Ah, yes… the numbers!

In my neck of the country, decks can cost as little as $20 per sq. ft, and as much as several hundred dollars a ft, depending on what goes into them. (Most of our projects end up between $30 – $60 per sq. ft.) that’s a big range, isn’t it! This is where a deck design professional can assist- in helping to understand just what you expect of your new outdoor living area, and the tag-along costs.

But if you aren’t yet ready to talk to a professional just yet, take heart! There are a few things you can do on your own to get a feel for what to expect.

Glenn Mathewson suggests you think thru some of the “rooms” you would like to see included on your new deck, then measure the corresponding rooms in your house. Like your 400 sq. ft. dining area, maybe half of your 600 sq. ft. living room, and just the basics of your 500 sq. ft. kitchen? Well, you may be able to share some of the size (think of your first apartment’s kitchen/living room), but you will need some space for walkways, or “hallways” in the deck. So you may be looking at a deck that is 800 to 1,000 sq. ft. in size. It might be worth doing a little thinking and research to find out what that type of square footage is worth if it were a complete house, simply as a point of reference.

Now that you know the size, and you have some idea of what you want for features (remember, more stuff costs more), take a look at your house and neighborhood. Live in a gated community in a pricey zip code? Or maybe you live back a dirt lane at the end of an unpaved county road.

While a deck builder will most likely build whatever you want regardless of where you live, a seasoned deck designer will usually make recommendations in design and materials that reflect the area, and will complement the design and construction quality of your house. You rarely see a throw-away PT deck attached to a beautiful brick home. Your new deck will most likely cost between 5% and 30% of what your house is worth.

Again, this is all about you, and what you are looking for. Don’t let a deck builder bully you into allowing them to build a shrine to their ego- do your research and talk to professionals to find out who you are comfortable working with, just like you probably did when you bought your house!

With a basis of what you would like to accomplish, and some rough idea of what it could cost, you are ready to talk to a deck design professional to start the process of narrowing down the layout, features, materials, and options that will help define the outdoor living space you and your family will create memories with for years to come.

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About BreyerConstruct
Hi! I'm a deck designer that works with our small family-owned residential remodeling company. I've found that the industry of decks is growing quickly, and there are a TON of new products introduced each year, and many new rules to go along with them. Unfortunately, there are some poor quality products out there as well (not to mention unscrupulous builders!). I enjoy researching products- getting to know the manufactures and "cutting edge" innovation of this industry, and I have found that this passion for the Deck industry has allowed me to better serve our client's needs... which brings me personal satisfaction.

One Response to Ah, yes… the numbers!

  1. Line of the day:

    “a shrine to their ego”

    It’s very true. I’ve seen so many deck designs and images of actual decks with levels for the sake of having levels, no clear pathways or routes for people to walk, and areas of a deck that are too small to use for anything other than displaying deck boards.

    Even on a basic, rectangular deck, locating the stairs is extremely important. On nine out 10 decks we reskin, we move the staircase to someplace other than where the original builder haphazardly placed it.

    Good design is crucial in modern deck building and not something to be taken for granted.

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