Composite Deck Cost Guide

Understand the costs of composite decking. Discover what affects composite decking costs: From installation to material choices, learn how to budget for your project.
Veda Yalamanchili
Veda Yalamanchili
Last Update:
February 7, 2024

Did you know that nearly half of all new decks are now composite? This shift reflects a growing interest in long-lasting, beautiful home improvements.

Composite decking is increasingly popular for its durability, low maintenance, and aesthetic appeal. This blog aims to explain the costs of building a composite deck. We'll explore various factors that influence pricing, providing a comprehensive guide. Our goal is to help homeowners make informed decisions and effectively plan their investments. With this knowledge, you can confidently approach your decking project and create a space that you'll enjoy for years to come.

Average Cost per square foot of Composite Decking: $25 to $80

National Average per square foot of Composite Decking: $45

Average installation cost of composite decking (10'x10'): $2,500 to $8,000

Average installation cost of larger composite decks (20'x20'): $10,000 to $32,000

Cost of Composite Decking by Size

When it comes to composite decking, the estimated costs can vary significantly based on the size of the project. For a smaller deck, roughly 100 square feet in size, homeowners can expect to spend between $2,500 and $8,000 for materials and installation. However, as the size of the decking project increases to around 300 square feet, the costs can rise to approximately $7,500 to $24,000. The table below provides a comprehensive breakdown of the average costs based on the size of the deck.

Cost of Composite Decking by Deck Design

When it comes to composite decking, the average costs can vary significantly based on the design of the deck. For a simple design, such as a basic platform deck, the average cost per square foot may be lower compared to more intricate designs like multi-level decks or curved designs. The complexity of the design affects not only material costs but also labor costs, as more intricate designs require additional time and expertise to build.

Additionally, innovative deck designs such as floating decks or rooftop decks often come with higher average costs due to special structural considerations and materials required for installation. On the other hand, traditional designs like wraparound decks or platform decks may offer a balance between cost and visual appeal. Homeowners need to consider both their budget and aesthetic preferences when selecting a deck design, as well as consulting with professionals to get accurate cost estimates for their desired composite decking project. Here is a simple table that gives you a cost estimate for different deck designs

Understanding Cost Factors During Deck Installation

When planning for a new deck, it's crucial to understand the various cost factors that come into play for deck installation. First, the size and materials of the deck will significantly impact the overall cost. Larger decks and high-end materials like composite decking or exotic hardwoods will naturally drive up expenses.

Additionally, labor costs can vary depending on the location and complexity of the design. Factors such as site accessibility, soil conditions, and local building codes can also affect construction costs. Moreover, extra features like built-in seating, lighting, or pergolas can add to the total expense but may also enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your deck.

It’s important to consider long-term maintenance costs when choosing materials for your new deck. While low-cost options may seem appealing at first glance, they might require frequent maintenance or replacement in just a few years, ultimately increasing overall expenses in the long run. By understanding these cost factors upfront and making informed decisions, you can ensure that your new deck not only fits within your budget but also adds value to your property.

Let us understand the different cost factors you need to understand when starting a new deck project.


When it comes to composite deck costs, one of the key factors to consider is the materials used. While traditional wood decks have long been popular, composite materials offer a durable and low-maintenance alternative that can be well worth the initial investment. The cost of composite decking materials varies depending on factors such as brand, quality, and design options. It's important to weigh these costs against the long-term benefits, such as reduced maintenance and longevity.

Composite Decking Board Materials

Composite decking, a durable and low-maintenance alternative to wood, is made from various materials, each influencing the final cost. Polyethylene plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polypropylene plastic are the most common types.

Polyethylene (HDPE) Decking: Resembling real wood closely, polyethylene or HDPE decking offers an authentic aesthetic. Polyethylene-based composites are usually the most affordable, offering a good balance of durability and cost-effectiveness. These are often heavier and provide a more wood-like appearance. However, it's known to retain more heat, which might be a consideration in warmer climates. While generally durable, it can be more susceptible to scratches and scuffs, so a bit of extra care might be necessary to maintain its appearance.

PVC Decking:  PVC decking, distinct from composite materials, is made entirely of plastic. It's often the most expensive of the three due to its long lifespan and minimal maintenance needs, plus its resistance to moisture, rot, and insects. With a distinctly more plastic-like look, PVC decking stands out for its variety of color options. It's designed to last long but tends to expand and contract with temperature changes. While it offers good resistance to elements, it can be more prone to mold growth compared to polyethylene, requiring vigilance in damp conditions.

