Hiring a Contractor to Build a Deck: Everything You Need to Know

Bry'Ana Arvie
Written by Bry'Ana Arvie
Updated December 22, 2021
Modern home with a deck after rain
Photo: Coralimages / Adobe Stock

Your dream deck is only a plank away

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Picture this: Kicking back and relaxing on your deck while you watch the sunset, hosting a family gathering with all your loved ones, or BBQing while you wait for the game to start. But before you can experience the beauty of life on your deck, you need to build it. 

In this guide, we’ll tell you who you can hire to build your deck, what to expect, and what the process will look like.

Benefits of Hiring a Deck Contractor to Build Your Deck

One of the first pros you can contact when you need a deck built is a local deck building contractor. They have the skills necessary like accurately sawing, nailing, framing, and spacing wood to deal with everyday challenges and requests like uneven ground, steep slopes, and deck crawl spaces

While there’s not a deck-building license, your pro would need a contractor license to build a deck. To get one, they’d need to pass a trade, business, and law exam and have insurance, a surety bond, or both. Also, some states require years of work experience as a builder or remodeler.  

And they’ll be up-to-date on any building codes, ensuring your deck complies with all the latest deck building requirements for the deck’s structure like the railing, ledger board, and stairs by the International Residential Code (IRC). Expect to pay $4,500 to $14,000 in labor fees to hire a deck contractor. 

Can I DIY Building a Deck?

There’s no denying that you can save on labor costs when you build your own deck. While extra money in your pocket is always nice, unexpected challenges, time commitments, permits, and renting equipment like a truck loader, screw gun, air compressor, and a saw can make this project more of a headache than you originally intended. 

But if you’re looking to build a simple deck, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. If you’re willing to dedicate the time to get this done and thoroughly research and plan it out, you can DIY this project. Homeowners typically pay $4 to $35 per square foot in material costs, in addition to equipment and delivery fees which can average $200

You can make this project a little easier by asking a contractor to build your deck’s frame. While it will require more money than DIYing from start to finish yourself, it will take an obstacle out of the way that homeowners typically face, which is building a solid deck foundation. 

Can I Hire a General Contractor to Build a Deck?

Person using a drill to build a deck
Photo: Maxwellmonty / Adobe Stock

Hiring a deck contractor to build your dream deck is always a good choice since they have the experience to build various deck designs using different materials. But they’re not the only ones you can contact for the job. Let’s look at other pros you can consider hiring for this task. 

General Contractors

While general contractors might not have the same experience as deck builders who work only on decks, they’re also worth considering. Of course, you’ll want to check their previous work to see if they’ve built decks in the past. 

But typically, hiring these contractors can save you money on labor costs, averaging $800 to $1,500 or 10% to 20% of your project total.

Balcony Builders

If you’re looking to build a balcony deck, you can also consider contacting a balcony contractor for the task. They’ll know how to create a balcony that looks like a natural addition to your home and is sturdy and safe. These pros charge $10 to $45 per square foot in labor fees. 

Pool Deck Contractors

If you’re hoping to build a deck around your pool, pool deck builders are also a good choice. They have experience working with both above and in-ground pools and will have the skills needed to build a functional and visually pleasing one. Labor costs for these decks are $3.25 to $10 per square foot

How Do Deck Contractors Build a Deck? 

So, what exactly goes into building a deck? Let’s look at a typical deck contractor’s building process. 

  1. Consult: Your deck contractor will go over your plan for your deck with you, look over design options, and pick your deck material. 

  2. Design: Based on everything discussed during the initial design phase, you’ll get a 3D color rendering of your deck. If you’re satisfied with the results, you’ll get a detailed project proposal, breaking down everything included in the quote and the project timeline. 

  3. Permits and approval: They’ll send your deck plan to get approved and apply for any building permits you might need. 

  4. Prepare: This stage involves getting the site prepared for your deck. Some preparation steps they take are digging holes for the footing, outlining the area with strings, and preparing the soil. 

  5. Build: Your pro will start building your deck at this point. Some steps you can expect are setting the footing, installing the ledger board, support posts, joists, and nailing boards. Your deck builder will also install any add-ons you want during this stage. 

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