How Much Does It Cost to Build a Deck?

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Nielen Stander

Subject: Composite patio deck 300 sq ft

I am trying to figure out a realistic quote for a 300 sq ft deck made of Trex composite decking (best type). Bonded and insured contractor. Labor and materials included. 15 Pier holes about 18" deep filled with concrete. The deck is not rectangular being wider in some areas than others.

Bill DeWitt

Subject: Cost to build a deck

Pricing will vary greatly depending upon the location of a job site. California versus Georgia, just are not the same.

You will get better work from a professional that has a business license and plays by the rules, which is directly proportional to the price.

Complicated deck construction cost more. General deck construction is not rocket science.

Pricing can be "smoke and mirrors", buyer beware. The problem with professional deck builders is that they "shine" the toes of their shoes, but if you look hard they do not "shine" the back of their shoes.


Subject: What to charge to build a 10x30 deck for a customer ?

A customer wants me to build a ground level 10x32 deck. 320 square feet. No hand rails or steps. No staining or weather treating. She will pay for the materials and I will build it. Just build it and be done.I'm not new to building decks but new to bidding them. Plz help.

Mitchell M

Subject: Cost of building deck

This is in reply to your Angie's list post which is months old but an easy way for you to bid a price is to double the cost of material. If the material was $1800 you charge $3200-$4000


Subject: Deck costs

Sorry to bust your deck cost bubble but everyone is forgetting the engineering is needed with most decks in California, unless not permitted! Most cities will not even let you past plan check with out engineering. Then factor in a thousand different finishes coatings etc... Sorry more than doubles the cost now or just take your chances and pick up guys from home deposit parking lot! I'm sure you'll have a beautiful deck that will never fail! Best of luck!

J Alan

Subject: Decks

Sites like these give owners a false sense of budget. "adding a pergola for $300.00"? Where does one get a pergola for $300.00?? Real world deck breakdown in dollars for a 10 x 16' deck:

Permits 75 - 450
Soild Compaction Test 150-350
Proper Pier Footings 500-1500
Lumber/Framing Components 1500-3500
Exterior Rated Fasteners, Hangers, Bolts 250-350
Labor/ Workmans Comp/ Insurance 1200-3000
Debris/Portolet 150-300
P&O 15% or about 1800 -2200 (for legit contractors)

So correctly for a 10x16 "elevated" deck $7,000-10k, or you can be a victim of a collapse down the road.

Dennis Rodaman

Subject: How many suckers are paying you?

I live in the Northeast in the New York metropolitan area which is one of the higher cost of living areas in the country. We have received several quotes for a 12 by 20 foot low lying deck (with pilings) with six stairs leading up to an 8 by 5 landing. Using standard pressure treated lumber, including railing, the quotes seemed to hover around 8000. All the contractors are highly rated and recommended in our area. So I don't know who you're fooling with those numbers but hey, if you're getting work, keep at it.


Subject: deck costs

I agree! I'd like to see that $300 pergola. I researched and got a bargain pergola that's 4 x 11 for $1500! I bet he meant $3,000, not $300. Thank you for your input J Alan or we'd be led down a very dark road.

joe underwood

Subject: Basic Advice

Doug offers some really basic advice....but all is a great starting point for all readers......but be prepared if it is your first time whether using a PRO or DIY for some unexpected issues. My add-on is do not use wood?

kevin manchester

Subject: construction quizing ?

I recommend using a reputable contractor and not trying to quiz him at his own game. Its insulting. If you don't trust someone or cant take the time to hire the right person then maybe you need to hire someone to do that also.


Subject: More Information

Many counties around the U.S. are adhering to the 2009 IRC prescriptive code for building decks. These set of codes are often augmented by the AWC's own DCA pamphlet, which are based on the IRC codes and then incorporate good building practices. Googling the AWC and building a deck will provide you with the pamphlet you need to reference when you contract out or build your own deck. Materials alone will run you about $8/sf - give or take a few.


Subject: "Also ask about how your

"Also ask about how your contractor will assemble your deck. Lag bolts will last longer than carriage bolts, for example."

How is it that lags will last longer than carriage bolts? I see only the opposite as true; as the wood ages the threads of the lag start to give, whereas a bolt never gives. This is why all highway guard rails require carriage bolts rather than lag screws. Also, in building juliettes (side mounted decks) most state and county codes require carriage bolts for anchoring the ledger; lags will not suffice.


Subject: "Also ask about how your

"Also ask about how your contractor will assemble your deck. Lag bolts will last longer than carriage bolts, for example."

How is it that lags will last longer than carriage bolts? I see only the opposite as true; as the wood ages the threads of the lag start to give, whereas a bolt never gives. This is why all highway guard rails require carriage bolts rather than lag screws. Also, in building juliettes (side mounted decks) most state and county codes require carriage bolts for anchoring the ledger; lags will not suffice.

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I agree with Jim Casper - after about 50 years of dealing with weathered wood finishing both in my homes and in the construction business, it comes down to about 90% preparation, 10% the finishing. If you do not prep the wood right, any moisture, mold, etc in the wood will destroy whatever you put over it.

High-build finishes like paint and epoxies and, from reading the Rustoleum flyer on this new product that too, work by trying to make an impenetrable surface and depend on a very good bond with the surface, AND no water getting under them. Because they are thick and are designed to provide a waterproof surface, unfortunately where water gets under them they are just as good or better at keeping it from evaporating, so you get fungal growth, blistering, and peeling.

