multiple estimates.
Composite decking will run you about $35 per square foot including moorings, framework and other components. Depending on the railing type, costs could increase from there. Some pros of composite decking are that it is generally mold proof, very durable, requires very little maintenance, and comes in a variety of colors. Cons include an increased cost over natural wood, dents and dings wont sand out, it won’t accept stain since it is entirely synthetic, and it could transfer heat in hot climates.
Natural wood has been the staple solution to decking for many years. Depending on the species of wood used the cost could vary greatly. Wood decks also require more maintenance and weatherproofing to keep their appearance. The most common wood used for decking is Redwood. In this market, Redwood runs an average cost of $9.25 per square foot. Some pros of natural Redwood include accepting stains and paints easily, it’s long lasting, and it’s not prone to warping. Cons include being sourced from old growth forests, pricing increases significantly when purchased outside of California, and its prone to mold if left untreated. So you can see, there are a lot of options when it comes to woods for decks.
On average, deck builders charge around $35 per square foot for installation. This is charged in addition to the raw material costs. If you want a large, custom, or multiple platform deck the cost per square foot could significantly increase.
Other costs of building a deck to consider are:
- Demolition – removal of an existing structure and disposal costs will add to the final cost of the project.
- Excavation – leveling or grading land mass for the structure
- Footings and Foundation – depending on the deck size and style either spot footings or a foundation will be required.
- Banding or Fascia – banding is a decorative border around the deck. Fascia is the finish trim that is placed on the vertical floor wall. Both are optional but give the deck a clean finished look.
- Staining/Painting/Sealing – depending on the type of material used, you may need to factor in continual maintenance costs such as staining, painting, or sealing the deck for the first time and continual upkeep thereafter.
- Fasteners – depending on the material you chose, there is a variety of ways to attach it to the substructure. Composite systems have concealed or exposed fastener options. Wood systems are generally exposed fasteners. Either way, you will want a corrosion resistant fastener used.
- Framing/Substructure/Stairs – in addition to raw deck materials, you will need to purchase additional materials for substructure. This framing underneath the deck system provides the strength to hold the weight of the deck materials and all its added features, and also provides a place for the materials to attach. You want to make sure that the substructure is built with quality long lasting materials such as pressure treated wood.
- Railings – options in railings are plentiful and can vary greatly in cost. Options can very from a standard wood post and handrail to decorative custom iron railings. Depending on the look and feel you are trying to achieve, you could spend a significant amount of your budget on railings alone.
- Engineering/Permitting – most municipalities require a building permit to add a new deck to a home. Depending on the deck’s complexity, the city may require engineering. Be prepared to add this line item into your budget.
- Other features: lighting, misting systems, built-in seating, and enclosures – Depending on your wants and needs, adding components such as lighting, sound systems, and other custom items will increase the cost of the deck significantly.
Once you have the scope of work decided, you are ready to start the bidding process. Make sure you have a list of your desired items ready when having the project bid by professionals, especially if you are seeking multiple bids. This will ensure that you are having the project bid the same by all contractors and will make bid comparison much easier. If you are a DIY installer, this list will aid you in pricing materials and other items, so you are able to obtain an accurate number.
Adding a new deck to your home is like adding a new room, true it is a room without walls, but the same planning and care should be exercised. By taking time in the planning phase of the new deck, you will eliminate surprise costs during the construction phase. Your new deck will not only increase the value to your home but will also create a new space that will provide you and your family with many great memories and give you significant enjoyment for years to come.