Thursday, June 13, 2013

Deck Price Breakdown

Okie dokie, it's time for the numbers!!!  Many people are curious as to how much we spent to build our deck (see the complete deck story here).  I was actually very curious myself because when I did research beforehand, there is very little information out there on the prices of decks.  Many of the construction forums I read say that this is because there are so many variables... i.e. two decks of the same size could be vastly different in price depending on shape, products, height, etc. 

Well I went ahead and calculated the price of all of our materials.  I also happen to have the prices from our supplier for some of the other types of composite material as well as your standard pressure treated wood, so I'll give you some info on that too.

First, a comparison of the type of decking we used (Timbertech XML), with one of the cheapest composites you can get (Trex Select), with regular old pressure treated wood.  I did not include the price for the drainage system supplies since I imagine most people will not need that.  I'll provide some info on that below. 

Here's a little summary of what you see in the breakdown below:  If you were to build our exact 480+ square foot, 6' high deck with the exact products we used, it would cost you about $11,750 in materials, which comes out to about $24 per square foot.  If you were to build our exact size/shape/height deck using the cheapest composite decking available, it would cost you about $9,500 in materials, which comes out to about $20 per sf.  If you were to build our exact size/shape/height deck using pressure treated wood, it would cost you about $6,300 in materials, which comes out to about $13 per sf.
Almost $12K for this beauty!
I have heard that one of the standard deck sizes that Ryan Homes offers is 10'x12'.  The materials for that size deck would be less than $2,400 for standard composite and less than $1,600 for wood.  It would probably be even lower since their decks have standard steps, if any.
All right, here is the math (this girl loves a good spreadsheet!):

Deck Price Comparisons (480 sf deck)
12" OC
12" OC
16" OC
(Solid PVC)
Basic Composite
Pressure Treated Wood
1.  Footings $1,750.00 $1,750.00 $1,750.00
2.  Framing Lumber $1,050.00 $1,050.00 $787.50
3.  Screws, straps, etc $100.00 $100.00 $100.00
4.  Deck Boards $5,468.50 $3,252.00 $1,785.00
5.  Railings $2,090.20 $2,090.20 $1,045.00
6.  Hidden fasteners $497.50 $497.50 $0.00
7.  Deck screws $80.00 $80.00 $120.00
8.  Lattice $120.00 $120.00 $120.00
9.  Fascia $100.00 $100.00 $100.00
10.  Concrete pad for steps $500.00 $500.00 $500.00
Price for our 480 sf Deck: $11,756.20 $9,539.70 $6,307.50
Price per Square Foot$24.49$19.87$13.14
Price for 10'x12' Deck $2,939.05 $2,384.93 $1,576.88

Let me explain the breakdown...
  1. The footings (we needed 15) and 18'x5' concrete pad at the bottom of our steps were done by a contractor (my cousin to be exact). 
  2. We purchased the pressure treated framing lumber from Home Depot and this included everything we needed for the posts, beams, joists, stringers, ledger board as well as delivery.  You'll notice that the price for the wood deck is less.  The composite decking manufacturers suggest that you space your joists 12" on center with their products.  With wood, you can get away with 16" O.C., so I just multiplied the composite number by 0.75 (12/16).
  3. Screws, straps, etc: I forgot to keep the receipts for all of the hardware we used for the framing, so I just threw a number in there... it wasn't significant.
  4. The deck boards were obviously the most expensive aspect and this is also where you have the most options, so you can really keep your cost down by choosing a less expensive product. 
  5. We used RDI Original vinyl railing systems.  In my estimate I assumed that if you were doing a wood deck, you would also use the wood railings.  The price for those is based on the quote we were given from our supplier as well.
  6. The hidden fasteners are special screw systems which you use with "grooved" composite boards so that you don't see the screws in your deck.  It really does look awesome.  I did not include this in the wood deck option since this system is not available for regular pressure treated boards.
  7. Deck screws: We still needed a bunch of regular deck screws for the steps, fascia and the edges where you couldn't use the hidden fasteners.
  8. We used PVC lattice.  You can actually get the pattern in two different sizes and we opted for the smaller size so that you can't see under our deck as much.  Again, this was the more expensive option and regular wood lattice is significantly cheaper.
  9. We also used PVC fascia (are you getting the idea that we don't plan on a lot of future maintenance??), but again going with the regular wood fascia will save you some money.