Unfortunately, on deck and most outdoor applications except siding the surface will get nicked, scratched and otherwise develop leaks in short order. Water will therefore get into the underlying wood, and because it entered through small cracks and scratches, does not have any airflow to make it evaporate, so it sits there and breaks the finish bond to the wood (causing peeling and blisters), and promotes decay. That is why new deck boards and siding and trim that have been heavily or multi-coat painted on all 4 sides, thinking that will give the best protection, only last a few years versus the usual 10-20 years or so for boards that are painted top and sides only.

The full sun and hot conditions will, of course, cause more thann normal heating of dark colored painted decking. I had one instance where I was doing an independent appraisal of a very large commercial deck at a government facility, and in 85-90 degree daytime temps, in the sushine the chocolate brown deck surface temp was 150 degrees, and the paint was softening so much it stuck to the bottom of your shoes a couple of months after application.

As Jim said, the studies pretty clearly show that a breathable penetrating stain gives the best life, after plain ACA/CCA (copper chromium variations - the green stuff) treated wood. Penetrating stains, properly applied, do NOT seal in the moisture, they inhibit its entry and (when dark colored) help protect against sun damage to the wood and finish, but still breathe enough to let moisture escape on dry days. For my money, I will only use petroleum distillate (paint thinner cleanup) products, as they penetrate into the wood much better. Water based ones immediately start swelling the wood pores, so it blocks further penetration of the stain, which while cleanup is a bit easier, totally defeats the purpose of a PENETRATING stain or sealer.

I would recommend against any sort of waterproofing sealer, as they trap the water just like paint, and I have never seen one that is effective for 2 years.

My personal preference, though it limits the architectural coloration possibilities, is ground-contact rated copper compound treated wood (NOT the Wolmanized brown product), which comes green initially but can be retreated with either green or brown solution or can be liquid colorized darker (though not easily to a specific tone) using either of those as a base. My practice is to redo the treatment before installation to ensure thorough treatment, as from the mill it commonly has skips where boards contacted each other or where stacking seperators laid on it, and the ends are commonly very poorly done. This is done after cutting to length, as cut ends have to be retreated anyway.  A simple short deck cleaner soak followed by a light pressure washing and brush or roller re-treating of ONLY the TOP surface every 10 years or so has, for me, reduced visible weathering of the boards and beams to negligible.

As stated by others: You get what you pay for.  Many contractors no longer use employees.  The cost/benefit ratio is gone by the time worker's comp. insurance, unemplyment and other taxes are paid.  Especially with the high turnover in our industry.  Many, myself included, have our guys set up as sub-contractors.  That means even if the job is only for a day the duties have been outlined and a set pay to complete those duties has been established from the onset.  It's a better way to manage costs once I got used to it.  Also, it means I can operate cheaper and not have to charge as much to the customer.  My agreements with my guys, which they sign, make it clear that I nor the homeowner are responsible for their safety and medical care should a problem arise and that all parties are relieved of any such obligation.  If you hire a contractor who follows this growing practice ask to see a copy of his sub-contractor agreement.

That being said, a legitimate contractor still has operating cost which vary by area and how they run their business.  I break even at $150/day not including labor and materials so I've got to charge more than that to make money.  To keep the math simple, if I'm paying $250 for a pne day job in labor plus another $300 in materials and $150 operating costs I've got to charge $700 to the customer to break even.  That's if I'm only doing one job a day which is why most of us manage several at a time.  The point I'm trying to make is that someone with the necessary knowledge and experience to build you a safe deck is not going to be cheap.  Knowledge accompanies success which costs money.

I've repaired or restructured several decks built by handymen who should find another profession.  Ask yourself this question when hiring someone for this project: Would I trust this person to build my house?  If the answer is no you need to find someone else.  The deck is just as important.  It's where your family, friends, kids are going to gather and interact.  If it isn't structurally sound it can collapse causing injury or even death.  One last word on decks: Always screw a deck together, don't nail it.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
San Antonio, TX

Assuming you buy the right size door to fit the rough opening, and that your old door is not a size that is no longer made, and that you get the correct depth and transition adapters and sills and flashing and trim and seals and such, and that you transport it home without distorting and damaging it, then removal and disposal of old one and install new one probably about $250-400 depending on how well it fits, number of transition and similar pieces that have to be assembled (from 1 or 2 for some doors to as many as 30 on others).

The laundry list of things at the start WAS intended to intimidate you - I would say not 1 in 25 homeowners who buy a new patio door have bought it the right size for the rough opening and have everything needed to install it - the contractor almost invariably has to go get materials or parts to complete the installation - sometimes waiting weeks for factory adapters that are needed or missing parts AFTER the original door has already been taken out.

I would question why you are going to probably spend as much installing a door that may not do the job for you as the cost of the door. I would hazard at least half of people who go buy a $250-400 cheap door at a box store are sorely disappointed within months - due to poorly fitted parts, bad or non-existent seals causing drafts or water leaks, fogging or breaking glass, etc.

I would recommend you assess your needs, in conjunction with your installer find a decent and reputable brand unit to fit that need and that fits the loction right, and probably pay 50% more installed but have something that you might actually be happy with. Oh - BTW - your best installers generally will not install the cheapest box store units because they do not want the callbacks, so many times the quality of the installer who will actually do the job for you at a price you are willing to pay gives you a job that is - you guessed it, worth what you paid for it.


The product has evolved considerably since the lawsuit.


I would still do your own research and give you contractor your feedback.  At the end of the day, the cost for whatever board you want will be similar.