The Cost Of Building A Deck: Best Home Addition Ever!

There are three must-have amenities when I buy a home. A hot tub, a deck, and Toto Washlets (bidet). With work-from-home here to stay for millions, having both a hot tub and a deck can dramatically improve your quality of living. And once you go electric bidet, you will never go back.

If you find a home that has all three things, it will likely trade at a premium. The idea is to create a spa-like atmosphere at home so you feel more relaxed. The happier you are at home, the higher your productivity and the better the family life.

If the home you're eyeing doesn't have these three amenities, make sure there's enough space to install a hot tub and build a deck. For the Toto Washlets, you need an electrical outlet nearby the toilet. Forward-thinking remodelers will install the electrical outlet near the base of the wall behind the toilet.

Installing A Hot Tub Was The Best Decision Ever

Back in 2016, I added a hot tub to my old house, which is now a rental. I had been writing from home since 2012 and wanted a place to relax and think up all sorts of new ideas.

It wasn't as easy as buying a hot tub and just plopping it in my backyard. I had to build a level cement platform and create a new wiring connection to the sub-panel. The total cost was about $15,000 and it has been worth every penny!

The hot tub is my sanctuary. So many posts have arisen during a long soak. My hot tub has also been a place where I've been regularly taking my boy to play since the pandemic started. We regularly hang out for one or two hours in the hot tub.

If you play sports or live in an area where temperatures get below 60 degrees, your hot tub will turn into one of your best friends.

Building A Deck Is A Terrific Home Addition

If you're asking yourself whether you should build a deck, the answer is absolutely. The benefits are both lifestyle and financial.

Some decks can be built with an easy-to-get over-the-counter permit. While other decks might require notifying your neighbors of your plans to build a deck and waiting for several months before getting a response.

You can also build your deck without a permit, especially if you or someone you know has the know-how. If the deck is low to the ground, building a deck without a permit is probably not a big deal. But for decks that require foundation work, are high up, and require bolting to the house, I highly recommend building a deck with permits. Safety first!

One of the reasons why my interest in a real estate FOMO forever home began to fade was because it didn't have a deck off the main bedroom or any bedroom.

One of my favorite things to do when I wake up in the morning is to step onto my deck and inhale the crisp morning air. It helps me wake up and feel more alive. Then on warm afternoons, I like to sit on the deck and read with a nice beverage in hand.

Here are my thoughts on why you should build a deck if you can. I built a deck back in 2015 after writing about the importance of taking some profits to pay for a better life. Then I built another deck again in 2022.

Building a deck is the best home addition

Reasons Why You Should Build A Deck

1) Fresh air and direct sunshine. There's nothing better than inhaling fresh air and feeling the sunshine on your face. You can even get naked and tan your whole body.

2) Sunlight is good for your mood. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of major depression with seasonal pattern.

3) Sunlight is good for your bones. Exposure to the ultraviolet-B radiation in the sun’s rays causes a person’s skin to create vitamin D. The vitamin D made thanks to the sun plays a big role in bone health. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to rickets in children and bone-wasting diseases like osteoporosis and osteomalacia.

4) Another area to get away. On a pleasant day, your deck acts as another room where you can read, work on your laptop, take phone calls, or nap. The deck expands the size of your house. If your house is not very big, a deck becomes even more valuable. Work-from-home parents with young children are looking for better floor plans.

5) Indoor / outdoor living. Indoor / outdoor living is famous in places like Hawaii, where the weather is wonderful. If you ever try to rent an apartment in Manhattan, apartments with decks command huge premiums. Same thing if you were to buy. Nobody wants to get cooped up inside all day.

6) A place to have a meal or a glass of wine. Being able to eat and drink al fresco is wonderful on a pleasant day. I often go onto my deck during sunset with a beverage in hand.

7) A place to have a smoke of your choice without contaminating the inside of the house. If you smoke, then having a deck is very desirable.

8) To take advantage of your wonderful view. If you're lucky enough to have a great view, having a deck will help accentuate that view and bring you closer to nature.

9) To boost the value of your property. With the demand for outdoor living rising, building a deck will most certainly boost the value of your home if you rent it out or sell it.

A beautiful deck overlooking a waterfall
Check out this amazing deck overlooking a natural waterfall by reader Xrayvsn!

The Cost To Build A Deck With Permits

Back in 2015, I built a 300 square foot deck with permits for about $25,000. I used redwood and Trex composite material so the deck would last longer. In 2022, I built another deck. A smaller one that is only nine feet wide by eight feet long off my dining room.

I chose 72 square feet because it is large enough to have up to six people comfortably standing around. It is also large enough to seat a round table of four or five people. I didn't want to go much larger because it would take away some useable space from my backyard and block too much light from the room below.

