If you’re like many homeowners in the Denver area, you enjoy the amazing natural beauty of the Rockies. Perhaps you’ve been considering adding a deck to your home and backyard to let you enjoy the joys of the outdoors even more.

Then there’s the topic of cost. Just how much will you have to pay?

The simple answer? It depends. If you are like many weekend warriors, you’ll want to know how to get the best bang for your buck by building your own deck. If you’re not into DIY, you can expect to pay two or three times the cost.

Of course, there’s a little more to it than that. Here are a few things you need to do before you dive into a deck building project.

Take Stock of Your Construction Skills

If you’ve never built a deck before, it helps to really do your research first. Take a mental inventory of your basic skills. Maybe you’ve built a fence before so you know the process of digging post holes and getting a solid base that’s also plumb.

Still, if you’re not much past the basics of carpentry, you can use your sense of caution to your advantage by talking to contractors, hardware store experts, and neighbors who’ve built their own decks. In other words, do your research.

Learn about the Advantages of Pre-designed or Free-standing Decks

If you want to give yourself a boost of confidence, consider a simple design or pre-designed plan. Also, note that a free-standing deck is the easiest deck to build since you won’t have to remove siding or deal with complications of attaching the deck to your home.

Count the Costs

Now it’s time to start tallying up potential costs. Take good notes in your ledger to help keep as many elements in mind as you can before getting started:

  • Decide on deck size. Once you’ve determined your desired square footage, you will be all set to begin your cost calculations.
  • Choose your materials. If you have a 10’x10’ target for your deck size and you use the barest-bones of decking materials, you could pay about $700 dollars in decking materials. However, if you want a deck that looks fantastic and lasts a long time, expect to pay for the privilege.
  • Know your design. For experienced DIY carpenters who have their heart set on a multi-level deck, keep adding to your costs. Wrap-around decks are even costlier. Also, don’t forget the cost of your under-deck joists.
  • The fact that you’ve chosen to build your deck yourself will save you the most money of all. That $7,000 deck you’re building yourself? Expect to pay more if you are hiring a contractor, but an contractor can ensure your deck is built to code to ensure it will past inspection.

Get the Best Materials You Can Afford

Sure, the whole reason you’re doing this project yourself—or maybe the biggest reason—is to save costs. Then there’s the bragging element. How great will it be to say that you built your deck yourself?

But before you start imagining all the neighbors’ compliments, come back down to earth and pay attention to the most important expense of all: the decking material.

Don’t imagine that you’re going to get the results you want if you don’t invest in the best materials. It just won’t happen. Choose the right material and you’re well on your way to a great deck.