Skip to main content

21OAK may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

How much does it cost to build a deck? More than you think

If you have a yard but feel like something is missing, you may want to consider adding a deck. Building a deck can expand your outdoor living space and provide a place for all sorts of outdoor fun like barbecues, fire pits, arts and crafts, and more. If you’re beginning to think about building a deck, one of the first things to cross your mind will undoubtedly be the cost. Ultimately, several factors will affect the project’s overall price, from size to materials and design to extra features; there are plenty of items to consider. Check out some of your options below to learn more about the overall cost to build a deck.

  • The typical cost range for building a deck is anywhere from $4,000 to $11,5000.
  • The national average cost for building a deck is $7,700.
  • Materials and labor will run you from $30 to $60 per square foot.


The cost of deck building will depend on the materials you choose. Traditionally, outdoor decks use wood, but you can find composite decks and vinyl decks these days. Check out the pros and cons of all three materials below.


Pressure-treated wood is the classic choice for an outdoor deck and has been for decades. Though wood is the gold standard, it requires annual maintenance, like sealing and treating, to preserve its quality. Sealing and treating prevent splintering and rotting, which can cause all types of problems for your deck, from aesthetic to downright dangerous. Wood can also harbor wood-boring insects like termites, ants, and carpenter bees. The cost of the materials for a wood deck will also depend on what type of wood you choose. High-quality woods can drive up cost but will probably last longer, while cheaper woods won’t last as long but won’t cost as much upfront. Generally speaking, wood will cost $3 to $7 per square foot.

Man building a deck.
Image used with permission by copyright holder


Composite is a popular choice for decking material for a few reasons. First, being made of recycled plastics and wood byproducts, it’s eco-friendly (always a plus). Second, composite deck materials don’t split, splinter, or rot and therefore don’t require the upkeep that natural wood does. The same reasons that composite is a popular decking choice are why it is more expensive than wood. Composite planks can cost up to $12 per square foot depending on the brand.


Vinyl or PVC decking is a plastic commonly used in many applications like pipes and other building materials. Like composite, vinyl decks are nearly maintenance-free and require no painting, sealing, or staining. Though PVC decks look great, the planks tend to contract and expand as the weather warms and cools, causing the fasteners to come loose eventually. Also, like composite decking, vinyl is typically more expensive than wood and will cost around $10 per square foot.

Material choice comes down to what look you’re going for, how much time you have for regular maintenance, and your budget. If you have the money to spend upfront and don’t have much time for regular upkeep, composite or vinyl may be the way to go. If you are looking for the most budget-friendly option, natural wood will be cheaper upfront, but don’t forget to consider the cost of seasonal upkeep.

Size and design

The size of your new deck is a significant cost factor to weigh. Obviously, the smaller the deck, the fewer materials you need, and if you’re planning on paying someone else to do the job, the less money you’ll spend on labor. The same principles hold true when planning the design of your new deck. A simple square with a few stairs will cost less than a multi-level patio with railings and benches. The more complex the design, the higher the material and labor costs.

DIY or contractor?

If you’re into DIY and up to a bit of a challenge, building your own deck could save you a ton of money. Professional decking companies charge anywhere from $15 to $35 per square foot for an average-size build. Ultimately, labor costs make up around two-thirds of the cost of adding a deck to your home according to If you’re thinking about hiring someone to build the deck for you, it’s always a good idea to get a few quotes before making a choice.

Building a deck isn’t that difficult with the proper tools and the correct instructions (or know-how). Before you begin, be sure to check with your local building department to gather the necessary permits and approvals. You can find deck-building plans and designs online, but a deck should be wider than it is deep as a general rule. Be sure to make the deck large enough for outdoor furniture and other activities.

Dad and kid building a deck.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Building a deck, or having one built for you, can be a great way to expand your outdoor living space. Decks look great and add to the personality of your yard while also acting as a gathering place for you and your loved ones. If you’re thinking about building a deck this spring, consider materials, size, design, and labor when figuring out your budget. Once you’ve made a few critical decisions, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your new deck in the sunshine.

Editors' Recommendations

Kelly Kaliszewski
Kelly's work has appeared in blogs and on websites. When she's not writing, she is playing with her two dogs, cooking, or…
DIY advice: Should you build a raised patio on your own?
What you need to know about building a raised patio yourself
woman smiling while seated outdoors

A DIY raised patio is a highly customizable home improvement project that you can use year-round. You can host family lunches, enjoy outdoor nighttime movie screenings, and bask in your yard’s natural beauty throughout the year when you have your own patio. This renovation is absolutely doable on your own, but there are some important things to think through, like projected costs, permits, and safety.

Allan Block suggests building a raised patio with a retaining wall stating, "You can incorporate curves, corners or even stairs into your patio design. Building a raised patio is easy and can add more usable living space and lasting value to your landscape." Here's what you need to know before you begin.

Read more
5 easy ways you can transform a balcony from small to cozy and intimate
cozy small balcony ideas dining area

If you're living in a large city, you know how important outdoor space can be. If you're lucky enough to have a highly coveted balcony, you owe it to yourself (and any guests you entertain) to transform it into a cozy outdoor oasis worthy of your time and energy. Even if it's small, there are so many ways you can decorate it to offer a fun and inviting place to sip your morning coffee, curl up with a good book, or host friends for cocktails after work.

We've come up with five cozy small balcony ideas to get your creative juices flowing. They work on balconies of every size, and they won't break the bank. They will, however, be the envy of anyone who steps foot into your home in the future. You've been gifted with outdoor space, so take advantage of it and turn it into a private escape you can disappear into when you need a little me-time.

Read more
How to choose bedroom wallpaper that looks gorgeous and you won’t ever regret
grandmillenial bedroom with two beds and patterned wallpaper

It's that time of year when everyone is thinking about refreshing or remodeling their homes. It makes sense, given most of us have been stuck inside all winter long, both working and relaxing. Now that it's spring and warmer weather is on the way, you're probably sick of looking at the same four walls of your bedroom and may feel inspired to tackle some home projects. The bedroom is a perfect place to start, and wallpaper is the perfect medium to transform it. There are so many colors, textures, and inventive methods to incorporate bedroom wallpaper that will add character and richness to the space while also showcasing your personality.

There are a few things to take into consideration before you land on the perfect bedroom wallpaper.

Read more