Unfortunately, the cost to build a deck has gone up since 2015 due to inflation.

Here are the costs to build a deck with permits in 2022 in SF:

  • $2,850 for permit and structural engineer. The permit cost about $1,200. The rest was to the structural engineer to draw up the design. Interestingly, my contractor got the permit immediately approved. We did not have to provide public notice for three months before proceeding.
  • $2,500 for Milgard French door to replace the fogged out window.
  • $2,596 for the lumber, metal parts, cement, and other deck footing materials.
  • $3,500 for Trex deck material. The deck is about 11 feet high. So the workers had to build a makeshift scaffolding to get up there.
  • $8,500 for labor. Labor included breaking the concrete in my backyard and going down two feet deep for the posts and cement. The workers also had to blow open my dining room wall, remove my old failed window, install the French door, mud, and sand the interior, chicken wire and stucco the exterior. Of course, they also had to build the deck.
  • $500 for dumping of trash. Had to haul away a lot of old wood material and trash given they opened and closed the walls.

The total cost of building the deck was about $16,000.

If you include the cost of the French door and labor required to open the wall, remove the old window, install the French door, and patch and paint the interior and exterior, the total cost to build the deck was about $21,000.

Here's a post on how much to spend remodeling your house for maximum profit. You don't want to spend to much on remodeling, otherwise, you will lose lots of money. You also don't want to remodel with too eclectic a taste.

Had To Replace My Window Anyway

My existing dining room window had fogged up and failed. It was over 40 years old and you could only see clearly through 25% of the window. Hence, I needed to replace the window anyway.

building a deck and replacing old window

So instead of replacing it with another window, I decided to replace it with a French door that led out to a deck. I'm glad I did because the wood framing had also experienced some rot. Ah, the joy of buying a fixer-upper. But I expected these problems before making an offer in early 2019.

If you have an old window that needs replacing, if possible replace it with a glass door and build a deck. If your home has a view, even more reason to build a deck. Just make sure the structural support is there.

Cost to build a deck
Cost to build a deck
The cost to build a deck

The Return On Your Deck Investment

Building a deck is a good investment for your mental health and your money. At the very least, you will likely recoup 100% of the cost to build your deck. However, with more people working from home and demanding indoor / outdoor living, I think you will be able to double or triple your deck investment.

For example, I would gladly have paid $35,000 – $50,000 more for my home if it had a rear-facing deck. Yet, it only cost $16,000 – $21,000 to build. Buying a home with a deck also saves me the pain and time to build a deck.

If you build a deck for your rental property, you may be able to command higher rental income or at least, attract more high quality tenants to choose from. I think my deck will be able to command $2,000 more a year in rental income, which would mean a 10% annual return on investment.

The demand for homes with decks is only going to rise over the coming years. If you can't buy a home with a deck, make sure building one is a possibility. Your lifestyle and your wallet will thank you.

Reader Questions And More

Readers, anybody else build a deck? What other must-have amenities are there for homes nowadays? If you're in decumulation mode, one of the best ways to spend money is to “trade up in place” by expanding your home.

Pick up a copy of my new book, Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom. It not only will help you build more wealth, it will help you tackle some of life's biggest dilemmas with confidence.

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43 thoughts on “The Cost Of Building A Deck: Best Home Addition Ever!”

  1. Live in central NC, so it gets hot in summer. Had a deck and replaced with screened porch in 2009. Had to deep clean yearly from spring pollen, etc. Replaced screen with EZE Breeze windows in Oct 2019–just before COVID hit. Became an all-season room and “lived” out there during the lockdowns. Best investment ever!

  2. We went with a screened porch 15 years ago to avoid the bugs. And, while I do love the sun, to keep cooler in the summer and still be outside was another nice feature of the porch. We have loved every minute of it. It’s our “cabin” with no water view or quiet of the country, but it has a great commute with very little upkeep.

    Porch, deck, patio… I agree, they are great additions to a home.

  3. Gennadiy from Belarus

    In 2021 in Richmond, VA 320 foot/sq deck was refaced with Trex composite.
    $15 000.
    But it was done during weekends.
    Totals on the jobs were $ 62 000

      1. Gennadiy from Belarus


        Two bathrooms and 4 rooms. 44 000
        The deck and paint job was separate.15 000+3 000.
        Total cost of remodeling was 62 000.

  4. Ok, asking for a friend, what is it with the bidet stuff? How could it possibly be “life changing’? Seems kind of wimpy to me. I’m in the market for a new toilet and have been looking at the Toto pressure flush, but not the bidet. Please enlighten me.

  5. Have made sure all my homes had hot tubs and decks

    Now in Phoenix, we also added a large patio pergola cover over most of the deck. All great investments as you say!!

