Pricing a New Deck?

May 9, 2024

Here are the typical price ranges for various decking materials, including natural woods and composite materials.

By Brendan Norton, Decking Manager, Mans Lumber

It’s that time of year when people come out of the woodwork (pun intended) to plan and budget their new outdoor decks. Spring has sprung in Michigan, and people want to waste no time getting a head start on enjoying their new decks this summer.

Among the most frequent questions we get asked as decking specialists is how to price the various wood and composition options on the market to help design and build a deck that matches the homeowner’s aesthetics, lifestyle and budget.

Typical Price Points, from Most Affordable to Premium Products

Keep in mind that cedar and treated pine wood are considered “commodities,” so the actual price at any discrete point in time will fluctuate based on both supply and demand of the moment. Similarly, composite decking is made from recycled wood and plastics, so this product can fluctuate as well, based on market conditions and availability of raw materials needed to manufacture. So while it would be nearly impossible to provide exact costs in this article that won’t be soon rendered obsolete, here is a pricing guide that breaks the various product types into pricing tiers.

(In a previous article, we examined the pros and cons of natural wood decking materials compared to and contrasted with composite materials. You may want to cross reference that when working to determine which is the best material for your particular decking needs.)

Tier 1 – Treated Pine

If simply comparing the cost of materials in a vacuum, pine is typically the most affordable material, as a natural-wood entry into the product range. Pine can be the preferred choice for the budget-conscious and for whom longevity and durability are not of primary importance. We do point out, however, that there are additional costs associated with all wood decking materials, in the form of both finishing and maintenance, that their composite counterparts will not raise. It’s smart to factor in the cost of hiring a crew to professionally sand, treat and seal a wood deck, including pine, which can result in elevating an entry-level price-point product to the higher tiers to come, once you factor in the costs of additional materials and labor. However, for those who prefer a very natural look and feel, or who don’t mind future maintenance needs that will arise over the years, or even those who plan to sell the home shortly after deck installation, pine can be an attractive option.

Tier 2 – Cedar

The next level up from pine would be cedar. Cedar is seen by many as a more natural and attractive wood than pine, and the higher pricing reflects that. Cedar, like pine, will need to be sanded, sealed and/or stained and will feature all of the same maintenance requirements, including treating every two years, potentially the need to repair or replace boards over time, and other lifetime maintenance costs common to wood decks but not composite products. For some, there simply is no substitute for the organic, natural look and feel of authentic wood, and for those homeowners, we consider cedar to be the premium product in the natural wood category.

Tier 3 – Entry-Level Composite Materials

More and more homeowners are moving to popular composite materials and away from natural woods, as the lifetime maintenance, longevity and durability favors composite for the reasons stated above when discussing both pine and cedar options. These homeowners don’t want to worry about slivers, rotting, damage, maintenance and repair; and for them, composites are the preferred alternative. Once in the composite category, decking shoppers can eliminate the labor and material costs for sanding, treating, staining, repairs/replacements and other lifetime maintenance expenditures, so keep that in mind as we elevate through the pricing tiers — you should factor in lifetime costs when evaluating pricing so that is a true apples-to-apples comparison.

One of our popular lines of composite decking materials is Trex, and their entry product line is called Trex Enhance Basics. Optimized and value-priced, the Basics product line offers the beauty of wood with the ease of composite. An additional benefit of Trex composites is that they are “Earth friendly,” made of 95% recycled plastic, wood and sawdust.

Tier 4 – Natural-Looking Composites

Sticking within the Trex product line as an illustration, the next price tier up would be their Trex Enhance Naturals product. This category offers all of the benefits of the Basics product line but offers a more natural-looking wood grain and finish than does their Basics. There are also more color options to choose from at this level. Still at a competitive price point, this product features a high-performance shell that is fade-, stain- and mold-resistant, as well as a more organic look and feel without pricing most homeowners out of the market.

Tier 5 – Premium Composite Products

Trex calls its next level up “Transcends,” which offers an upgrade from their Naturals product line. This tier offers all of the benefits and features of prior tiers but with even more wood and finish selections and a more premium design and construction. Transcends, for example, features an added protective shell, and each board is protected on three sides for superior weather protection. The underside “breathes” to avoid surface separation, ensuring durability. Because this product is so durable, it features a longer 50-year warranty (as opposed to 25 on prior product lines). This may be the overall category leader in “bang for the buck,” as the additional premium design and manufacturing features are often deemed to justify the premium price tier the Transcends product commands.

Tier 6 – “Ultra-Premium” Composites

The discerning homeowner may wish to consider the highest price tier, such as two “ultra-premium” products that a manufacturer like Trex offers, such as:

  • Transcend Lineage: The second-highest-priced product line from Trex, this premium product comes in five “luxurious, on-trend” colors. An added benefit is that the product is engineered to keep your deck cooler, even on the hottest days, so it will infrequently feel hot to the touch.
  • Transcend Signature: This top-of-the-line decking product is made of nature-inspired wood thermoplastic lumber (WTCL) for a look as much like wood as wood itself. The proprietary shell formulation creates an elegant grain pattern finish and a high-end matte feel.

Where to Begin?

With so many options and considerations, some homeowners can feel overwhelmed by the number of choices presented to them. We always recommend meeting first with an experienced and knowledgeable decking specialist who will work with you to help identify your needs, preferences and budget parameters so that you can make the most informed decision possible. There is no “right” answer for everyone, which is why we prefer to get to know you first and tailor both a design and product selection suited to your unique needs and vision for your outdoor living space.

Whether you ultimately choose wood, composite, or premium composite materials for your new deck, rest assured, we have “Exactly What You Need. All In One Place.” Contact us today to get the conversation started and the ball rolling on your new deck today!