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Enjoying your home extends beyond just the space inside. Your outdoor area offers extra opportunities to entertain and relax, with a deck being the perfect way to enhance the aesthetics, function, and value of your house.

We go into more detail about how to build the best deck, the costs involved, and long-term maintenance below.

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timber deck with beach chairs at sunset


  • How much does decking cost?
  • What decking material is best?
  • Best alternatives to timber decking
  • How to clean decking
  • Stone paving vs timber decking
  • How to calculate how much decking you need
  • What are the advantages of decking?
  • What is the lifespan of a deck?
  • Is decking high maintenance?
  • How to choose the right person to build your deck
  • Does my deck builder need to be licensed?
  • Questions to ask your deck builder

How much does decking cost?

The price of building a deck will depend on various factors, such as your chosen decking materials, whether it’s multi-level, the type of balustrades or railing, if you need a staircase, and if it has any additional features.

For instance, a timber deck cost will be less than composite decking. If you’d like extras such as embedded decking lights or a built-in fire pit, these will further increase the costs.

As a starting point, you can expect to pay approximately $200 per square metre for treated pine, $320 per square metre for hardwood timber, and $350 per square metre for composite decking.

What decking material is best?

There are three main types of decking you can choose for your home, depending on your budget and how much maintenance you’re willing to do down the track:

  • Treated Pine: This is the cheapest option, can be stained or painted, and is easy to work with.
  • Hardwood Timber: There are a variety of species to choose from, such as blackbutt, merbau, ironbark, jarrah, and spotted gum. Each of these vary in price, but overall hardwood timbers are considered more premium to treated pine.
  • Composite: Also known as ‘plastic decking’, composite decking is made from a mix of timber fibres and plastic. It’s made to look like real timber, available in a variety of finishes and colours. 

In terms of maintenance, composite decking is easier to look after than real timber in the long run, but is usually slightly more expensive, so keep this in mind when deciding which deck material is best for you.

timber deck

Best Alternatives to Timber Decking

When it comes to timber decking vs composite decking, composite has some significant advantages over real timber:

  • Maintenance: Timber decking needs to be regularly sanded and oiled to keep it looking its best, whereas composite just needs to be pressure cleaned occasionally.
  • Durability: Composite is more resistant to scratches, stains, and mould than timber, and can be waterproof and fireproof.
  • Appearance: Composite looks equally as good as timber, with the added bonus of not fading as much over time.

How to Clean Decking

Regularly giving your timber deck a good clean will bring it back to life between uses, making sure it looks its best when it comes time to entertain. 

The steps for cleaning your deck are simple:

  1. Brush the deck with a broom to get rid of any leaves and dirt that have begun to build up over time, especially after a storm. Use more rigid bristles and water if it needs a more significant clean.
  2. Use a hose, or if possible, a high pressure cleaner to remove any dirt left over on the entire deck. Just be sure to check the high pressure cleaner isn’t cracking the wood if your deck is older.
  3. Mix a deck cleaning solution according to the instructions on the label, wearing safety gear including gloves, goggles, and a mask.
  4. Use a scrubbing broom and the bucket of deck cleaner across the entire deck, and allow it to sit for the recommended amount of time (around 10–20 minutes).
  5. Rinse the cleaning solution off with the hose or high pressure cleaner, then leave to dry. 

You can then also stain the surface or use decking oil on the timber to add a layer of protection and improve the appearance of the finish.

Stone Paving vs Timber Decking

Both stone paving and timber decking are used to create a dedicated outdoor space for hosting a bbq, party, or just relaxing, but have some key differences:

  • Materials: Decking is constructed from timber or composite, while paving is made from various types of stone, such as limestone, travertine, or granite, which can be formed into patterns.
  • Construction: Decking is elevated above the ground, while paving is built at ground level. This makes decking more suitable for sloping sites, while paving needs to be laid on flat ground.
  • Cost: Decking boards are most often cheaper than stone, and preparation for decking is simpler and faster, making it overall a cheaper option initially. Though, in the long run, high-quality pavers are more durable and require less maintenance.

person measuring timber

How to Calculate How Much Decking You Need

How much decking do I need? This is a common question when planning out the cost and design of your new deck. If you’re hiring a builder or carpenter, they will be able to determine the ideal timber deck sizes for you. Here are the steps:

  1. Determine the square meterage of your new deck by multiplying the total length and width of the space.
  2. Measure the width of your chosen decking boards, and add the preferred gap between (for example, 5mm) to find a total board width.
  3. Then, work out the lineal metres of your deck by dividing the total square metre value by this total board width (which includes the gap between the boards).
  4. Add 10% to this number to account for timber wastage, and this will give you the total lineal meterage of decking material you’ll need to cover the space.

