Imagine spending fragrant spring afternoons, balmy summer days and crisp fall evenings outside on your deck – grilling, entertaining or simply unwinding in peace from your day. This scenario appeals to many homeowners, making deck construction a popular design project. The cost of a deck depends largely on the materials used, hours of labor and the size and scope of your plans.

Regardless of your situation, building a deck is an undertaking best left to a licensed contractor who should possess the training necessary to select the appropriate materials and create a design suitable for the dimensions of your property.When making decisions about what kind of materials to use for your deck construction, it is important to discuss with your contractor how much time you are willing to spend preserving the deck’s beauty and durability, as well as the ways in which you intend to use your deck.

Composite decking requires little maintenance and is durable – resistant to both splintering and rotting. Bear in mind, however, that this material is more expensive than natural wood at $35 per square foot and is not recommended if you plan to use a fire pit or outdoor grill on your deck, as it can burn hotter than wood.

There is a large variety of natural woods available, each with their own benefits and drawbacks, for deck materials. It is important to note that while prices for natural wood are lower than composites – ranging from $3 to $22 depending on the species – it does require more weatherproofing and staining to maintain its appearance. On the other hand, most species of wood are naturally fire resistant and will endure for decades.

Materials are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to calculating the cost of deck construction. Hours of labor, framing the structure, grading or leveling the land and adding features like rails and stairs are additional details that a skilled contractor will likely factor into the budget. By carefully taking into account all of these factors, you and your contractor can create a deck you will enjoy for many years.