The Ultimate Guide to the Hidden Costs of Outdoor Decking
How great is it having outdoor decking in your backyard or by your pool? It’s a brilliant way to create a living space where you can comfortably enjoy the outdoors and its beautiful weather. Unfortunately, your deck’s constant exposure to this weather means it needs regular maintenance and upkeep.
Whether you have a deck or are planning on installing one, there will be a few hidden costs you might not have planned for. But never fear, our guide below will outline these costs and give you some advice on how to plan for them.
Decking board types
Typically, composite decking has fewer maintenance costs, as composite boards are less likely to crack and don’t require oiling. As such, if you’re planning on installing a deck, or replacing decking boards, then a composite might be a great option, even if the initial cost of the boards is usually a bit more expensive.
Wood decks have a beautiful, natural feel. They’re usually cheaper than composite boards, making them an attractive option if you’re looking to install a deck or replace boards at a cheaper price point. In Australia, Merbau decking and Jarrah decking are both popular timber options.
Most composites and some timber come with warranties upon installation, make sure you enquire about warranties when scoping out samples and options.
deck construction and repairs
If you’re not a DIY expert, deck construction and structural repairs are best carried out by a decking professional. We always recommend getting a few quotes for the job from different contractors and installers.
Quotes should be itemised and broken down into labour and material costs. Material costs will vary depending on the decking product you choose, but you can expect labour to range from $500 to $5000. The price will depend on how complex the design of your deck is.
Other add-ons to decking like railing, drainage or lighting, also come at varying costs.
Oiling your deck
As mentioned above, oiling your timber deck is essential part of its maintenance and upkeep. This weather-proofs it and restores the natural timber’s oils.
If you don’t oil your wood decking, it will turn grey, warp, splinter, and crack. This will lead to further problems down the track, and significantly reduce your deck’s life expectancy. Ten litres of decking oil will cover a 5 x 10m deck and will set you back about $150.
If you're short on time, it may be worth hiring a decking professional to oil your deck for you. Costs will vary, but you can expect to pay from $400 for a small deck, up to $2500 for a larger deck.
Warping, splintering, and cracking
If your decking boards do warp, splinter, and crack, then they will need to be replaced to make your deck safe and prevent further damage.
The cost of replacing boards will depend on timber prices and quantity that needs replacing. Often, boards surrounding the damaged decking will also need to be replaced, which is why it’s important to replace a damaged board as soon as you notice it.
Rotting, mould, and mildew
Mould and mildew building up on your deck can lead to rotting, making it structurally unsafe to spend time on. As such, regularly cleaning your decking boards with a specialised deck cleaner is a must.
This should be done once a year, and more frequently if you start to notice build up. You can expect to pay about $20 for a 1 litre tub of deck cleaner.
As a final note, it’s worth reiterating that the best way to avoid hidden costs building up, is to regularly maintain your deck. Doing so, will mean your deck looks amazing, and will allow you to get the most out of it.
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