Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own Deck?

Is it cheaper to build your own deck?
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Building a deck is a popular home improvement project that enhances outdoor living spaces and adds value to a property. One common question among homeowners is whether it’s cheaper to build your own deck or hire professionals for the job. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the economics of DIY deck building to help you determine the most cost-effective approach for your project.

The Cost Breakdown


One of the most significant expenses of building a deck is the cost of materials. DIY builders have the flexibility to shop around for the best deals on lumber, decking boards, fasteners, and other necessary materials. By purchasing materials in bulk or taking advantage of seasonal sales, DIYers can often secure lower prices compared to hiring a contractor who may mark up materials.


Labor costs can vary significantly depending on whether you choose to build the deck yourself or hire professionals. DIY deck builders save money by providing their labor, but it’s essential to consider the value of your time and the potential for mistakes that could require costly repairs. Hiring a contractor involves labor fees, but it also ensures professional craftsmanship and may save time in the long run.

Tools and Equipment

DIY deck builders need access to a variety of tools and equipment, including saws, drills, levels, and safety gear. While purchasing or renting these tools represents an initial investment, they can be used for future projects, potentially offsetting the cost over time. Contractors typically bring their tools and equipment, eliminating the need for DIYers to make additional purchases.

Permits and Inspections

Regardless of whether you build the deck yourself or hire professionals, you’ll likely need to obtain permits and schedule inspections to ensure compliance with local building codes and regulations. DIY builders must navigate the permitting process independently, while contractors may include permit fees and inspection costs in their overall quote.

Risk Factors

DIY deck building carries inherent risks, including potential safety hazards and the risk of errors or structural issues that could compromise the integrity of the deck. While DIYers can save money on labor costs, they must invest time and effort in learning proper construction techniques and safety protocols. Hiring a contractor transfers these risks to experienced professionals who are equipped to handle challenges and ensure quality results.

People Also Ask

What tools and equipment do I need to build a deck myself?

Building a deck yourself requires a variety of tools and equipment, including a circular saw, drill/driver, level, tape measure, hammer, safety goggles, and work gloves. Additional tools may be necessary depending on the complexity of the project, such as a post-hole digger, joist hanger, and deck board straightener.

How do I obtain the necessary permits for building a deck?

Before starting any construction, it’s essential to check local building codes and obtain the required permits for building a deck. Contact your local building department or visit their website to learn about specific permit requirements and the application process. Typically, you’ll need to submit detailed plans, pay permit fees, and schedule inspections at various stages of the project.

What are the key steps involved in building a deck myself?

Building a deck involves several key steps, including designing the layout, preparing the site, setting footings and posts, installing ledger boards and framing, attaching joists and beams, laying decking boards, and adding railings and stairs. Each step requires careful planning, measurement, and adherence to building codes and safety guidelines.

How long does it take to build a deck yourself?

The timeline for building a deck yourself can vary depending on factors such as the size and complexity of the project, your level of experience, and the availability of tools and materials. On average, a simple deck can be completed in a few weekends, while larger or more intricate designs may take several weeks or months to finish.

Are there any cost-saving tips for DIY deck builders?

DIY deck builders can save money by carefully planning their projects, shopping around for the best deals on materials, and considering alternative decking options such as pressure-treated lumber or composite decking. Additionally, tackling certain tasks yourself, such as demolition or staining, can help reduce labor costs. However, it’s essential to balance cost savings with quality and safety to ensure a durable and long-lasting deck.

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In conclusion, whether it’s cheaper to build your deck depends on various factors, including your budget, skill level, and willingness to invest time and effort into the project. DIY deck building offers cost savings on labor but requires careful planning, research, and execution to avoid costly mistakes. Hiring a contractor may involve higher upfront costs but provides peace of mind and professional expertise. Ultimately, the decision comes down to weighing the pros and cons and selecting the option that best suits your needs and preferences.

Ryan Seeberger

Ryan Seeberger

At Nasim Landscape, Senior Analyst Ryan Seeberger harnesses the power of data to foster sustainable and aesthetically pleasing environments. His blog serves as a resource for those looking to blend functionality with ecology.

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