2020 How much does decking cost?

Stand at your back door or look out your back window. What’s stopping you from going outdoors and enjoying the fresh air? Adding decking is one of the most cost-effective ways to expand your outdoor lifestyle and add value to your home.

But how much is it going to cost you?

Decking costs anywhere from $200 – $1000 per square metre, depending on the type of timber and specs of your deck. Expect to pay in the region of $200 per square metre for treated pine decking, $320+ per square metre for hardwood timber decking, $350+ per square metre for composite decking and $1000+ for elevated cyclone rated decking

What type of decking is available?

With options in soft, hardwood and composite materials, knowing a little more about the various decking materials can help choose what is right for you. The three most popular types of materials are:

  • Treated pine is the cheapest options. It is easy to work with and can be stained or painted.
  • Hardwood timber decking is more expensive than treated pine, but a number of species are available, some of which are much less expensive than others.
  • Composite decking, also known as plastic decking, is made from a mixture of timber fibre and plastic. It is made to look like timber and comes in a variety of natural timber and “paint” colours.

The cost of composite decking is usually about the same as a mid-priced hardwood decking material but has some advantages. While you have to stain and seal any kind of natural timber, there’s nothing to do to composite decking after it’s installed except clean it occasionally. Look at this article for composite decking prices.

For a comparison of natural and composite decking, read our article: Timber Decking vs. Composite Decking.

What timber for my deck?

When it comes to choosing a type of timber, there is a range of options, with different species having distinct colour and hardness characteristics. Some of the most common species you will encounter include:

Treated pine: the least expensive option, however you need to choose a decent quality timber with a “H” rating, which tells you if it is suitable for outdoor use.

Blackbutt: an Australian native species that is also fire-resistant, though susceptible to cracking if it is not sealed.

Merbau: a relatively affordable and durable hardwood that is very popular, though one needs to ensure it comes from a sustainable source as it is extensively harvested across Southeast Asia.

Ironbark: perhaps the most dense and heavy hardwood timber, which makes it difficult to cut and work with but extremely durable for decking.

Jarrah: a very popular option for decking, Jarrah is durable and fire-resistant with a wide range of light, dark brown and red hues.

Spotted Gum: another sensible choice if you live in a bushfire zone, it is a very dense timber which enhances its long term durability.

#hiptip: Elevated decks often need council approval to ensure they meet the relevant safety criteria

Does my deck builder need to be licensed?

It depends where you live – some states have a specific licence class for decking or it may be covered by another licence class, such as builder or carpenter. There are also state and council specific regulations governing the construction of decks.

If in doubt, get in touch with your local council or local licensing authority.

Do I need building or council approval for my deck?

Again it depends on where you live. Building approval, by a building certifier, or planning approval provided by Council may be required for safety or aesthetic reasons, and typically are based on:

Size: in some areas, council approval is needed for decks larger than 10 square metres while other councils allow decks of up to 25 square metres before approval is needed.

Height: a deck built off the ground could potentially be dangerous, which is some councils limit deck heights to 600mm while others allow decks of up to 1 metre to be built before approval is needed.

If in doubt check with your local council.

Hiring a deck builder

When it comes time to hiring a deck builder, take time to make sure they are right for your job. Some questions to ask then include:

  • Are you licensed or qualified?
  • Are you insured?
  • How long will my job take?
  • Can you provide a written quote?
  • Can you take care of council approval for us?
  • Do you have references I can follow up?
  • Can I see examples of your work?
  • How much does decking cost?

    A range of factors will affect the total cost of your deck, specifically:

    • Size in square metres
    • Type of timber
    • Accessories, including timber for bearers & joists, nuts, bolts, posts
    • If you include stairs, a balustrade and/or roofing
    • Site conditions, including soil type
    • Elevation, an elevated deck is more labour intensive and requires adherence to stricter specifications
    • Permits required from council

    Expect to pay in the region of:

    • $200 per square metre for treated pine decking
    • $320+ per square metre for hardwood timber decking
    • $350+ per square metre for composite decking
    • $800+ per square metre for decking with roofing and/or stairs
    • $1000+ for elevated cyclone rated decking
    • Source: 2020 How much does decking cost?|Hi pages

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