7 Ways to Save Money on Your DIY Backyard Deck

DIY Backyard DeckImagine cool summer evenings spent watching the kids chase lightning bugs in the backyard as you lounge on your beautifully finished deck.

It’s a wonderful dream, but maybe you’ve priced a new deck and feel like it’s beyond your reach.

While the cost to build a deck can vary, depending upon the size, site location conditions, where you live, etc., you can expect to pay anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 (sometimes more) to hire the job out.

And even if you do it all yourself, the cost of materials alone can be substantial.

You can reduce the cost of building a new deck – it just takes a bit of creative thinking to get the job done.:

1. Reuse building materials

Check with your local free publications for any classified ads placed by lumber yards, builders or even residents who are offloading free or inexpensive materials. Online, look on Craigslist, Freecycle and similar websites for used building materials that are still in decent condition.

Done right, used materials can offer a beautiful, even eclectic look to your home that sets it apart from others in your area.

And of course, it’s good for the environment to use materials that still have a lot of life left in them, keeping them out of landfills.

2. Find a deal

Comparison shop every building supply store in your area, taking advantage of sales and discounts they commonly offer at certain times of the year. Also, sometimes these stores will offer discounts when you use their credit card or other financing options.

3. Buy in bulk

After you decide how large you want your deck to be, create a list of materials (including quantity) that you’ll need. Then, submit copies of your list to the different outlets, asking them for their best deals, making sure that each store knows their competitor is also in the running for your business.

If you have friends or family who have the same or similar building projects in mind, see if you can’t get together to get a better deal by purchasing a large quantity of material in bulk.

Materials such as screws, bolts, nails, etc. are always cheaper when you buy in bulk, so use the price by pound (or case) of these items as a simple way to compare prices among the different stores.

4. Think small and simple

Instead of the redwood deck with a summer kitchen and thatched roof cabana, keep your building project simple.

One option could be a pallet deck.

Pallets can be inexpensive – and in some cases free – and can make a good decking option for little money. You can arrange them in a variety of shapes and finish them in any color you’d like.

5. Use standard size materials

Customization is simply going to increase the cost of your deck. Choose simple lumber, use premade concrete piers or footings to reduce your expenses.

Make your deck smaller, and use simple, straight lines instead of fancy curves to reduce your building costs. Also, reduce waste by using standard dimensions of lumber (8 feet, 10 feet, 12 feet, etc.) in the design of your deck rather than odd sizes (e.g. 11 or 13 feet). 

5. DIY wood treatments

Ever priced pre-treated lumber?

Ouch…yes it is costly.

Instead of paying the high price tag, use untreated wood, then treat it yourself. Yes, it will take more time treating the wood yourself, but if you have more time than money, it’s a good way to save on your building costs.

Then, once you’ve treated the wood, use a good sealer to preserve the life of your investment.

6. Rent specialty tools

If you’re going to need a specialty tool for the job, instead of buying it, rent it.

Rental stores are the ones most likely to have what you need, but if you don’t have one near you, a home improvement center is another good choice.

7. Get creative

Finally, if your dream deck is much larger than what you can afford right now, consider building it in sections, over a period of time to stretch your costs out over several years.