  6. I had my buddy who is a GC build a deck years ago for about $2500. Just called to have utilities marked, and done in a day. Covered up an old cement patio block. It runs the length of the back of our townhome and accessible from both the kitchen and dining areas. One of the best things I ever did.

  7. Sam, awesome post, thank you! As it turns out, I’m about to start on a deck project in SF as well. Any recommendations for a structural engineer? Thanks!

  8. Totally off topic, but have you seen the WSJ article about the lengths people are going to buy IBonds? I bought some when your post originally ran (thanks btw!) my wife did the same. It wasn’t a delightful process, but it wasn’t the “cruel, unusual” experience described in the article. Do you there’s some funny stuff going on here to prevent people from buying? Or is it really hard for some people? (Or no opinion whatsoever… anyway thanks for writing)

    1. I saw that article and had the same experience you had. However, my father has had all of the issues described in that article when trying to buy some for my mother. He has no issue purchasing his in December and January. Tried to buy her’s in March using the same bank account he had previously used and for her they say everything has to be verified. He has had zero help trying to go through customer service and ultimately gave up.

  9. Hi Sam –

    I am 100% with you on the deck. I live in the woods in SE Pennsylvania and we spend countless hours out there for 3/4 of the year. It was especially valuable in the pandemic by putting a projector and screen for movies in the summer while we couldn’t go anywhere.

    Being very secluded, the other “investment” that really paid off recently is paving our 1/4 mile driveway. We had a gravel driveway for the first 8 years living in our house (very common in our area) but decided to spend the money and hopefully make it a bit easier to keep clear in the winter and a smoother ride in other seasons. Well, it has been even better than we have imagined. My 6 and 2 year old kids spend every evening/weekend riding their bikes/ vehicles on it, we can now play basketball on it, it has been very easy to keep clear in the winter and makes the house look twice as good. My wife and I only wish we had done it years ago. I’d say any house spending that increases your enjoyment/satisfaction while at home will pay off. Now we just have to figure out the next project…
    Thanks again for the great post

  10. Two follow up questions. What is the price difference of using concrete vs wood vs trex for a deck? I heard lumber prices are going down, but I would prefer concreate for longevity and also preference. Im redoing my backyard deck now.

    2nd question, I really want a hot tub as well but I am the wrong guy for daily/weekly maintenance. one reason I chose not to get a pool, although I know you can hire a poolguy. Is there the same upkeep with a hottub? Is this a DIY? or do you need to hire someone and what is that cost,frequency?

  11. Relaxing/personal/physical and mental health places in my home:

    1. 10×10 trex balcony off the MBR – backs to the woods and beautiful in the fall colors and winter snow.
    2. Home gym in the basement with free weights, rack and heavy bag.
    3. Garage with foosball table and kids basketball electronic game.

  12. Having your own oasis in your backyard is seriously awesome. Build out a deck. Furnish it and make it feel cozy. Add greens. Add privacy shrubs around the property line for more privacy. Add tall shrubs around the seating areas on the deck and off it to create a more private atmosphere. Add string lights to up the ambiance.

    If it wasn’t for dang mosquitos I would be spending most of my time on my deck.

    1. Hah! I hear you on bugs. Thankfully, no mosquitos here in the mountains of SF. But I’ve seen those great electronic magnet bug catchers you could buy and put on your deck.

      But yes, right now it’s all about creating an oasis at home.

    2. Post FI Doc

      A few years ago we had a 200 square ft. deck built with a screened in porch. No bugs. All for $15k, in Wisconsin. It was an excellent decision.

    3. gabriella fettucini

      i use mosquito netting over an umbrella – designed to fit the umbrella so that, when open, the netting surrounds the 9-10 feet of space under the umbrella. it’s been perfect for over the outdoor day bed i have out back. my little oasis, albeit a bit overgrown and now sadly, with a deteriorating 13 yo deck (used Behr Deck Over and it peeled off exposing the wood and causing many decayed boards after 2 years, class action lawsuits abound, lol). were i to do it over, or find someone cheap to come “repair” the damage, i would be outside every single day. i still sit out often, but not for as long b/c the deck is so unattractive. prolly would be wise to do before i go to sell (in 4-6 years).

      on another note, one of my friends now has 2 bidets and literally called them life changing as well. lol.

  13. When I first bought my property I had a massive deck on the back of my house that was about 15 ft above the ground and went from a french door off my master bedroom and around the back of my house connecting to an atrium near the kitchen (2 entry points).

