building a deck? Cost? time?


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Old 04-15-08, 12:51 PM
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building a deck? Cost? time?

My husband and I have a 3 foot retaining wall right off of our back door in our house and would like to build a deck over it.

We measured last night and it's going to be about 380 sq ft at the largest.

We were hoping to do a composite instead of real wood but it looks as though that may be out of our budget.

We have about $3k set aside for this project. Is the completely out of our league?

Any tips? We are first timers at this!
 
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Old 04-15-08, 04:17 PM
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Welcome to the wonderful world of DIY....

Depending on your skill set - and ambition... $3K is plenty of $$ for a nice deck of that size. I would suggest picking up a DIY book on building decks/patios at your local box store (HD/LOW). It will blow $17 of your budget - but will guide you step by step through the process. If you take it on - you'll have a certain pride in the finished product - will have saved a bundle on construction costs - and will have some nifty new tools in your storage room for the next project.
 
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Old 04-16-08, 07:40 AM
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My first deck was an 8' x 32' in the front of my house. This forum, along with the "Decks, Patios and Porches" book from Home Depot ($20) got me through it. Did I do it perfect? Nope. But I passed all the building department inspections with flying colors, and it does look great. I learned plenty along the way, and am proud of the way it came out.

BTW, materials for my deck cost around $1800. I spent another $100 renting a power auger to dig my post holes. Labor of course was nearly free, I did have to buy beer for me and my friend who helped. I figure I saved over $1000.
 
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Old 04-16-08, 02:54 PM
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Kims1977,

380 sq. ft. of deck and you want to do it on a $3k budget?? Good luck!!

You mentioned a 3 ft. high retaining wall that you want to build it over. That tells me the deck will be more than 3 ft. above grade.

Check with your local bldg. dept., but that height will probably trigger a couple of things -- the need for a bldg. permit, and railing.

Permit's not that big of a thing. Probably add about $1/sq. ft. to the cost of the deck.

The railing, on the other hand, will cost about as much as the deck itself.

At the size and budget you've mentioned, you're allowing a little under $8/sq.ft. for the deck. Use cheap enough mat'l and it can be done for that. But it's not anything I'ld build or want in my backyard. The material cost for the average deck that I build is closer to $12/sq.ft., and that doesn't include the railing.
 
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Old 04-16-08, 02:59 PM
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We do have a building book - and have been thinking about it for a while...but with spring moving in we'd really like to do it now.

We looked into pricing last night and it looks like for $3k we would have to do wood - for composite more like $4500.

Thanks for your input. We are very new to this and have no idea what to expect. With our budget it looks like we may be getting a smaller deck!

And Lefty, you're right. We do have to have a railing....which when priced last night was just barely below the cost of the deck material itself.
 
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Old 04-16-08, 03:15 PM
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Kims1977,

A composite adding $1500 to the cost will depend on what you're looking at for wood, and what brand of composite you're looking at, and that's all going to depend on where you live and what's available.

Around here (No CA), the 'wood' would have to be redwood. That starts at about $2/ft. for a 2X6 and goes up depending on the grade. Composites and other man-made deckings that are available run from about $2.25 to $3.25/ft. (One local lumberyard has Tamko's Elements on sale right now for about $1.75/ft. -- cheaper than redwood!)

Shop around.
 
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Old 04-23-08, 03:56 PM
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Well we have toned down the sq. footage to 290 - and doing composite is still going to cost us about $4200-4500 with railing. Which seems ok. That price is using Trex. We are also looking at something called Viranda, which as I understand is a step below Trex. We like the look of Trex better so we are hoping to do that. Hopefully this project can be done in a month or so!

Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
 
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Old 04-23-08, 07:01 PM
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Good luck to you...you can post pictures of your progress and if you have additional questions, I'm sure we can help.

Connie
 
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Old 04-23-08, 09:43 PM
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Moderators please delete if necessary. I am not sure if we can use names or not but Black and Decker has an excellent book on deck building. I helps you calculate load and really was easy to follow. we built 14 X 47 foot 3 ft above grade with composite and you really dont want to know what it cost but it is beautiful and should survive us. If you build with wood surface with the plan of changing to composite in the future keep in mind your joist spacing may need to be closer. We are going to resurface a dock but will be adding more joists and beams as composite is more flexible and needs more support.
 
 

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