Deck Cost, Plus Pros and Cons in 2017 – How Much Does It Cost to Build a Deck

An exterior deck is an addition to your home. Most room additions are considered “building up” while a deck is “building out.” Even with fine quality materials, decks are generally less than half the cost of an interior addition. A deck often serves the purpose of providing an area to relax, cook, dine, and entertain guests. A deck is similar to a patio in several ways, but the main distinction is that a deck is usually elevated, and made of wood or composite materials, while patios are at a ground level and are often made of stone or cement.

via CederbergKitchens.com

Decks can be attached to your home or detached. Either way, a building permit is generally required for this type of upgrade, which means a site plan would benefit the project and/or be required as part of the permitting process.

Planning for a new deck construction helps ascertain costs, materials and layout that you’ll go with. Let’s overview the costs, the price breakdown and advantages along with disadvantages of an exterior deck.

Pricing Information – Part 1

Building a deck is labor intensive and takes experienced contractors between one and three weeks to complete the job. While a handy person might be tempted to go the DIY route, it is not recommended. Decks must be ultra sturdy. All floor boards benefit from being exactly even. Modern decks make room for electricity and plumbing that are well-hidden.

Pricing is done on a square footage basis. And the price range can be wide, between $4 and $25 per sq. ft. for materials. A professional crew will usually charge $4 to $15+ per sq. ft. for all labor involved. While a professionally installed deck can cost as little as $8 per sq. ft. for materials and labor, the average cost is actually closer to $35 per sq. ft. If you are looking to save on costs, then the best advice is to lower the overall size of your deck.

On average, people spend between $6,000 and $10,000 for a new deck installation. But what is it that makes for an average deck? Deck sizes vary and depend significantly on elements unique to the property. Generally though, homeowners want one of three type of decks:

  • small decks – under 200 sq. ft. – for relaxation mainly
  • medium size decks – 200 to 500 sq. ft. – for dining, relaxing and entertaining a small group of friends
  • large decks – more than 500 sq. ft. – may be multi-level – for cooking, dining, relaxing and entertaining larger group of friends

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Garden Patios Costs, Plus Pros & Cons in 2017

Patios are traditionally made with natural stone, concrete, or gravel. Pavers are an option composed of concrete and a color additive to form a tile, stone, or brick-like pieces. Patios are similar to decks as both provide outdoor space, usually in the rear of a home, for relaxing, dining and entertaining guests.

Decks Vs. Patios

While decks are often elevated structures made from wood or composite materials, patios, on the other hand, are routinely installed at a ground level.

Patio Pricing Information – Part 1

Size, of course, is the main cost factor. A small patio, say 7 by 7 feet provides a cozy place for two to share a drink. If desiring a place to dine, at a table with 4 chairs, then a mid-sized patio around 12×12, or larger, is the size to consider. Large patios offer an outdoor living room, coming in at 15 by 15 or larger. Nothing says a patio needs to be square in shape, and rounded edges, or rectangular patios are quite common.

Cambridge Pavers

The price to install is based on material times square footage. On average, patios cost from $1.50 to $30.00 per sq. ft. installed. That’s a huge gap, but the median range is closer to $6.00 to $12.00 per sq. ft. installed. Generally, the least expensive material is a gravel patio, while flagstone fetches the highest prices.

Before any work begins, planning is the first step. In some areas, you may need a building permit and a site plan to provide your local zoning office with the patio design you seek to implement. As approval can sometimes take weeks, other planning considerations include what accessories you may wish to furnish your patio with, along with how each item will lay out. Since everything is at a ground level, you might consider laying items on the lawn to get a feel of layout in a three dimensional way that a site plan won’t readily convey.

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BIPV Solar Shingles Cost – PV Redux – Solar Roof in 2017

Material Costs plus Labor Costs = Total Installation Charges

The axiom for all home improvement projects. Yet, for the solar shingle market, this helps to remember, especially with what is on the immediate horizon.

Wait, What’s A Solar Shingle?

The technical acronym: BIPV stands for Building Integrated Photovoltaics. Simply put, embedding solar technology into building materials. For our purposes, we stick to roofing materials, or what is known as the solar shingle and/or solar tile. Especially, since these are the type of BIPV products being designed for the residential market.

If needing a quick refresher on solar technology (the PV part of the equation), see our piece on solar panels. There we note that solar tech is moving in a direction to product “enough electricity to power not just a few appliances, but an entire home, including transportation.” Here, we’ll show you how.

Difference between the Solar Shingle and Panel

First key difference is size. Panels are, or can be, huge. This translates into more solar modules (and cells) being installed on the roof than a shingle can currently offer.

Which leads to the next difference, power. A shingle produces around 15 to 60 watts, while a panel, typically 18 sq. ft. generates 185 to 250 watts. In general, this means the panel system will produce more electricity than a shingle system.

Then there’s elegance factor. Not only are panels big and powerful, they’re big and cumbersome. They are adhered to a roof after careful surveying to make sure the structure of the (whole) house can handle the weight. Usually rack mounted, so they stand out above the roof surface. Noticeably stand out. Solar shingles are usually near flush with the existing roof structure and becoming more of an option to be the actual roof structure with a beauty that mimics traditional roofing. At the time of this writing, solar shingles have a metallic finish that is distinguishable from the rest of your roof, but still less noticeable than panels.

The bottom line difference is that currently panels are more efficient and cost effective than shingles. While shingles are more aesthetically pleasing and gaining traction to be the primary way anyone would choose to do solar power generation on their own residence.

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