How Much Does It Cost to Build a Deck?

Wondering how much it’s going to cost to build a backyard deck? Here’s what you can expect to pay in 2024, a list of ways you can save and tips on working with a contractor.

Updated on June 20, 2024

There are many factors to consider when determining your budget for your new deck. Naturally, the more elaborate the design and the choice of materials will affect the cost of the deck. Like any commodity, lumber prices can fluctuate. Also, you need to consider the cost of labor, hardware, building permits and finishing.

This composite deck from Fiberon features a darker inlay pattern that defines the outdoor dining area, the same way an outdoor rug would. Accessories provide pops of color to contrast the Fiberon Horizon Dark Walnut composite railing, matching post-sleeve lighting and round black balusters.

Fiberon Horizon Ipe decking, railing and lighting

This composite deck from Fiberon features a darker inlay pattern that defines the outdoor dining area, the same way an outdoor rug would. Accessories provide pops of color to contrast the Fiberon Horizon Dark Walnut composite railing, matching post-sleeve lighting and round black balusters.

Stairs can do more than enable movement on and off a deck. The flared design of these stairs adds visual interest to the space as well. White Fiberon Horizon Railing paired with black metal balusters adds a smart finishing touch that enables easy viewing of the surrounding yard.
From: Fiberon

Is a New Deck Worth the Money?

A new deck will expand your outdoor living space and increase your home's value. According to the Remodeling 2024 Cost vs. Value Report, home exterior projects have some of the greatest return on investment (ROI). A new 16' x 20' pressure-treated wood deck costs an average of $17,615 with an 83% ROI. This estimate includes railings, a three-step staircase and a built-in bench. For the same thing made with composite decking, the average cost is $24,206 and has a 68% ROI. The cost of building a deck has increased slightly over the last few years, but the good news is the ROI has also increased. So, if you’re thinking about building that new outdoor living space, know that you will get a good amount of your investment back when you sell your home, plus, you’ll get to enjoy the space until that time.

Stylish examples of popular deck designs that enhance entertaining in your home

Deck Made from Yellow Stringy Bark and Stained with Cutek Deck O

This imaginative configuration incorporates trees, bamboo, walkways, an outdoor oven and decking made from Yellow Stringybark into a natural open space by COS Design. Landscape by Signature Landscapes.

Photo by: COS Design, photo by Tim Turner

COS Design, photo by Tim Turner

So How Much Does It Cost to Build a Deck?

Before you meet with a contractor, do your homework. Know what you want and do some research to learn the basic components of a deck so you’ll know what all the parts and pieces are called. When thinking about the cost of a deck, start with the three main segments: framing, flooring and railing. Labor will likely be more than two-thirds of the price of your new deck. So if you can DIY any of the job — such as demolishing your old deck — you can save some money

Framing

Unless your deck is ground-level, it will need support framing like concrete footers, support posts, beams, joists and ledger boards. Ground-level decks will still have framing but may be able to be built on blocks instead of posts that are secured to concrete footings. Framing is almost always built with pressure-treated wood even if your deck flooring and railing are made from other materials. When it comes to quality, there are different grades of pressure-treated lumber — the higher the grade number, the lower the quality. It is also graded on whether it will be used above ground or be touching the ground.

Framing costs will vary depending on size, height and how the deck is attached to your home. Lumber prices also vary by what area of the country you are located. Including the labor, expect to pay between $85 to $100 per square foot for the framing. If you’re DIYing, just the lumber will run about $12 to $25 per square foot depending on the quality and your location. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of the concrete footers or blocks and the post holders, joist hangers and other hardware — all these can easily cost a few hundred dollars.

Farmhouse and Deck

White Farmhouse and Deck

In back, a deck extends off the back door and gives an easy to place to entertain outdoors. The party (or the kids) can also spill down into the yard.

Photo by: Melissa Kaseman Photography

Melissa Kaseman Photography

Deck Flooring

The deck flooring is often the most expensive material in a deck’s construction. The most common types of deck flooring are pressure-treated wood, composite lumber and hardwoods like Ipe, Douglas fir or cedar. Pressure-treated decking used to be the most cost-effective, being about 20% to 30% lower than hardwoods or composite. But with the price changes over the last few years, pressure-treated is now about 5% to 10% less than the other two. So, when you factor in the cost of maintenance, longevity and rot resistance, composite or hardwood may likely be your top choice.

