5 secrets to an affordable dream deck

The crisp weather and falling leaves are a clear indication that summer is over, which means it’s the perfect time to start planning for an even better next summer. If you think the deck of your dreams is out of reach, think again: with early planning and these budget-friendly tips, you’ll be well on your way to an affordable outdoor space you can enjoy for many seasons to come.


It's never too early to start planning for a new deck. Plan now for next summer’s dream deck with the Fiberon Decking Guide for the inside scoop on the entire process, from budget to build.

Ways to save

1. Build in the offseason.

Just like your favorite travel destinations, deck building has an offseason. Generally speaking, peak building time for contractors is April through July, depending of course where you live. Since labor typically eats up the biggest chunk of your budget, it’s easy to see how you could save quite a bit by shifting your timeline. Contractors like to keep their crews busy and continue generating income, so they tend to be open to offseason requests. Plus, when demand for services is lower, prices tend to be lower. And fewer clients can mean more focused attention.

2. Is DIY an option?

Completing the project yourself is an honorable yet considerable undertaking. If you’re comfortable with larger home improvement projects and have the necessary time and skills, you can save a lot by DIYing. Before you go this route, we encourage you to make an honest assessment of your skill level and available time to devote to the project.

Even a simple deck design can eat up many weekends. Factor in weather, family and home obligations, vacation plans, the need to coordinate all aspects of the project, and you may decide there isn’t enough time for you to do the job alone.

If you do decide that the scope of the project is within your abilities, consult our deck installation instructions for guidance every step of the way.

3. Consider ways to save on composite materials.

There are two major ways to save on materials: choosing from a less expensive product line and selecting a board that’s capped on only three sides. As you may know, capped composites won’t splinter, crack, or decay, are resistant to insect infestation, and never need sanding, staining, or refinishing. This extra protection is extremely valuable, but may only be necessary on three sides. Just as some people select a car just to get them from point a to point b and others prefer luxury features, decking can include all the bells and whistles, or be stripped down to the essentials.

Depending on the features you’re looking for, it’s likely you can meet your objectives without breaking the bank and splurging for the highest tier product. And with the Fiberon good, better, best ranking system, it’s easy to see the product features for every product line and compare what’s most important to you.

While four-sided capping is important for second story decks, it’s not always necessary for lower level decks, since you won’t see the underside of the boards, anyway. Capping on three sides can be the best of both worlds: less expensive while still providing the protection of a capped composite.

When determining cost for composite decking it's also important to keep in mind that if you choose composite you will only need to consider surface decking, not substructure.  The cost of pressure treated lumber for the substructure of your deck will need to be considered separately.


A PermaTech cap layer on three sides provides exceptional stain and fade resistance and makes Fiberon ProTect Advantage composite decking the ideal choice for lower-level decks. Shown here in Western Cedar.

4. Think big, build small.

Though expansive decks have their place, we’ve got a special appreciation for small decks with a lot of personality. Less square footage equates to less payout for you, but it doesn’t have to mean more compromise. There are lots of ways to maximize your space without changing the actual footprint of your deck.

  • Create different spaces with specific purposes – Designated areas for dining, entertaining, relaxing, etc. create the illusion of a bigger space and make your deck multi-functional.
  • Less space doesn’t mean limited seating – To conserve space without sacrificing seating, consider incorporating built-in benches.
  • Wow ‘em with décor – Just as bright colors and “decorating up” are advised for maximizing smaller indoor spaces, the same ideas can be applied to the outdoors.
  • Eliminate unnecessary materials – If your deck is low enough to the ground and building codes don’t dictate the need for railing, feel free to do without it. Not only will it save you money, but it will make a small deck appear larger by seamlessly extending it into your yard. Be sure to look into building codes before going with this option, though!
  • Shop around – Decking materials are available at many dealers as well as online and through special order at major home improvement chains. Prices can vary, and many businesses offer seasonal specials and promotional offers. It pays to ask questions and discover pre-season or end of season sales.

  • A small composite deck can still make a big impact. The free time you’ll gain is priceless, not to mention the measurable value you’ll add to your home. Get started here. Shown above: Fiberon ProTect Advantage in Western Cedar.

     

    5. Determine a workable budget and stick to it.

    Fiberon has tools to help you establish a budget and take the guesswork out of what materials you’ll need to get the job done. First, check out our Material Cost Calculator to get a general estimate. Just enter the deck dimensions you’re considering and the product line you want to go with and you’ll get an idea of the total cost.

    Then, head to our Deck Design Tool, where you can design your dream deck and then generate a report that lists everything you’ll need to make it a reality, down to the last fastener! Taking your vision from concept to concrete is the best way for you to prioritize your wants and needs, rather than jumping right into the buying stage.

    If the planning bug has bit, there’s a lot more to consider than just budget. The Fiberon Decking Guide is a great place to start to get a better grasp on the deck building process.

    Comments
    • Final Cut Creations

      We use your products on our deck projects and are very impressed with both the quality and longevity.

    • So glad to hear it! Thank you for being a loyal Fiberon customer.

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