There are many costs to consider when weighing up a budget for a deck, and unless you're prepared for them it's easy to be taken by surprise. While most builders will factor in all of the costs, it's wise to find out what sorts of things need to be done, and whether or not your bill includes everything you're going to have to pay for.
Below are some of the costs you may be up for:
Planning costs – Whether you design the deck yourself or pay someone to do it, you will need to have the plans drawn by someone who knows what they're doing, and checked off by a professional to make sure the integrity of the structure won’t be compromised.
Council fees – It is very likely that you will need some sort of permit if you're building a decent sized deck. Consultations, revising your plans (if necessary) and obtaining the permit will all add to the bottom line. Speak to your local council for any details on potential fees to see what you can arrange for yourself. If possible, it's a good idea to hire a team who are familiar with your local regulations.
Site preparation – Clearing the site and getting it ready for construction can be more costly than you might think. Removal of waste material, installation of drainage and spraying for insects among other things can all contribute. Depending on how big your decking project is, you may need to hire a small bulldozer or skip bin or pay someone to clear it for you.
Excavation – If you are having the deck built, you may be charged for the digging of post holes. You can do this yourself, but it's integral to the support of your deck so if you don't understand what you're doing it's always a good idea to get a professional in.
General labour costs – Most installers will include this in their final pricing, but if you are considering doing it yourself, remember how quickly the small things add up. Trips to the hardware store, lumber yard and other places, purchase of tools, manuals and other sundry items can add a hidden burden to your hip pocket.
Timber or other decking materials – Obviously, this is where the big dollars will come in. Because so much of the budget is involved here, it's vital that you choose quality goods. Scrimping on the timber, wood plastic composite (WPC) or uPVC may look like a good idea at the time, but the financial burden of repairs and maintenance of bad decking will soon overtake any difference in initial cost. Don’t forget to factor in all the accoutrements too; the railings, balustrades, battens, infills and stairs as well as the boards, beams, joists, bearers and posts.
Hardware – This should be the second largest cost on the budget. All your fastenings will be covered here; the screws, nails, bolts, caps, connectors and brackets will be keeping everything held together. It is worth putting additional funds into making sure you have properly waterproofed fittings. Everything should be a minimum of hot-dip galvanised steel to prevent corrosion. You will also need to pay for the treatment and sealants you intend to use on the wood, as well as any sanding materials.