So you’ve decided to build a deck – congratulations! But where do you begin?
Before jumping in, make sure you’ve got the right budget allocated so you don’t end up spending more than you intended. While costs will differ from project to project, here are a few important factors to take into account.
To begin the budgeting process, think through four main costs of deck construction:
1. Materials: Tools, lumber, fasteners, nails/screws, and even trash bags will comprise the bulk of your budget. I’d recommend accounting for a good chunk of your overall budget to be spent on building materials.
For a basic wood deck, homeowners should expect to spend no less than 1⁄3 of their overall budget on acquiring materials. That means if your budget is $9,000, expect to spend $3,000 on tools and building materials alone.
2. Contractor fees/consulting fees: It is recommended to hire a contractor, or at least consult with one, if you are going the DIY route. Contractors will not only have expert insight to share, they will be able to save you time in the building process.
If you’re going the DIFM (do-it-for-me) route, I’d recommend finding at least three contractor quotes. When comparing quotes, consider not only the cost but the relationship with the contractor. Understand that this is a partnership – you want to feel comfortable and that you’re working with someone who can fix things as they come up.
3. Maintenance costs: Always expect the unexpected when it comes to construction. Consider maintenance fees, such as rubbish removal, when planning your deck.
4. Permit costs: Always get a permit before building, as it will ensure you are building safely to code, and contractors often can help you obtain one.
Once you have your budget squared away, you can find a few easy ways to save. Step one: find the most cost-efficient materials.Wood is the economically sound way to go when building a deck, as it is much less expensive than using plastic composite materials.
Before deciding a set cost, think about how you will use your deck. Are you looking for a large space to host guests for barbeques? A small space to sit and have morning coffee? This will help you decide the best deck for you.
Also be sure to ask yourself the right questions. It’s not as much about “how much do I spend” as it is “what can I get for the money I have?” As a general rule of thumb, figure out a rough square footage of what you want and multiply it by 50. This should at least give you a basic ballpark of where you’re starting.
At the end of the day, your deck should be your outdoor sanctuary. So don’t rush the process. Take some time to plan and save for the right deck, as this is a project that will be with you for decades!
Mark knows more about tools than anyone has a right to know. With his wife Theresa, Mark hosts the popular MyFixitUpLife talk show, is the general contractor for Food Network’s ‘Save My Bakery,’ and has been a project manager for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and expert guest on PBS, DIY Network, Discovery Channel, A&E, NBC’s The 10! Show, Good Day Philadelphia, and other national radio and TV programs.