Deck boards are normally a nominal lumber size of 1x6 (about 5/4” thick x 5-3/4” wide) sold in lengths of 8’, 12’ or 16’. At the time of this writing, pressure-treated deck flooring is $12 to $25 per board depending on quality while composites and hardwoods range from $15 up to $60 per board, not including installation. Again, if you’re doing it yourself, factor in the cost of hardware too.

Gray Asian Deck

Gray Asian Deck With Boulders

The deck was extended to give more space for entertaining and a hot tub. Boulders poke up through the floor in a nod to the Asian gardens loved by the homeowner. On the far side, the hot tub feels cohesive wrapped in the deck's gray planks.

Photo by: Laura Hajar

Laura Hajar

If you do go with pressure-treated decking flooring, keep in mind there are two grades of this material. “The higher-grade has no knots and has been kiln-dried so it has already shrunk so it can be painted or stained immediately,” according to Michael Berry, a Construction Specialist with Earthadelic, a landscape design firm located in Knoxville, Tennessee. “Lower-grade pressure-treated wood has to acclimate to its space and climate, and you’ll have to wait about six months before you can apply paint or stain.”

Prices vary with composite decking because there are so many options that depend on size, style and what the composite is made of — they vary from recycled plastics to PVC to wood fibers or a mix of all the above. How composite decks are installed can also vary. Some are fastened to the joists with decking screws, the same as wood, and other composite manufacturers employ a snap-together, tongue-and-groove system. There are several manufacturers of composite decking. Your contractor will likely have a favorite they recommend, but you may want to research the styles and warranties offered by various manufacturers.

Railing

The design choices for railing can also vary greatly. Classic, standard-looking railing with vertical pickets can be made from the same material as your deck flooring. Again, like deck flooring, if you’re going with pressure-treated railing, use the higher-grade lumber so it can be painted or stained before it is installed when it’s a much easier task. Other design options will increase the cost of your deck, but again, weigh the upfront costs against the cost of maintenance and its rot- and insect resistance. (Read: carpenter bees and termites.) Options include aluminum, stainless steel cables, glass panels, metal, rough-hewn logs, vinyl or a combination of any of the above. Deck railings are most often sold in 6-foot sections and can range from $70 to $700.

Controllable Factors That Affect Price

There are so many considerations that can affect the cost of your deck. Let the contractor know about all your wants and needs before they give you an estimate. This way you know you’re getting a true estimate and you can accurately weigh the costs and options. As you begin to plan your deck build, and before you talk to contractors, ask yourself these questions because they will affect the cost of your new deck.

Layout and Size:

  • How big is the deck? Your footprint is going to determine the price.
  • Do you want multiple levels? This could increase the price big time.
  • If there are staircases, how many and how big are they? The price of a staircase can add up quickly. You may be thinking of two staircases, one at each end of the deck, but one in the middle can save money.
  • Is there an existing deck that needs to be demolished? If so, DIYing this instead of having a contractor do it can save money.
  • What is the shape of the deck? Curved decking will cost more than straight edges.

Basic Materials:

  • What type of decking material?
    What kind of railing?

Design Add-Ons:

  • Will there be integrated lighting? Built-in lighting is practical and stylish, so try to squeeze it into your budget. Ask your contractor about hardwiring electricity for post lights and stair lights. Consider additional lighting on the exterior walls of your home to illuminate the deck.
  • Do you want a built-in kitchen area, benches or planter boxes?
  • How about a covered area or pergola?
  • Will you be needing extra structural support for things like a hot tub?
  • Will there be skirting underneath the deck? Do you want the underside of the deck open or do you want to cover it with lattice or another material?
Stylish examples of popular deck designs that enhance entertaining in your home

A Pressure-Treated Pine Deck

A natural wood stain gives this multi-level pressure-treated pine deck a rich color to stand out against the greenery while offering long-lasting protection and years of use.

Photo by: MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers], www.MosaicGroupAtlanta.com

MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers], www.MosaicGroupAtlanta.com

Uncontrollable Factors That Affect Price

Your unique yard and house will determine some of the costs of your deck, but regional factors specific to your environment and climate may also factor into the costs. In northern climates, the concrete footings will need to be dug deeper to hit the frost line (the depth in which the ground freezes). Special building codes will need to be followed in hurricane or earthquake-prone areas.

