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Adding a Backyard Deck: Worth the Investment?

Sep 02, 2020 by Barbara Zito

In a time when staycations are the norm, more homeowners are looking to transform their backyards into an extension of their living space. If you want to get the highest sale price for your property, it's time to add value with a backyard deck.

Why install a deck?

Decks are an excellent way of turning an outdoor area into usable space for relaxing and entertaining. Whether the deck is a simple wooden platform that can fit a chair or two or it extends for yards leading up to a pool or hot tub, a deck can upgrade the look of any backyard.

While a patio is also a good feature to have in a backyard, it keeps everything and everyone on the ground. A deck, on the other hand, extends out from the house -- some even from the second floor -- and adds a multidimensional aesthetic to a backyard.

What does it cost to install a deck?

This is a bit of a tricky question, as it can be for many home improvement projects. According to Home Advisor (NYSE: ANGI), the average cost of a deck installation is $7,652, with a range of $4,149 to $11,475. Using a 320-square-foot deck as an example, it might cost around $8,500 for materials, $7,000 for labor, and $500 for permits.

However, as with all home improvement projects, the actual answer can vary greatly. Here are some things to consider when estimating a price for your backyard deck installation:

  • How large is the deck?
  • How many steps are needed?
  • What type of wood or composite materials will be used?
  • Will the deck be covered?
  • Will it lead up to a pool or spa?
  • How much maintenance does it require? How often?

Keep in mind that depending on the materials you use -- wood, metal, composite, or a combination thereof -- will require some type of maintenance to keep it looking good over time.

Whatever type of deck you choose, it's important to remember that deck installation will result in an increase in property taxes as well as insurance premiums. Be sure to factor all of these into the cost of installing a deck in your backyard.

What is the value of a backyard deck?

A deck can add around $10,000 to the price of a home, or around 50-75% ROI for the installation. For homes in areas with climates that allow for year-round enjoyment of the backyard, you can likely expect the ROI to be on the higher end of that scale.

Aside from those numbers, if you wonder whether a deck has real value for your neck of the woods, look to the real estate listings. You will often see decks mentioned as part of the backyard amenities of a home. In particular, Trex decks are a particular draw for homebuyers. Trex (NYSE: TREX) is an industry leader in making decking material that looks like wood but is made from an eco-friendly material that won't warp, fade, or succumb to termites.

The bottom line

A deck is one backyard feature that's as attractive as it is useful. However, unless you're a carpenter or contractor, this is not a DIY project. You will pay quite a bit for materials and installation -- but a new deck will pay off for your home's value.

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bz829 has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Trex. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.