A deck on a home has many advantages and can add value to a home in so many ways! The traditional material used for decking is wood, but this material is high maintenance. Wood is beautiful as a decking material but needs constant care, which often puts homeowners off from making the decision to add a deck to their home. The alternative to wood is using composite material for decking. It has many advantages over wood and may allow you to improve your home with a low maintenance deck.
Replacing the wood on your deck with composite material will cost you between $15 to $25 per square foot. There may be other factors that can add to the replacement cost, such as the type of composite you choose, the shape of the deck, the amount of labor required, and the time of year.
Adding a deck to a home expands your living and entertaining area. It makes the house seem larger and gives you a place to enjoy the great outdoors with all the comforts of home within arm’s reach. One of the factors that you may be concerned about when considering installing a deck is the cost.
Why Composite Decking?
Houses across the US have been constructed from wood for hundreds of years, and likewise, decks have been made from the same material. This has been the material of choice because it is readily available and relatively cheap.
Wood, as a decking material, is exposed to the elements continuously. Sun, wind, rain, snow, freezing temperatures all take their toll on natural materials like wood, especially in our high altitude in CO. As a result, significant time needs to be spent on maintenance and repairs to keep your wood deck in great shape. This requires not only a time investment but also the costs for the wood treatments.
For some homeowners, the beauty of natural wood is worth the maintenance effort and time. Still, for others who may not be DIY inclined or just want a deck that requires less maintenance, there are alternative options.
A composite material is an answer to many of these concerns for the homeowner who wants to install a low maintenance deck.
Composite material is manufactured from a mixture of wood fibers, plastics, and adhesives to hold it all together. Composite material has several advantages over wood, particularly in harsh climates where temperature fluctuations and high humidity are detrimental to wood.
- Composite material looks like wood and has the same workability as wood.
- Composite material is less likely to delaminate or split, which means less wastage.
- There is no need to sand, stain, paint, or varnish composite material. It comes finished from the manufacturer.
- It is more water-resistant than wood.
- Requires less maintenance than wood.
- It does not fade as rapidly as wood.
- Insect resistance. Insects such as termites don’t eat this material.
- Easy installation with interlocking systems.
Wood is still a popular material, but here at TNT Home Improvements, we have noticed a growing popularity for decks made from composite material.
But let’s get onto the reason you came here in the first place. How much financial commitment is it going to take to replace your wood deck with composite material?
The Cost Of Composite Decking
Suppose you are looking to replace your wood decking with composite material. In that case, we are assuming that the substructure that supports the deck is already in place and is in good condition.
The substructure consists of the beams, posts, and joists that support the actual surface decking boards. They provide stability for the entire deck structure. It is therefore important that the substructure is in good condition.
If you are not sure whether the substructure is sound or not, that is where TNT Home Improvements can help. We have a certified engineer on staff who can advise you on the structural soundness of the substructure.
When you choose your composite decking, you need to be aware that not all composites cost the same. Composite decking ranges in quality from entry-level decking, costing you approximately $15 per square foot to install. Versus the premium composite products, which will run you in the region of $20 – $28 per square foot to install.
On average, you can use a middle of the road estimate of $18 to $22 per square foot to replace the wood deck with composite material.
There are a couple of pricing aspects that you will need to bear in mind when replacing your wood decking with composite material.
- Size of the deck. Obviously, the larger the deck, the more it will cost.
- Angles, corners, and shapes. The more angles and non-rectangular shapes you have in your deck, the more cutting will be required. This can quickly hike the price of the labor bill.
- Removal of old Decking. Remember to factor in the labor cost of removing the old decking. Unless you are doing this part of the job yourself, it will incur a labor cost from the new decking installer.
- Railings. Many people forget to include the cost of the railings when they work out the pricing to replace their decking material.
- Extra fittings. Suppose you have a hot tub or built-in lighting. In that case, you may require the services of a plumber and electrician to re-route or refit the plumbing and electrical wiring.
- Timing of the replacement. Suppose you decide to replace your deck surface at a time of year when everyone has the same idea. In that case, the labor costs can increase as well as the cost of the material if it is in high demand. Springtime is when most people decide to tackle this task, so it is at this time that it is most expensive to get this project done, it’s also going to have the longest wait time to get permits and get materials delivered.
If you need work done on the substructure to support the deck, you should add another $5 to $15 per square foot to cater to the additional costs.
To give a summary of the costs you can expect, let’s gather all this information into one place to provide you with a ballpark idea.
- Replace decking – $15 to $25 per square foot.
- Labor costs – You can work on an average labor cost of $50 per hour, and to give you an idea, a 12-foot by 24-foot deck should take about 35 hours to install from the ground up.
- Railings. Depending on the type of materials you choose for deck railing, you can work on an average of $45 per linear foot for wood or $85 for composite.
- Substructure. If you need some modifications or repairs done to the supporting structure, add about $5-$15 per square foot to the cost, depending on the scope of the repairs needed.
These are estimated costs that do not consider any specific requirements that you may have for your deck. The only way you will get a precise estimate would be to get a professional to come out to examine your deck. Here at TNT, we offer free consultations, so do not hesitate to give us a call at 970-663-2868 to talk to someone about your deck project.
Professional installers know what to look for in the way of potential unknown costs that you may not contemplate as a possible cost factor.
Even though composite decking is more durable and long-lasting, you may want to factor a few extra boards into the purchase cost. Consider if your composite deck sustains any damage such as chips, nicks, gouges, or surface scratches that it cannot be sanded down and refinished. The board will probably need replacing.
Ordering a few extra boards in the same style and color will help ensure that you can match the boards should you need to replace a few over time.
Composite decking can be slightly more expensive than installing a decking surface made from pressed wood or cedarwood. Still, the composite material’s longevity and its reduced maintenance requirements will make for a cheaper cost in the long term. By the time you pay someone to stain your deck the first two years, you’re about even with an entry level composite, and you’ll be saving time and money every single year after that!
TNT Home Improvements can assist you with all your decking needs, from wood decks to composite decks. We can install decking for private residences and business applications.
We operate in the Loveland area in Colorado, which includes Fort Collins, Greeley, Windsor, Campion, Berthoud, and Johnstown, CO, as well as Larimer, Jackson, Boulder, and Weld Counties, CO.
We are more than willing to answer questions, address any concerns, and offer advice regarding your deck, whatever material it is made from.