Remodeling or replacing your wood deck can be a great addition to any home. Having an outdoor space for entertaining essentially extends your usable square footage and can be an enjoyable space for years to come. Before you start scrapbooking deck ideas or shopping for a new outdoor furniture, be sure that your dream deck is based on a realistic budget. Sticking to a realistic deck addition budget is an important part of being a smart homeowner. Managing scope creep (the temptation to remodel beyond your means), and accounting for the inevitable unplanned costs along the way, will enable you to get the deck you’ve always wanted while adding value to your home.
What the average wood deck addition costs
According to Remodeling Magazine, the national average cost of a mid-range, wood deck addition is $9,539 and has an average return on value of 87.4%. This wood deck addition includes a 16-by-20 foot deck using pressure-treated joists supported by 4×4 posts anchored to concrete piers. It includes a built-in bench and planter of the same decking material, includes stairs, a complete railing system.
Know which deck projects your neighbors have completed
Before getting started on designing your deck, be aware of the value of this type of project for your neighborhood. Start by downloading the free Porch Home Report for your home and listed homes near you. By understanding typical neighborhood remodeling projects and costs, you’ll have a better idea of how to keep you home competitive and maintain a realistic budget.
Make a list of your deck addition priorities
Your dream deck may include a custom kitchen, pergola and lots of furniture and furnishings. Be aware that the deck itself is one cost, the items you add to it are another. If your wish list includes a lot of furnishings, or you want a large deck with many stairs or entrances, your budget will need to accommodate this scope. Making a good list of wants versus needs will help with the design and budget process.
How to determine the deck addition budget
Are you building a wood deck to extend your square footage? Do you need to repair an old deck before selling your home? Before you begin your budgeting process, have a clear idea of why you need to construct, or remodel, your deck in the first place. If you plan on selling your home in the next few years, consider creating a deck that you can enjoy but is comparable to homes in your neighborhood for resale purposes. If you plan on living in your home for a very long time, and your deck addition project is primarily for your own enjoyment, be sure that your wish list is affordable. In determining how much money to spend on a addition, many experts recommend XYZ.
Breaking down the costs of a typical wood deck addition project
No matter how much money you have budgeted for your deck addition, your money will allocated to materials, labor and permitting costs, with labor costs accounting for the greatest percentage of the overall project costs. Typical decking materials will include wood decking boards and posts (will account for about 35% – 65% of material costs), concrete, posts, hangers, railing and other components. The type of wood chosen for the decking material can vary, so can the price. Treated pine wood can run about $7 – $10 per square foot; exotic woods like Ipe can be as much as $18 – $35 a square foot. When your material costs increase, so will your labor costs as more expensive materials may require a more skilled professional. Labor generally accounts for approximately 50% – 60% of the overall cost of the deck.
Be prepared for unexpected deck addition costs
Deck additions are usually a straightforward project however it’s a smart idea to set aside a portion of your budget for unexpected costs. If you are replacing an existing deck, your professional may encounter rotting or termite damage that needs to be addressed. When installing a new deck, your professional may encounter issues with the soil quality. Excavation machines may accidentally hit a pipe or cause other damage. It’s always a good idea to set aside about 10% of the budget for unexpected issues.
Adding a deck may increase your taxes and insurance
Depending upon your city, adding a deck may increase your property taxes as a deck is considered part of the permanent structure and adds value to the home. How it affects your property taxes will depend upon the size and scope of the deck, local zoning laws, and local tax laws. Before you begin your deck addition, have your deck design ready and consult your tax accountant. Your homeowner’s insurance may also increase with a wood deck addition. Your insurance agent will want a full inspection after construction to assess the deck and re-evaluate your homeowner’s insurance costs.
Your wood deck addition may require a permit
Your deck addition will need to adhere to your city or town’s local building codes and permits. Without the proper permitting your deck project may be stopped until the proper paperwork is obtained. Your professional decking contractor can file for and obtain any permits needed for your wood deck addition. Because permits vary from city to city, a qualified professional will know if your deck requires a permit or not. Some cities require permits for any deck constructed higher than 18” off the ground, other cities issue permits based on the overall square footage of the deck. The cost of the permit depends upon where you live and the scope of the project.
Managing your deck addition budget
Before hiring your decking contractor, you’ll want to discuss the overall budget as well as who will be managing the budget. Be sure to clarify material costs, subcontractors and understand the scope of the contract before signing. Remember that any changes or additions to the project, no matter how small, should always be done in writing.
Top image credit: Seley Painting