    I added a massive amount of multi level decking in 2007 to overlook the 2 natural waterfalls I have in my backyard. I used Trexx composite wood for the floor and steps because I knew it would save me a lot of time and money in the future for maintenance etc. That project cost me $50k. About 5 years ago I spent another $20k to add a 3rd level of decking so that guests could go all the way down to the base of the 50 ft waterfall (previous deck stopped about 20 feet from base at an overlook point).

    The original deck on side of home needed painting as well as painting the rails and posts of my waterfall decks this year (to give you an idea of how much decking it is, that project cost me $17k for a professional painter and took 6 days).

    Would not trade it for anything because it truly does open up access to the outdoors and always wows any visitors I may have.

    1. Sounds amazing doc! I’ve got Trexx too, so hopefully it will last longer. I’ve been replacing various rotten wood boards in my existing house I bought in 2020. Maybe you can send me a pic of this deck over e-mail. It really does sound awesome.

      1. Hey Sam. Just sent you an email with a bunch of photos of all of my decks. Let me know what you think. And not sure if you are capable of doing it in the comment section but you have my permission to share the photos with the rest of your readers. Have a great one. XRV

  14. I’m building a small, ground level deck out front and found a kit that’s actually a dock I’m going to try. The aluminum frame is anodized clear so I’m splurging to anodize it black instead.
    Cost is looking like it’ll be 10x less than the quote I got to have a standard wood deck built.

  15. This is not a criticism. Our pediatrician told me I was letting my young grandchildren stay in the water too long. The hot water makes their heart rate increase and their blood pressure go up. Again, this is not a criticism. Now I limit their time to ten minutes at a time.

  16. Almond Butter

    Congrats! A quick note:

    Saunas and hot tubs increase your life span, Sam. I’m religious about it. The data is also there to support it. It’s also a major mood enhancer. It’s called hyperthermic conditioning. Here’s a clip you can watch. It’s worth your time

    In a Finnish longitudinal study, they found men that used the Sauna at least 4 times a week, had a 40% reduction in all-cause mortalities: cancer, dementia, heart disease, etc.

    When I can’t get to a hot tub, steam room, or sauna, I find a hot yoga class. I feel like a proper Bikram yoga class is better than them all.

  17. Nice job on your deck project! I’m a big fan of decks myself too. I have one at my home and my kids play on it constantly. We all get fresh air and I don’t have to worry about them running into the street, getting into our neighbors’ yards, or worrying about off-leash dogs running onto our property. Plus on sunny days we fill up the kiddie pools and they have a total blast.

    Enclosed decks are also fantastic in areas that have big seasonal weather swings. My mom lives on the east coast and enclosed her deck a couple decades ago and says it was one of the best investments she put into her home. She can open up all the sliding windows on it for fresh air whenever she wants and still enjoy the extra square footage when it’s raining or snowing. It’s been a great added space for her pets and many plants too.

  18. My insane six-figure deck build is almost complete. We are at the mythical 95% point. The total cost has stunned us. The sheer amount of wood for structure and composite for the decking is a killer. Price escalation timing could not have been worse. But you press on because – who knows if you will ever get a good team of people to do it if you defer?

    It replaces a very large wraparound deck with a similar footprint but of course we made sure to improve the design with a number of very impactful changes and additions.

    This one will outlast us. It’s a big upgrade to the overall look and feel of our valuable house and its grounds, so it fits financially in the grand scheme of things. This is our only property now so we are ok enhancing it where it makes sense.

    Totally worth it, but very long process and painful.

    1. Sounds like a massive one! You got to press on. Once it’s done, you will feel so happy you redid your deck.

      If the weather was warmer here in SF and where I live facing the ocean, I would have built another massive deck. Alas, it’s not, hence I went for the best bang for the buck.

  19. I have a big backyard with a decent view of the creek behind my house. The back of my house faces east, so it gets the major of daylight sun and all the sunsets (obviously). Right now, I have a DIY wood step down to an 8’x15′ cement slab. I would like to build a deck with an eating/relaxing area and a hot tub off to the side.

    The raised deck would be more expensive, require more maintenance, and probably have little furries under it in no time. The concrete deck requires going up and down the 4 steps every time you walk in our out of the house.

    Would you recommend a raised wood deck, level with the door, with steps off to each side; or would you recommend expanding the concrete slab down at yard level?

    1. I thought sunsets are only visible facing west? Perhaps I’m just in my bubble b/c I see sunsets sinking into the ocean while facing west toward the Pacific.

      Sounds like you want to go the concrete route. If it still has a view, that’s pretty easy and low maintenance.

      Compare the cost difference.

      The idea of having a SEEMLESS transition from house to deck, or just an inch drop down or whatever, is very valuable IMO. You’re basically kind of increasing the square footage of the house.

      But 4 steps isn’t a lot at all. Either way you’ll be good.

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