Polypropylene (PP) Decking: Often featuring a matte finish, polypropylene decking is well-suited for high-heat environments due to its excellent heat resistance. Polypropylene-based composites are typically lighter and their higher resistance to heat and fading means they have a slightly higher price point. Polypropylene is a sturdy choice that doesn't warp easily under prolonged moisture. However, in colder climates, it's worth noting that PP can become brittle, so considering your local weather is crucial when selecting this material.

Composite Decking Brands

The average cost of composite decking materials is generally between $4 and $8 per square foot. However, prices can vary significantly based on the specific type and brand you choose. Here's a breakdown of some common options:

These figures provide a general idea of what you might expect to pay for the material alone. Remember, the type of composite decking will also influence the price. Although premium brands come with a higher price tag, they generally provide superior materials, warranties, and longer-lasting durability.

Additional Cost Considerations

In addition to the main decking materials, several additional elements contribute to the overall cost of your deck project.

Substructure: The substructure is the foundation of your deck. Concrete is a durable, long-lasting choice and can cost between $5 to $20 per square foot, depending on the complexity and type of concrete used. Pressure-treated wood is another common option, typically ranging from $2 to $5 per square foot. The choice will affect both the cost and longevity of your deck.

Railings and Stairs: Railings and stairs not only add safety but also enhance the aesthetic appeal of your deck. The cost varies widely based on materials and design complexity. For instance, wood railings might cost $15 to $30 per linear foot, while composite or metal options can range from $40 to $120 per linear foot. Stairs add additional costs, with prices depending on the number of steps and material choice.

Lighting and Accessories: Incorporating lighting, planters, pergolas, or other accessories can transform your deck from a simple outdoor area to a sophisticated entertainment space. Lighting can range from $8 to $30 per fixture for basic models to over $100 for high-end or integrated systems. Accessories like planters or pergolas vary significantly in cost, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, based on size, material, and design.

Each of these add ons offer both functionality and style to your deck but also contributes to the overall project cost. When planning your budget, consider which features are most important to you and how they fit into your outdoor living space.

Cost-Saving Tips

When planning a composite deck, costs can add up quickly, but there are ways to manage and reduce expenses without compromising quality. Here are practical tips to help you save on your composite deck:

  1. DIY Installation: If you're handy, consider installing the deck yourself. Many composite decking materials are designed for easy installation. Doing the work yourself can significantly reduce labor costs.
  2. Buy in Bulk: Purchasing materials in bulk often leads to discounts. Plan your deck thoroughly and buy all the materials at once to take advantage of bulk pricing.
  3. Choose Mid-Range Materials: Opt for mid-range composite materials. High-end composites come with a premium price, but many mid-range materials offer a good balance of durability and project cost.
  4. Off-Season Shopping: Prices for materials can vary depending on the season. Shopping during the off-season might help you find better deals as suppliers clear out inventory.
  5. Reuse and Recycle: If you're replacing an existing deck, see if any of the substructure or accessories can be reused to save on costs.
  6. Compare Quotes: Always get quotes from multiple deck contractors. Decking prices can vary significantly, and comparing quotes will help you find the best value.
  7. Plan for the Long-Term: While initial costs are important, also consider the long-term value. A slightly more expensive option might be more durable and require less maintenance, saving money over time.
  8. Negotiate: Don't be afraid to negotiate with suppliers and contractors. Some might be willing to offer discounts to secure your business.


Is composite decking really worth it?

Composite decking is often worth the investment for several reasons. Firstly, it's highly durable and resistant to elements like rot, decay, and insect damage, meaning it generally lasts longer than wood decking with less maintenance. You won't need to stain, seal, or sand it, which saves time and money over the years. Additionally, composite decking comes in a variety of styles and colors, maintaining its appearance for years without the fading and wear common to wood. While the initial cost is higher, the longevity and reduced maintenance often make composite decking a smart long-term investment. However, whether it's worth it depends on your budget, how long you plan to stay in your home, and your personal preferences for maintenance and aesthetics.

A wood deck or a composite deck - what to choose?

When choosing between composite and wood decking, several factors come into play. Composite decking offers durability and low maintenance but comes at a higher initial cost. Wood decking, on the other hand, provides a natural look and is more cost-effective upfront but requires ongoing maintenance. Here's a comparative table to help visualize the differences:

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