What are the advantages of decking?

There are a bunch of benefits to building a deck, making it a worthwhile investment for many homeowners. These include:

  • Improving the aesthetic appeal of your home: Decks are available in a variety of colours and finishes, making them easy to match to your surrounding space. They can also be built around your pool to emphasise the appeal of this area.
  • Increases the value of your home: A deck can be attractive to potential buyers in the future, as it adds an extra living space to the home at a relatively reasonable cost.
  • Creates additional opportunities to gather: This means that your family can have a space to spend quality time that extends beyond the kitchen or living area, and is perfect for summer as a spot to enjoy the sun while being social. You’ll also have a place to host parties or barbeques, which can be further enhanced by adding fairy lights, furniture, and even a fire pit for winter gatherings.
  • Acts as a space to recharge: A deck is also the perfect time to spend quality time with yourself, either reading, meditating, or generally enjoying the view of the outdoors, sunshine, and fresh air, which offers considerable physical and mental health benefits.

What is the lifespan of a deck?

The longevity of your deck will depend on how well you look after it. With proper care and maintenance, a timber deck can last around 10 to 15 years, while a composite deck can last from 25 to 30 years, if not longer.

top view of deck with chairs

Is decking high maintenance?

Exposure to environmental elements and general wear-and-tear means that you’ll need to keep on top of cleaning and maintaining your deck regularly. The level of maintenance depends on your chosen material.

It’s recommended to give your timber deck a thorough clean on a yearly basis following the previously mentioned steps, as letting dirt build up on the surface can eventually cause discolouration, mould, and rotting.

You can then inspect for loose, cracked, or rotten boards which should be secured or replaced. Loose screws or nails should be worked back into place, or replaced if rusted.

If your deck has become discoloured or splintered, you can sand it before using a sealer to prevent it from cracking, warping, and to waterproof the surface, making it look good as new. 

Composite decking, as mentioned before, requires less maintenance than real timber. Warm soapy water and a broom can be used to clean it as it gets dirty, and for stubborn stains, a composite deck wash will help. Fortunately, they don’t need to be oiled or stained.

How to Choose the Right Person to Build Your Deck

A deck builder will usually be a licensed carpenter or builder. Determining the most suitable business for the job involves finding someone who can complete the job to the highest standard within your budget.

Here’s how to find the best tradie to construct your new deck.

1. Get Multiple Quotes

Enter the information outlining your decking ideas on, and we'll provide you with a list of local tradespeople who can help do the job.

2. Narrow Down Your Search uses a three-tier badge system to help you make the best choice.

We recommend selecting a tradesperson with the highest level (badge 3 – ‘recommended’) from our three-step verification process.

Badge levels are:

  1. Verified
  2. Trusted
  3. Recommended

3. Do Further Research

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, check out the company’s online presence to get an idea of their reputation and service offering.

View their website and social media pages to see customer reviews and the quality of their work in photos.

Does my deck builder need to be licensed?

This will be determined by your location and the size of the job. Often, decking falls under a licence class such as building or carpentry, but may also have its own specific class in some states. 

Check out your state government and local council websites to determine the licensing requirements in your area.

timber deck between two buildings at sunset

Questions to Ask Your Deck Builder

When deciding between several businesses to build your deck, there are a number of questions you can ask to determine who will be most reliable, professional, and deliver the highest standard of work.

1. Do you have a licence?

As stated above, you should check the website of the relevant regulatory body in each state or territory to determine which type of licence is required to build a deck.

2. Do you guarantee your work?

Ask about the tradie’s policy to discover what happens if they complete the work and it doesn't meet the initial details or the outcome isn't as promised. If they don’t guarantee their work, you may find yourself having to pay more for repairs or changes down the track.

3. Do you have insurance?

If your contractor is uninsured and there's an accident at your property, you may not be covered. Always check if they have appropriate insurance and the value of their policy before they begin working on your deck. As a customer, you're entitled to view insurance documents before the job starts.

4. Can you show references?

A reputable tradie will always be willing to provide reviews, references, and examples of past work. If they're unable to offer these, you may be better off finding another company.

5. What is your clean-up policy?

Be sure to find out the extent to which your tradesperson will clean up after your deck is built so expectations are clear.

6. What are your terms of payment?

Many businesses will have portable EFTPOS devices, but it's always good to clarify payment expectations from the beginning. You may need to pay a deposit upfront, pay in cash, or you’ll just receive an invoice.

As you can see, building a deck can be a highly rewarding investment in your home’s design, and by understanding the process you can ensure the best outcome possible!

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Get quotes from our qualified and licensed tradies Australia-wide.

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