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Installing composite decking is a popular option for homeowners who want the natural beauty of wood decking, but don’t want to maintain the flooring as often. So what is the cost of installing composite decking, one of the main concerns of homeowners?

The average cost to install composite decking ranges from $15 to $30 per square foot, with most homeowners spending between $4,320 and $8,640 to install a 12′ x 24′ composite deck with rails. In comparison, pressure-treated wood decks cost $12 to $25 per square foot, while cedar decks start at $28 per square foot.

How much do composite decking prices?

On average, the composite decking cost between $1.80 and $3.50 per square foot to purchase. This is for the purchase cost of composite decking only and does not include installation or other costs.

Additional Costs

Installing composite decking can provide a range of other work to complete your outdoor space.

When laying decking you may need to install joists, then you may need to purchase the joists separately, which will also be calculated into all costs.

In addition to this, there is a labor cost associated with installing composite decking. The average labor cost is $7 per square foot. A 24×12 composite deck takes an average of 36 hours to build. The labor cost to install the deck on top of the existing joist structure is approximately $2,000.

The labor to install the bottom joists, decking, and railing average 50 hours, which gives you an installation cost of about $3,000. Of course, labor costs vary from region to region and are subject to actual conditions.

Composite Decking Cost Factors

The price of composite decking installation depends on many factors. There are also various types of composite decking, from solid, hollow, and covered composite decking. The price of composite deck boards varies by model size, and the purchase price of composite decking alone ranges from $1.80 to $3.50 per square foot.

If your composite decking needs to follow the railing, this is an additional part of the cost. Perhaps you also need to install a pergola on your outdoor deck to shield you from the summer sun. This will also affect your total cost.

The final composite decking cost depends on a number of things, most of which are factors you are free to choose, allowing you to decide how much your deck will cost.

The size of the composite decks

The size and design of your composite deck have the biggest impact on the cost. The larger your composite deck is, the more it will cost. There is no doubt about it.

Installation Angle of Composite Deck

The more creative your design is, the more it will cost. If you want to install a composite deck that is hexagonal instead of square, then you will need to put in extra time and labor to cut it. The more complex the design, the more time it will take and the correspondingly more costly the installation.

Terrain Impact

If the deck is built around trees or other structures, or if the ground needs to be leveled, this will also increase the cost of installation.

Existing substructure

If you do not have an existing substructure, then you will need to install the bottom joists before installing the composite decking.

Accessory Amenities

Installing built-in lighting fixtures, or plumbing for a bath can also add to the deck cost. You will need to hire an electrician and a plumber for these projects.

Removing the old deck

Remove the old deck and have it hauled away. A home demolition company can provide you with a fee of $5 to $15 per square foot. Of course, you can also choose to do the removal yourself, which can take a lot of time and effort.

Time to install composite decking

If you want to install your deck in the spring, then you may have to pay a hefty installation price. If you choose to install your composite deck in late summer or fall, the installation costs will be lower for a contractor at this time of year.

Benefits of Composite Decking material

Composite decking materials offer many benefits, including their low maintenance and durability. Composite decking can also increase the resale value of your home. Even though the total cost of installing composite decking is high, your return on project costs is still about 60%. That’s why many homeowners are adding composite decking to their homes instead of building wood decks.

The cost of building a deck is just the beginning. Throughout the life of a solid wood deck, maintenance costs begin to add up until they exceed the cost of composite decking. Solid wood decks must be sealed, cleaned, sanded, stained, or painted regularly to maintain their beauty, and you will need to do this every few years. The exact maintenance schedule depends on the weather and usage.

What do I need to know about installing composite decking?

The installation method of the composite deck boards is the same as that of the traditional wood deck.

However, different composite manufacturers have different installation guidelines, so instructions need to be followed carefully to avoid problems when installing fasteners and parts.

Composite decking needs to be installed with the correct spacing between decks to avoid warping and swelling of composite decking in hot weather.

Solid and hollow composite decking comparison

Composite decking has the difference between solid and hollow. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but both will build a strong and durable deck.

Solid Composite Decking

Feel more like solid wood, but are heavier and require more structural support.

May expand and contract with temperature fluctuations, which may cause fasteners to loosen and cause the deck to warp.

Looks more like real wood, especially at the ends of the boards.

Hollow Core Composite decking

Because they are hollow, expansion and contraction have little effect on them.

The hollow structure facilitates air circulation and also facilitates drainage.

Low weight, which facilitates the movement of composite decking.

How to save money when building composite decking boards

We can reduce some of the costs when installing decking by following these methods.

Do-it-yourself installation. If you have the proper substructure, you may choose to install the composite deck yourself. Installing composite decking is faster and easier than putting up wood decking, and doing so can save a significant portion of the cost.

Preparing the site and installing the joists can be more complicated. You might consider hiring a professional to do this part, and then you follow the installation instructions for composite decking yourself.

Choose a flat surface rather than a slope to build your composite deck on. It can cost hundreds of dollars to properly level the soil before building a composite deck.

Choosing a hollow composite deck can reduce the cost of materials a little.

Choose a simple and natural composite deck design. It will save some time and labor costs.

Installing a deck in late fall or winter will be less expensive for many contractors and may be more flexible in terms of cost.

Eliminate the need for lighting or plumbing wires by giving up any fittings that require lights or water.

Remove the old decking yourself and dispose of the old wood that was removed. You may also choose to have your contractor handle it, which may be more cost-effective.

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