By Lawrence Winterburn
Make a quick trip to any big-box store and you will find dozens of books with pretty pictures of decks. While these books provide a wealth of inspiration, they often don’t offer much in the way of practical advice, and might be directed at homeowners in different climates with different regulations and wildly different budgets.
The question becomes, ‘How do you replace your square deck with something truly inspired—and can you handle the job on your own?’ It all depends on your skill set and what you want your deck to look like. With the right knowledge and advice, you can end up with the deck of your dreams.
As with any backyard project, your first concern when installing a deck should always be budget. What do these beautiful magazine quality decks and patios actually cost? Only a professional deck builder will be able to give truly accurate estimates. If you are envisioning elaborate decorative work remember there are many deck builders who stick to simple projects with subtle details. If your plans are more complex, seek out a builder with experience in fine detailing.
Installed prices for interlocking patios start at about $15 per square foot and range upward depending on style. Stone patios typically range from about $35 to $75 per square foot, depending on the type of stone and the design.
Wood decks start at about $20 to 30 per square foot for pressure-treated lumber, $30 to $50 for red cedar and roughly $50 or more for hardwood. Again, keep in mind that extra features, such as tempered glass rails, decorative detailing, curves, pergolas, canopies, internal roofing systems and pre-finishing can significantly increase the installation price.
Lawrence Winterburn is the founder of www.GardenStructure.com and has been a carpenter, contractor and woodwork designer for more than 20 years. His designs and photography have been seen in many magazines, newspapers and TV shows across North America.
This is part 1 of 4 of our series: Building Better Decks