  • What type of foundation is needed? The deck's height, the frost line and local codes will determine this.
  • How far off the ground does the deck need to be? Obviously, the higher it is, the more material will be needed.
  • Does the deck need to be attached to the house? A freestanding, ground-level deck is less expensive than one attached to your house. Also, if you are attaching the deck to the house, additional framing may be needed on the home to ensure the structure is secure and up to building codes.

Hiring a Contractor

You’ll want to get at least three estimates for the deck, and don’t just rely on online estimates. Have the contractors come to your house so they can take accurate measurements and see if there are any obstacles that may affect the layout of your deck. To help the contractor provide you with an accurate estimate, know what you want. The first thing to ask the contractor: Are they licensed and insured?

Compare Apples to Apples

When it comes to deciding on which contractor to choose, make sure you’re comparing every aspect of their estimates, don’t just look at the final cost. “Look at the layout and outline of the framing. The joists should be run 16 inches on-center (16 inches apart),” explains Michael. “Some companies will lay them 20 inches apart which can cause the deck to bow and move when you’ve got a crowd on it.” If the contractor does want to span the joists 20 inches apart, make sure they install bridge pieces in between the joists and the deck flooring is sturdy enough to make up for the lack of structural support.

Also, check the size of the lumber on each estimate: Are the posts 4x4, 6x6 or 2x4s sandwiched together? How deep are they digging the post holes? How thick are the deck boards, beams and fascia boards? Ledger boards should be bigger or at least the same size as the joists.

Other questions to ask:

  • Does the price include staining or finishing?
  • What type of lumber?
  • Does the contractor provide any type of warranty?
  • Does the price include permits and inspections?
Wood Deck With Stone Outdoor Kitchen, Raised Dining Area

Spacious Deck With Outdoor Kitchen

New decking adds a clean, contemporary aesthetic to the space and sets the stage for outdoor entertaining. An elevated platform sets the dining area apart from the outdoor kitchen.

Photo by: Topaz Design Group, Inc.

Topaz Design Group, Inc.

Research your local building codes and get a permit if needed. It is usually necessary for a deck over a particular height and square footage. Permits average about $500. You’ll also need to have your city or town building inspector or structural engineer inspect and sign off that the deck is compliant with local building codes — this is known as a certificate of occupancy. Don’t skip the permits or certificate of occupancy; not having these can come back to haunt you if you have an insurance claim or when you sell the home.

DIYing a Deck

When estimating the costs of materials for your DIY deck, you’ve got more than lumber to consider; other building materials have also gone up in price. You’ll have to factor in the cost of fasteners, joist hangers, post anchors, concrete, concrete tubes and stain or paint. All of these can easily add up to several hundred to more than a thousand dollars.

How to Build a Deck

Building a Deck
Loading Video...

Next Up

How to Build Regulation Cornhole Boards

This bean-bag toss game is fun and easy for the whole family. Building a cornhole set with regulation cornhole board dimensions is a fairly easy woodworking project that you can tackle in a day.

How to Build a Mandala-Style In-Ground Fire Pit

We made an in-ground fire pit, then decorate it with colored river rocks and sand to give it a mandala-inspired look.

The Best Teak Outdoor Furniture and How to Clean It

Upgrade your outdoor spaces with teak furniture that will add instant style and last a lifetime.

The Best Outdoor Patio Heaters for Every Budget

Extend the seasons with our favorite outdoor heaters for your deck, patio, porch and more.

10 Best Hammocks of 2024 to Help You Enjoy Some R&R

Spring is in full swing! Make sure you get a little "me time" with these top-rated hammocks.

The Best Outdoor Cushions, Pillows and Poufs for Every Style and Budget

Find the best UV- and water-resistant cushions, pillows and poufs, and successfully prep your outdoor space for summer.

49 Beautiful Outdoor Rugs for Every Style and Need

Make your outdoor space an inviting place to lounge by adding a pretty and practical rug.

The Best Pergolas and Gazebos for Every Backyard

Create a shady outdoor oasis with these stylish pergolas and gazebos.

20 Best Porch Swings for Every Style and Budget

Take a load off this summer with these top-rated porch swings.

25 Budget-Friendly Buys You Didn't Know You Needed for Your Garden

Add a special touch to your outdoor space with these beautiful and functional finds under $50.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.