Is it Cheaper to Build Your Own Deck?

Have you been thinking about building a deck or having some build it for you?

If you are hoping to save some money, it is a good idea to build it yourself.

You will probably find that it is a lot cheaper that way.

But if the very thought of building something like this on your own has you feeling nervous, we want to reassure you. Not only is it possible to get the project done without a professional's help, but you'll be happy to save some money in the process. Let's take a look at what you might expect to spend when you take on this task yourself versus hiring a professional to do it for you.

How Much is it to Build a Deck? 

The amount of money any new structure will cost is completely dependent upon whether or not you build it yourself. Let's take a look at the most basic cost you will have associated with it - the cost of lumber. 

When you construct a basic deck with the least expensive lumber on the market, you will probably pay between $8-10 for every square foot of area if you build it yourself. But, if you hire someone to build it, you could end up paying as much as $25 per square foot. That is correct - hiring a pro can double or even triple your costs, in some cases.

Better Homes & Gardens worked out some cost scenarios that we thought were actually quiet interesting. This it what they estimated for a DIY deck vs. a professionally built one: 

  • For an 8x8-foot raised deck, you may be able to build it out of treated lumber for about $1,600 for materials. But if you were to have a contractor build it for you, you will probably pay between $3,200 and $4,800.
  • For a 12x16-foot raised deck with stairs, it will probably cost about $2,500 in materials. But if you hire someone to construct it for you, you are going to pay $5,000-$7,500. With that amount of money, you could easily build one that measured in at 18x20 feet if you were to build it on your own.
  • Finally, if you want to construct a large, 16x16-foot raised deck, it will cost you between $4,500 and $5,500 if you choose to build it yourself. But a contractor could charge you as much as $10,000 to $15,000 for that size.

Looking at the savings is pretty impressive, and if you are like most people, doing this project yourself is starting to look pretty attractive. But how do you know you will be able to do it? That is a great question.

Your Options for Building a Deck

If you have never really built anything on your own before, it makes sense that you might be nervous about building your own deck. But there really is no reason for you to be scared or hesitant. There are a few different options you have available to you before you get started on your projects.

Start with a self-install kit

Deck kits are a relatively new concept that a lot of people like. When you purchase one of these kits, you are getting pre-cut, pre-fabricated building materials. You may or may not get other supplies, such as screws and nails. It all depends on that the company includes, so this is definitely something you will want to pay close attention to. 

Companies that sell these types of kits should tell you everything you need to have on had before you start building. This includes how many people you should have helping you.

At first glance, a kit may sound like the perfect option. But they can actually have a lot of drawbacks, such as:

  • If you are hoping to save money on your project, you might want to stay away from the kit option. Some of them can be quite pricey, depending on what type of structure you are building. 
  • The kit may not contain everything you need to get the job done. This could result in you needing to pay even more. 
  • If treated lumber is what you were hoping to use, your kit might disappoint you. Many of them come with composite materials, which have a lot of issues on their own.
  • The instructions you receive with the kit could be extremely difficult to understand. You may end up needing a materials, which have a lot of issues on their own. 
  • The instructions you receive with the kit could be extremely difficult to understand. You may end up needing a professional's help anyway. 
  • It may be difficult to build the type of deck you want. For example, if you would like to add one as an entertaining space after you construct a shed. In such case a kit might not allow you to do that.

Start With a Professionally Written Deck Plan

Did you know that you can easily find deck plans to help you construct the perfect one to meet your needs:

  • Help you understand whether you will need a permit before you begin building. 
  • Provide all of the information you will need regarding materials and tools. 
  • Spell out each step of the building process carefully so that they are easy to understand.
  • Have exact measurements because they are written by actual contractors. 
  • Make it easy for anyone to build; even if they never have before.

The right plans will provide you with instructions for building everything from the foundation to any decorative elements it will have. There are plans for decks of multiple sizes and styles. You should be able to easily find the one that will work to fit your needs.

When your project is finished, you'll have a completed a structure that you can be proud of, and possible one that you never thought you could do on your own.

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