How Much Does It Cost to Build a Floating Deck?
$500 - $25,000
$500 - $25,000
Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.
Updated November 30, 2021Written by HomeAdvisor.
Expect to pay $20 to $60 per square foot for a floating deck, which is about three to five times the cost of a standard ground-level deck. The cost to build a deck may come in as low as $500 for DIY projects, or you could pay up to $25,000 for a large one.
Floating decks can be a great addition to your home and gathering place for your family and friends. But how much can you expect to pay for your floating deck? This guide breaks down general decking prices, the unique costs of a floating deck and the factors that affect the final price tag.
Here are the materials you will need to build a floating deck:
Post hole digger: $50–$300
Decking nails: $15–$30
Deck screws: $10–$20
Lumber: $2–$30 per square foot
Exterior wood coating: $10–$55 per gallon (each gallon covers 150 to 300 square feet)
So, if you were to build a standard 12-foot-by-12-foot deck (144 square feet), you can expect to pay between $420 and $4,800 just for materials for this project.
Generally, about 50% of floating deck installation costs go to labor, with the other half going to materials. As a result, you could cut the cost of your project in half by doing it yourself. However, keep in mind that this assumes you could get the same deals on materials that the pros get, and that may be tough to do if you don't have the connections.
|Average Cost||$25 per square foot|
|High Cost||$35 per square foot|
|Low Cost||$15 per square foot|
You can expect a deck contractor to charge about $15 to $35 per square foot for this job. So if you were to hire someone to build a floating deck that is 15 feet by 15 feet, or 225 square feet, it would cost you between $3,375 to $7,875 just for the labor.
The cost to build a floating deck will vary dramatically based on the most important element of that deck: the wood. For example, the cost of a cedar deck will differ dramatically from the cost of a composite deck. Here is a breakdown of the different types of woods and what you can expect to pay on a square-foot basis:
Pressure-Treated Wood: $2–$5
Fiberglass & Composite: $12–$22
So, should you take on the project yourself or hire a professional to handle the job? Deck installation is a lot of work, but a relative novice could pull this off with the right materials and equipment. A floating deck doesn't come with the complications of attaching it to a house, so that might make it even more appealing to DIYers.
However, there are several good reasons to go with a professional. For one thing, it’s a difficult job and one that can quickly go wrong, resulting in a structure that may need rebuilding if it's not up to par. For another, professionals have the connections to get the best possible prices for lumber and other materials. And finally, wouldn't it be nice to kick up your feet with a glass of lemonade while someone else does the work—all while knowing the deck you're getting will be top quality?
Before you get started with installing a floating deck on your own, at least get a professional opinion and contact a deck company near you. They will come out to your property, survey the area, make recommendations, and provide you with a quote. Then, you can decide whether you'd rather do it on your own.
You don't need a building permit to build a floating deck, which is one of the great things about it. Because it’s not part of your home’s general structure, you have more freedom to build the deck you want without getting permits first. However, check with your local government to see if any restrictions may affect you.
You can build a deck directly on the ground as long as you have the right materials that won't rot due to contact with the ground. This is one area where it may be best to consult with a professional first. They can tell you what materials to use and give you other tips on doing the job right.
Floating decks tend to require a lot of maintenance, which is a major disadvantage to consider before building one. They’re close to the ground, so you have issues with moisture and vegetation growing between the wood. This means you should anticipate quite a bit of maintenance.