The drainage system for our deck cost just over $1,000, including the heavy duty plastic and 3" thick gravel that we laid on the ground under the deck. 
The one thing I did not include was the price of tools.  There are some pricey tools that are definitely required.   We were lucky that we either owned or were able to borrow everything we needed.
I hope this helped some people who are considering building a deck.  If you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me an email and I'll try to answer as best I can!


  1. Great expenation! I found this side-by-side comparison extremely helpful. Obtw, I'm a bit of a spreadsheet freak too...don't feel bad. We've really been back and forth on what materials to use and with all the other projects we want to do the price difference is just killing us. We have a store here called Menards and they have a little keyosk in one of their departments with a touch screen computer. You can draw your deck, then print out an exact bill of materials with prices. I tried several variants, with the help of a very patient employee and just couldn't get the numbers to work. A 20x30' multi-level deck with waterfall stairs came to $3,000 pressure treated and the solid composite was $9,800 (not changing from 16 OC to 12). The two tone composite like you did is just so beautiful...this is going to torment me until we order the materials and then probably until we are sitting on it and enjoying it. Thanks again for the breakdown, looks like my research is jiving with yours.

    1. I'm glad our research matches! I totally agree with your last statement... I was so torn on what kind/color to get, but once we got it in place I was so happy with our choice. It's really hard to tell until you are almost finished. There's actually I giant showroom somewhat close to where we live... maybe you could find something like that near you to get a better idea. Here's the link to the one near me:

  2. WOW!! What a BEAUTY!! You all did a fantastic JOB!! I love how you broke this information down for all of us to understand. I am so glad I changed my mind about putting up the RH deck. We were going to get the 21*12 deck for $11,800. I kept checking around for comparative figures and this was way to high especial without steps. I submitted a change order quickly for some other things I wanted in the house.

    We did get an estimate for a deck but we are going to wait until the winter to build. Have you ever heard of Aztek. This is what the sales rep said they would use instead of composite material. What is the difference? Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hey Nadese... I think the Aztek products are similar to what we used... solid PVC instead of composite.

  3. That looks absolutely beautiful!!! I'm in love with it!

  4. Can you imagine the cost if you had hired someone to do it??? $30,000 maybe??

    We priced out decks and I concur with your pricing.

    So since we have a flat yard with only one step down we decided to go with exposed aggregate which come out to be a little over $8 a square foot. We will also put decorative sitting walls around our large patio.

    So if anyone else out there is looking for alternatives, look into exposed aggregate or stamped concrete, its a very rich looking and much cheaper than a deck....NOW this is our compromise, I love a deck, I rather a deck, but it made more sense for us to go the patio direction.

    Im jealous of your deck, its Magnificent!!

    1. I've never seen exposed aggregate... I'll have to look into that because we're looking for some patio options for the future. Thanks for the tip!

    2. Its very elegant looking, Im not sure of the technique they use but somehow the pebbles rise to the top of the concrete, then they dye it (a brownish color) and its textured and pretty...YUP folks that was a very technical description...

      Ok I can do better...

      Exposed aggregate concrete can almost be compared to a piece of granite or marble transformed by polishing: A plain, unremarkable surface has been stripped away to reveal the exceptional beauty lying beneath. In the case of concrete, that beauty is in the form of decorative aggregate, either natural or manufactured.

  5. I have never seen a deck better looking than this, not even on the Starship Enterprise or Commander Adama's Battlestar Galactica! Gotta get that straight and out there first.

    Absolutely fascinated by your spreadsheet and keeping track, and love your choices with the deck.. But considering the cost involved and being on a shoestring budget (nothing left after RH took us to the cleaners) I think We are going to go with stamped concrete.. unless something changes.

    But will keep coming back here to check. Who knows, maybe we can pull it off!

  6. beautiful deck! I think you should send a bill to the neighbors behind you for the glory and ability to look upon the "deck of awesomeness".


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