How Much Does It Cost to Build a Cedar Deck?

Candace Nelson
Written by Candace Nelson
Reviewed by Andy Kilborn
Updated December 13, 2021
a cedar deck with two patio chairs and a small table overlooking a lush green yard
Photo: Ruth Peterkin / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

The average cost to build a new 10-by-15-foot cedar deck is about $4,500

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Enjoying a dinner or drinks al fresco on your deck is priceless, but if you’re looking to build one, you’re probably wondering about the cost. Cedar decking is a popular choice for its durability and beauty. Depending on the materials you choose and the size, the typical range to install a cedar deck is $3,000 to $9,000. Expect to pay $4 to $9 per linear foot for cedar decking and $20 to $40 per square foot for labor

Below we’ve broken down everything you need to know to get started planning for the outdoor space of your dreams. 

How Much Does Cedar Decking Cost per Linear Foot?

Cedar decking prices range from $4 to $9 per linear foot. The cost of a cedar wood deck will vary based on the type of cedar you choose, the size of your deck, and the terrain you’re building over. Expect to pay $20 to $40 per square foot for labor in addition to materials if you hire a pro.

"Cedar decking has a timeless look. As long as annual maintenance is completed, that look can be maintained for many years,” says Andy Kilborn, Angi Expert Review Board member and owner of Andy’s Handyman.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Cedar Deck Yourself?

Building a deck costs between $2,000 to $7,500 depending on square footage and materials. You’ll save money (but not time) if you do it yourself, as local deck builders have the necessary tools and know-how to build a deck properly, and will handle the logistics like material delivery. Expect to spend about three weeks of quality time with at least one other person to build a 12-by-24-foot deck and about $4 to $9 per linear foot for materials. 

If you need to rent tools, budget about $500 for a power drill, power miter, table, circular, and reciprocating saws. You might also want an air compressor with a nail gun.

One way to save on costs is to have a local deck contractor lay the deck, then install the railing yourself. You can also ask your contractor if you can buy the materials on your own.

How Much Does Cedar Decking Cost by Type?

Your total cedar decking cost will depend on which type of material you choose. Each has pros and cons depending on your decking needs.

Western Red Cedar Decking Prices

Western Red cedar is the most popular choice for decks and costs $5 to $9 per linear foot. It has an appealing red color and grain, but it tends to be rough, so you might want to take your outdoor yoga session elsewhere.

Advantages

  • Repels water

  • Maintains shape

  • Resists decay

  • Eco-friendly from Pacific Northwest forests

Disadvantages

  • Requires annual deck winterizing, including power washing, staining, and sealing each fall

  • Dents and scrapes easily

  • Has a rough surface

Northern White Cedar Decking Price

Northern White comes with the lowest price tag at $4 to $7 per linear foot. It’s light, yet strong. Frequently the wood of choice for canoes, northern white is durable enough for decks, fences, and outdoor furniture.

Advantages

  • Fine-grain is appealing and seen as high-end

  • Repels insects

  • Repels water

  • Holds paint and stain well

Disadvantages

  • Weaker than other pressure-treated woods

  • More brittle than other cedars

  • More likely to rot than red cedars

Eastern Red Cedar Decking Cost

Eastern Red (also called eastern juniper) costs $5 to $8 per linear foot. Its classification as a softwood is misleading, as it is actually quite hard. Its durability and resistance to rot make it ideal for deck posts.

Advantages

  • Can be planed smooth

  • Maintains shape

  • Withstands extreme weather

  • Much more rot-resistant than other cedars

  • Might repel bugs

  • Pleasant aroma

  • Does not need to be finished or treated

Disadvantages

  • Resists oil-based finishes

Clear Cedar Decking Prices

Clear cedar ranges from $5 to $7 per linear foot. Clear cedar is graded to be nearly free of knots. Wood completely free of knots would be difficult to find and quite expensive. Clear cedar costs more than knotty cedar ($4 to $8 per linear foot), but the latter gives decks a more rustic look.

Advantages:

  • Free of blemishes

  • Strong and durable

  • Rot-resistant

Disadvantages:

  • Most expensive option

Cedar Decking Cost Breakdown

By now, you’re probably getting pretty excited about the prospect of relaxing your new deck, but put the umbrella drink back in the freezer for just a minute while we talk numbers. There are a few costs to factor in:

FactorCost
Deck permit$0.50 – $1.50 per square foot
Foundation of concrete or a wooden substructure$5 – $8 per square foot
Deck boards$4 – $8 per square foot
Stairs and railings$900 – $2,900 total
Labor$20 – $40 per square foot

Is a Permit Required for a Deck?

You might not need a permit if your deck is under 150 square feet and less than 30 feet from the ground. Check with your city for requirements or ask your contractor.

a cedar deck overlooking the city in the distance
Photo: ghornephoto/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

FAQs About Cedar Decking

What cedar deck maintenance is required?

Properly maintained, a cedar deck can last a couple of decades, so you can enjoy your investment through many seasons. Expect to spend about $150 to $375 per year on maintenance. An annual visual inspection could catch common deck problems

  • Resealing a deck costs around $2 per square foot and should be done annually.

  • Staining the deck is $1–$1.50 per square foot. Do this every two or three years.

  • Repair any loose boards, nails sticking up, decay, and rough spots as needed. Deck repair pros near you can take this on.

  • Refinishing the deck, which includes sanding down the top layer and staining, costs about $900 and can make your deck look like new all over again. A local deck refinishing pro near you can help you figure out what kind of work your deck needs.

Why should I pick cedar over composite decking?

Cedar is a common deck material because it has a long life and is known for its beauty. Composite decking is made from recycled plastic that is made to look like wood. It’s more expensive than wood at $7 to $12 per linear foot, but that has some advantages: It’s durable and has a non-slip surface so no one slips and loses an ice cream cone.

Cedar doesn’t heat up under the summer sun like composite materials, which can feel hot on bare feet. Composite decking requires little maintenance.

What other projects should I do at the same time?

When dreaming about your outdoor living space, how do you plan to use it? If you’re entertaining, consider an outdoor kitchen. If it’s a self-care sanctuary, do you have space to install a hot tub? Other amenities to consider include an awning, water features, and fire pits.

This is also a good time to install or replace a patio door.

Remember that critters love to make their home under decks. Install a diamond lath around your deck to keep a family of raccoons from taking up residence.

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