hammer nails and ruler on deck

5 Tips for Building a Deck on a Budget

A deck is a wonderful addition to a home, adding both value and an outdoor space for you to enjoy. However, contractors often charge very high amounts for their work. Many homeowners decide to instead build their own deck, but their budgets can feel limiting. Here are some tips for building a deck on a budget.

Choose your design carefully. 

The first step in building a deck is designing how you will build it. A design that tries to do too much is the first thing you can trim to reduce the cost of your deck. For instance, you need to factor in the costs of adding doorways or concrete. Houses that were not designed to have a deck may require both of those additions. Also, be aware of the size you have planned out your deck to be. Larger decks will be much more expensive due to material costs.

Be proactive about maintenance.

A major cost of your deck will be the maintenance. Maintenance can cost a lot over time if you build your deck improperly. Be aware of the climate in your area, materials being negatively affected by the climate is an easy problem to avoid. For example, if you have high humidity levels then you should plan on materials that resist mold. Additionally, ensure that you treat any metal piece with rust-resistant treatments so you will not have to worry about that later on.

Build in the off-season.

For decks, the busiest season for construction is usually right in the beginning of spring. Contractors during this time will be busier, which means they won’t need to offer competitive pricing, and will purchase a lot of the materials that are available. Since supply is lower, you may have a hard time finding the materials you need or finding a good deal on those materials. Instead, consider building your deck in the fall and enjoying it next spring when it warms up. 

Use quality materials.

Wood and composite materials will all have different values, but long term cost will need to be considered as well. For instance, pressure treated wood will be the cheapest material to purchase but it also has the shortest lifespan and highest maintenance cost. 

Meanwhile, plastics have a much higher initial cost but drastically lower long-term maintenance costs. Composite materials often prove to be the middle of the road in cost, balancing maintenance and initial cost fairly well. Remember to factor screws, nails, fasteners, and other such tools you will need to build your deck into your budget.

Avoid mistakes.

Be very careful while building your deck. It is often said, “measure twice, cut once.” This saying holds true when building your own deck. Cutting or fastening your work incorrectly can quickly lead to needing to purchase additional materials in order to try again. Double check your work before doing something that can’t be taken back, it will save you money in the end.

Last Updated: April 13, 2016