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

Hardwood Deck Cost


How Much Does a Hardwood Deck Cost?

 
low costPer Square Foot: $40-$80+average cost16'x20' Deck: $12,800-$25,600+
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Hardwood describes woods from broad-leaved or covered-seed-producing trees. Common hardwoods used in residential decks include mahogany and ipe (pronounced ee-pay; also called Brazilian walnut, ironwood or Pau Lope). Hardwoods are typically considered more beautiful and more durable than softwoods, but are also more expensive.

Typical costs:

  • Hiring someone to construct a hardwood deck can cost $40-$80 or more a square foot ($12,800-$25,600 for a 16'x20' deck), depending on the type of hardwood, the complexity of the project, and whether construction is done by casual labor or a licensed contractor with insurance coverage and all proper permits.
  • CostHelper readers report paying $19,750-$40,650 to have a mahogany or ipe deck constructed, at $45.51-$53.49 a square foot, with an average cost of $50.59 a square foot.
  • Factors affecting the total cost include the height (elevation) of the deck; if an old deck needs to be demolished and hauled away; if new footings/supports are needed; the number of levels in the deck; and the complexity of the project.
  • Because of the high cost of the lumber and the difficulty of working with heavy, dense wood, building a hardwood deck on a house is not a common do-it-yourself project.
What should be included:
  • Often a hardwood deck is supported by an understructure of pressure-treated wood, while the decking, railings and other visible features are made of hardwood. BobVila.com provides a video demonstration of building a mahogany deck[1] . A properly installed and well-maintained mahogany deck can last 30-40 years or more, depending on the specific species of mahogany.
  • Relatively new on the US lumber market but becoming increasingly available and popular, ipe wood is so dense it doesn't float in water, and holes for screws or fasteners must be pre-drilled.
Additional costs:
  • Depending on local regulations and the size and height of the structure, adding a deck often requires a building permit. Most contractors will coordinate any permits and inspections, but the homeowner is usually responsible for paying the fees, which can be nominal or pricey, depending on local regulations.
  • Depending on local regulations, after the project is complete the local tax assessor may determine 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 the 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.
Shopping for a hardwood deck:
  • Costs will vary over time. Lumber prices can change daily, and overall they hit an eight-year high[2] in spring 2013.
  • Before buying lumber, check that the wood has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council[3] , a nonprofit organization that identifies lumber that has been legally and sustainably harvested.
  • A hardwood deck can be installed by 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[4] , 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[5] ; and confirm that the company is properly insured and licensed[6] .
  • Ask for a detailed explanation of the work to be done and the materials that will be used. If there is an existing deck, make sure the bid includes demolition and debris removal. HGTVremodels.com lists questions to ask a decking professional[7] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.bobvila.com/sections/tv-shows/projects/14-victorian-restoration/episodes/173-work-o...
  2.  money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?post=691b3718-a10f-453c-bfd6-41702b2ba853
  3.  us.fsc.org/
  4.  www.nari.org/search/address/
  5.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
  6.  www.contractors-license.org/
  7.  www.hgtvremodels.com/outdoors/hiring-a-decking-professional/index.html
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