How to Estimate the Cost of a Deck

Estimating the cost of a deck is an important first step in planning out a deck project. Before you can buy any materials, or even decide if you can afford a deck, you need to know how much it will cost. Calculating the cost of a deck is an easy task that anyone can do, provided they take the time to be thorough and do a bit of research.


1. Determine the size and scope of the deck that you want to build. A large deck that has multiple levels will obviously cost more than a simple 12 x 12 foot square deck. Take the time to think about your needs and budget when deciding how far you want to go with the construction of your deck.

2. Calculate the total area of your deck (in square feet). To come up with this calculation, you’ll need to multiply the length of your deck by the width. So if your planned deck is approximately 15 feet long and 20 feet wide, the total area would be 300 square feet (20 x 15).

3. Visit your local home and garden store and research the cost of your building materials, starting with lumber. You should use treated lumber to build the deck, and this costs slightly more than regular lumber. Also, if you’re planning to use composite (non-wood) decking that can increase the cost even more.

4. Multiply the cost per square foot of the lumber by the total square foot measurement of the deck. Using the above example, if the lumber costs .75 cents per square foot, then the base cost of your lumber would be $225.

5. Multiple the base cost of the lumber by 2 in order to get total cost including the other materials. Again, using the example above, your total material cost would be $450 (225 x 2).


In order to calculate labor, a good rule of thumb is to take the material cost and double it. Using the example above, labor cost would be $900 (450 x 2), bringing the total cost of the deck to approximately $1350 (900 + 450).

Some decking contractors will charge slightly more, and some will charge less. Most contractors give free estimates, so it’s never a bad idea to have a professional come out and estimate your costs for you. This way, you’ll have a professional calculating the costs and you’ll have a direct quote explaining what it would cost them to complete the project.

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