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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Driveways, Pools & Outdoor Living > Composite Deck

Composite Deck Cost


How Much Does a Composite Deck Cost?

 
low costDo-it-yourself Installation (Somewhat Difficult): $3,200-$9,600 for 16'x20'average costPro Installation: $8,000-$22,400 for 16'x20'
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Most composite lumber is a mixture of recycled plastic (about 30%-50%) and wood fibers; it is advertised as a low-maintenance, long-lasting (typically with a 10-25 year warranty), splinter-free material that resists rot, insects and UV rays. Some composites look plastic while others have more of the appearance of wood.

Typical costs:

  • A composite deck can cost $25-$70 or more a square foot, or $8,000-$22,400 for 16'x20', depending on the brand, project complexity and whether construction is done by casual labor or a licensed contractor. Factors affecting total cost can include height; shape; number of levels; complexity of decking pattern; railing length and style; steps, stairways or landings; benches, lighting or other built-in features; and if an old deck needs to be demolished and hauled away.
  • CostHelper readers report paying $5,400-$42,000 for a composite deck, at roughly $28.13-$72.92 a square foot, with an average of $45.30. The 2013 Cost vs. Value survey by Hanley Woods Remodeling magazine[1] estimates average regional prices of $14,126-$16,811 for a 16'x20' composite deck with a simple linear pattern, railings, three steps, and a built-in bench and planter, installed by a licensed contractor (about $44.74-$52.54 a square foot).
  • Do-it-yourself installation is possible but can be time-consuming and somewhat difficult. Materials cost $10-$30 or more a square foot, depending on the brand and style, or $3,200-$9,600 for 16'x20'. CostHelper readers report spending $8,000-$11,500 on DIY materials for a composite deck, roughly $13.91-$28.57 a square foot, with an average of $19.34. DIYNetwork.com provides how-to instructions[2] , calling it a relatively hard project that takes several weekends to accomplish, with a cost range of $2,500-$6,000.
What should be included:
  • Composite materials are not biodegradable; all sawdust and shavings must be collected and disposed of properly. The Family Handyman magazine provides installation tips[3] .
  • Composite decking can be cold or hot on bare feet, depending on the weather; some brands can be slippery; mold and mildew may grow, especially in shady areas; and composites tend to sag and bend more than wood, and will eventually show signs of aging, including fading. About.com lists the pros and cons[4] .
Additional costs:
  • Building a deck often requires a permit (depending on local laws and the size and height of the structure). Most contractors will coordinate any permits and inspections, but the homeowner usually pays the fees, which can be nominal or pricey, based on location.
  • The permit process requires detailed plans and drawings, to show that the deck is structurally sound and meets or exceeds building codes. Many contractors include the cost of a plan in their bid. DecksUSA.com[5] sells a CD-ROM for $19.95 with more than 350 designs; DeckPlans.com[6] offers free plans online, listed by categories.
  • Depending on local regulations, after the project is complete the local tax assessor may calculate how much the property has increased in value; the exact amount of any tax increase varies significantly by location and the value of the addition.
  • Once the deck is completed, contact your homeowners' insurance company ; tell them how much it cost to build the new deck, and they will determine the cost to add the deck to the existing policy.
  • A deck should be cleaned annually ($0.25-$1.50 or more a square foot) and a wood deck might require sealing ($1-$5 a square foot) or staining ($0.50-$7 a square foot) every 1-2 years, depending on the type of wood and the deck's exposure to sunlight and weather.
Shopping for a composite deck:
  • Major composite decking manufacturers include Azek[7] , Fiberon[8] , Gossen[9] , MositureShield[10] , Premium Composites[11] , TimberTech[12] and Trex[13] .
  • A deck can be installed by a handyman (or do-it-yourselfer) with strong carpentry and design skills, a landscaping contractor, a general building contractor (who may sub it out to a specialist) or a decking contractor. Ask family, friends, neighbors or the staff at local hardware or home improvement centers for recommendations. For larger projects, search for local members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry[14] , and look for "deck contractor" listed among each company's specialties. Ask for and check references from satisfied customers; look for complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau[15] ; and confirm that the company is properly insured and licensed[16] .
  • Ask for a detailed explanation of the work to be done and the materials that will be used. If there is an existing deck, bids should include demolition and debris removal. HGTVremodels.com lists questions to ask a decking professional[17] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.remodeling.hw.net/remodeling-market-data/2013-cost-vs-value-report.aspx
  2.  www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-build-a-composite-deck/index.html
  3.  www.doityourself.com/stry/composite-decking-installation-tips#.UcDg5fmThQM
  4.  poolandpatio.about.com/od/buildingadec1/tp/Wood-And-Composite-Decking-Pros-And-Cons.htm
  5.  www.decksusa.com/ordercd.htm
  6.  deckplans.com/free-deck-plans
  7.  www.azek.com/azek-deck/
  8.  www.fiberondecking.com/products/decking
  9.  www.gossencorp.com/deck-and-porch.php
  10.  www.moistureshield.com/products/
  11.  www.premiumcomposites.com/decking
  12.  timbertech.com/products/decking-products-by-material.aspx
  13.  www.trex.com/plan/products/decking/index.htm
  14.  www.nari.org/search/address/
  15.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
  16.  www.contractors-license.org/
  17.  www.hgtvremodels.com/outdoors/hiring-a-decking-professional/index.html
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