Apart from a fortunate few, most people must work within budget and need to find ways to make the most of their hard-earned cash. Like any renovation, building a deck can start to get pricey without taking some precautions. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your new deck is affordable and a quality feature of your home that’ll last you for years.
1. Plan, plan, plan!
You’ve heard the old saying measure twice, cut once? Having a solid plan of what you’re doing before you even pick up a tool will go a long way to avoiding any unforeseen issues.
Consider how you plan to use the deck. Would you like it to be accessible from one point or numerous? Any structural considerations need to be carefully thought through because having to solve these problems once the deck is built can be messy and expensive.
This is also the stage to identify any potential issues you might encounter during your build and how to address them. A little research and friendly advice are worth taking on board during your planning stages. While no plan can be absolutely airtight, the more you prepare the more likely everything will stay on track.
2. Minimise your offsets
Minimising your offsets (the material you throw away) means you’ll save money and be able to use your material more efficiently. By planning your deck carefully, you’ll waste fewer boards. Some tips we’d recommend include.
- Plan your deck based on the materials you will be buying. For example, our boards are available in 5.4m and 5.8m. Knowing the size of your materials allows you to plan your decks accordingly.
- Use picture frames and breaker boards (boards perpendicular to the direction of the deck) to add more width to your deck if needed (based on the size of your frame)
- Be creative with how you lay your boards. Try combining orientations – for example, north/south with east/west – as this will allow you to cover more area with fewer boards.
To be on the safe side, order 5% more boards than you actually need.
Benefits of ordering additional decking boards:
- Gives you more flexibility if things don’t go to plan (even the best of us can hit a speed bump).
- Less chance of running out of materials on the day. This means no waiting around for delivery or extra trips to the store.
- The remaining boards can be easily stored away, making any necessary repairs quick and easy.
3. Know your budget
With any renovation project, it’s important to have an understanding of your budget or how much you’re willing to spend. You need to be open and honest with yourself and whoever you’re working with about what you can realistically afford. Having these parameters will help you know what you have to spend and how to make the most of your hard-earned.
It’s also a good idea to decide how flexible you are with your finances. Is the figure you’ve come up with the absolute limit you’re willing to spend or are you willing to spend more if necessary? The good news is with a little creativity and savvy, you can still build a fantastic deck with a limited budget.
4. Consider both short-term and long-term costs
We understand that when installing a new deck, your mind is going to be focused on the immediate costs of your building project. It’s easy to focus on the amount of money you’re spending now without considering the future.
For example, timber may be the cheapest material, but it won’t take long for you to realise it comes with its share of headaches. This includes rot, water damage, warping, splinters and most famously, termites. Wood is also notorious for being high maintenance, needing annual treatments and polish.
This is where you need to shift your mindset from asking, ‘what’s the cheapest material’, to ‘what material is the best value for money’. While timber decking may be cheaper initially, composite decking is better value for money in the long run. Not only is it eco-friendly and easy to install, but it also doesn’t require any maintenance.
Other benefits of choosing high quality materials include:
- Looks better and stays looking good.
- Isn’t vulnerable to the weather like timber is. This means no rotting, warping, splintering or fading.
- Forget about termites – composite decking is termite resistant.
Long-term decking maintenance
One of the biggest long-term costs to keep in mind is the upkeep you’ll need for your new deck. Odds are, your new deck will be a popular place in your home for family time, and gatherings and just a place to chill out, so you’ll want your deck looking its best.
You also want it to be safe, especially if you have little ones running about. Timber decking can cost up to $2000 annually to maintain. That really adds up after a few years, and we’re sure you can think of better things to spend that money on. Your choice of material can make a huge difference in this department, so it’s worth investigating a variety of options to find the best choice for your deck.
5. Look for value for money
When someone says they want to build a deck on a budget, they certainly aren’t saying they want a ‘cheap deck’. What they’re saying is they want to make the most of their dollar and get quality while being wise with their money. This approach will require some patience, as you may have to consider a few options to find the right plan that meets your budget yet still provides you value for money.
6. Don’t compromise with cheap materials
Remember, only 33% of the cost of your deck will be spent on boards, with the rest being spent on labour and subframe construction. A lot of customers’ gut instinct is to try to save money with cheaper decks, but in reality, this won’t save you much money and you’ll end up with an inferior deck. This means more long-term costs, which are not only annoying but also costly.
Your best option is to spend a little more on high-quality composite decking boards as the benefits provide you value for money.
7. Work with the foundation you have
The more you can incorporate your existing building and foundation into your new deck, the more money you’re likely to save. For example, if you have to cut an entirely new door and excavate the land where you’re planning to build your deck, those costs will quickly add up.
If you’ve got an existing deck, you may be able to replace just the boards. The foundation and structure are the most expensive parts of the build, and you’d be surprised how much some new deck boarding can jazz up a slab of concrete.
8. Keep it simple
Whether it’s unique designs, unusual materials, unconventional sizes or lots of aesthetic touches cost, any customisation you make will cost you extra. This is because of factors such as ordering specialised material, the extra labour and design costs if you hire a contractor.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping your design simple. Less elaborate designs are often the most stylish and the ones that don’t go out of fashion. Ever heard the phrase, ‘Less is more? Embrace this with your design. If you wish to express yourself and jazz up your deck, you can achieve this through decor. Some nice furniture, plants and decorations will have your deck looking like you in no time. The plus of this approach is you can pace your decorating to suit your budget and can change it if you wish down the line.
Whether you’re looking for an affordable option or planning to go all out, Brite Composite Decking has the material for you. Our range of Brite Decking looks like timber decking while being eco-friendly, easy to install, low maintenance, strong and durable. It’s becoming the go-to choice in the building industry and is a perfect way to build a quality deck that’s value for money.
Get inspired and browse a range of decking projects across Australia that have used our state-of-the-art Brite Composite Decking Solutions.