Stack the Deck in Your Favor When Adding a Pro Deck to Your Home

Nothing says summertime than grilling out or relaxing on an outdoor deck. Fewer home improvements add better aesthetic or financial value to your home than a stylish, stunning new deck.

Alas, like Rome, no smart, good home deck is planned and built in a day. And with Improvenet.com reporting the average cost of adding a new deck to the average American home ranging between $9,000 and $20,000, swinging and missing a home deck addition is a strikeout most families can’t afford.

When considering adding a professionally built deck onto your home, extensive research and planning is a must to ensure you choose the right materials, the best color and the ideal design for your deck and home.

As Peter Walsh of HGTV.com notes, the more elaborate the deck design and choice of materials, the higher the cost of the deck. The cost of a professionally built desk, according to HGTV.com., starts at $15 per square foot including materials. The cost of an elaborately built deck using costly hardwoods or composite materials can jump to $35 per square foot. It’s best to get several estimates and to discuss your ideas, wishes and vision of the deck with an architect or designer before committing to a contractor. This will allow you to get a wide range of prices and find the bid that best suits your budget.

Know what your house is worth and how long you plan to live in it before committing to adding a new deck. It does you and your family no good to overspend on an oversize deck that does not suit the scale of your home or meets your budget needs.

Once installed, the right deck can be a great boon for your home’s resale value. According to Hanley Wood’s Remodeling, a midrange wood deck that costs $10,350 will recoup about 70 percent of its value at resale on the national average.

Even in a down housing market, upgrading your home with a deck can mean more money in your pocket when you sell your home.

Know Your Expenses

Remember, research is essential in home deck additions. Here are potential added home expenses a new deck will bring to your home:

  1. Added Taxes: Inspections by your town’s building department during the construction process could lead to higher property taxes. A tax assessor will notify you of any increases in your property taxes after a visible inspection. Check with your local tax assessor’s office in the deck-planning stages for more information.
  2. Added Insurance Costs: Read the fine print on this one and make sure your new deck is covered by your homeowners’ insurance. Before beginning construction on your new deck, ask your contractor for a Certificate of Insurance so there is proof the workers on your deck are covered by contractor’s insurance, should a worker get injured on the job. On average, improvenet.com reports, the added insurance cost per year is a percentage per $1,000 of the amount you spend on the addition. This number can vary widely according to the area where you live, so check with your insurance agent for specifics.

Know Your Costs, Know Your Materials

The greatest price differential for decks will be determined by the materials you choose. While true hardwood is the most stylish option, it is also the costliest to maintain in the long term. Composite decks are made to look similar to wood but need hardly any maintenance and are extremely durable, making them the deck building block with the greatest staying power. Here are Improvenet.com’s breakdown of average composite deck installation costs for the USA’s most popular composite deck materials:

  • For polythylene-based composite decking, the average cost per square foot is $7.82.
  • For polypropylene-based decking, the average cost is $8.68 per square foot.
  • For solid polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based decking, the average cost per square foot is $9.48, though buying this material in hollow slats can reduce the cost to around $7.50 per square foot.

However, wood is the more head-turning and cost-effective deck option in the short term. Improvenet.com pegs the average cost at installing a wood deck at $5,000.

Be sure to know exactly what your material and installation costs are before you commit to any home deck addition. Because when it comes to stacking the deck for your deck’s long-term value, knowledge is king. And when built right, an outdoor deck can be a gemstone of an addition to your home.

“From a lifestyle perspective, there is excellent value in adding an outdoor living space,” Bob Milon, marketing director for the California Redwoods Association, told BobVila.com. “(In addition to) enhancing the quality and quantity of living space in your yard, you can build a deck knowing you’ll recoup, on average, 82 percent of the project’s cost when you sell your home.”

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