Nothing adds value to a home more than increasing its living space. Unfortunately, adding onto a house can be very expensive.
But it’s less expensive when it’s outdoor living space, in the form of a patio or deck. True, you can’t count outdoor space as part of your home’s square footage, but that doesn’t lessen its value. After all, these days people spend more time outdoors, and a spacious, nicely designed deck can add to your enjoyment while adding to your home’s value.
While finished living space can cost $100 to $250 a square foot to construct, you can add a deck for about $25 to $35 a square foot.
Before building, decide where it should go. Putting it on the rear of the house is probably a given, but give some thought to how people will access it. Do you want people using the door that leads through the mud room to the kitchen, or would it be better to have access from a living area? That means part of the cost might be replacing windows with French doors or a slider, but in the long run the extra cost will probably be well worth it.
Another planning consideration is the placement of the steps from the deck to the back yard. The steps should be convenient but not obtrusive.
Check building codes
Chances are your home lies in a jurisdiction that has local building codes that cover construction of decks. Make sure your deck conforms to them. If you’ve hired a contractor to build the deck, he or she should be well-versed in local codes. If it’s a do-it-yourself project, make sure you understand and follow the local building codes.
It’s important because when it comes time to sell your home, a home inspector will highlight any discrepancies and the buyer will require modifications to bring the deck to code.
Building materials are also something to consider. Decks are normally constructed with treated pine. The wood holds up well but requires regular powerwashing and treating with a sealer.
Recently builders have begun constructing decks with a synthetic board. It can significantly increase the cost of the deck but is mostly maintenance free.