How To Build A Porch Cheap

Extending your outdoor living space by building a deck doesn’t need to cost thousands of dollars. There are many ways as a DIYer that you can build a quality that will give you years of pleasure. If you’re wondering what the cheapest way to build a deck is, we’re here to help.

Building a deck yourself saves all the labor costs. Using free plans or creating your own design saves money too. Sourcing some or all of the building materials and tools for free or cheaply also contributes to keeping expenses down when building a deck on a budget.

In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the most inexpensive ways to build a deck, how to source free plans and materials, and how to build one on a budget. We’ll explain the tools required, foundation options, freestanding vs elevated, plus framing and decking suggestions. We’ll even break down the costs of building a 10×10 deck. Our goal is to provide you with the information necessary to build an affordable quality deck.

The cost of building a deck includes plans and permits, the materials for the foundation, framing, decking, stairs, and railings. It may even include some landscaping. No matter who builds the deck, those costs must be borne. If you build the deck, it’s your time and labor, so, aside from Band-Aids and beverages, it’s free. Therefore, building your own deck is cheaper.

Hiring others to do the work will save your time, labor, and blisters, however, it will significantly add to the cost – doubling or tripling the material costs. Those hired usually have the know-how, experience, and tools, all of which are included in their charge. They will also complete the task within a set timeframe, which is often shorter than the DIYer’s.

If you’re looking for an exact dollar value between a DIYer’s labor costs and those charged by the professionals, yours is free. Those hired may or may not charge what you earn in an hour, but they also need to make a living and cover expenses. Expect to pay between $10 and $25 or more per square foot for labor, in addition to the material costs.

Decks built to simple plans using free materials are the cheapest to build. That means a ground-level free-standing deck is less expensive than one with similar dimensions attached to a house and raised off the ground. The most inexpensive deck is probably one made from free pallets.

Acquiring pallets for free from local stores or businesses may take some time and possibly some discussion with the business, however, many just stack unwanted pallets outside their buildings, free for the taking. Arranging similar-sized pallets on leveled, slightly sloped ground so the slats are parallel or form a checkerboard pattern can create an attractive avant-garde or eclectic-looking deck.

Using extra pallet wood to fill in the spaces between slats provides for a deck that will support patio furniture and the BBQ. Staining or painting the slats protects them from the elements and provides a uniform finish. Alternatively, paint the slats or whole pallets different colors to express your own personal flair. Your only cost for this deck is the paint you use.

The cheapest way to build a deck is to do the work yourself, so the labor is free and materials are the only expense. Sourcing the materials and any tools from online community marketplaces like Craigslist, construction site cast-offs – with permission – seconds or damaged stock at lumber yards, free or low-cost pallets, or other places offering low cost or free materials are all ways to build an inexpensive deck.

One expense you don’t want to skip is the building permit if one is required. It’s commonly a fixed cost based on the size and value of the structure planned, and where you reside. The permit usually requires a detailed plan and material list, along with a dollar value.

1. Find Free or Cheap Deck Plans

Plans can be acquired online or from books for free, or even homemade. The larger and more intricate or customized the design, the greater the costs and skill level required. Select a plan that suits your needs and skill level. The design can be slightly above your skill comfort level, but shouldn’t be beyond it if you’re doing the work.

2. Tools

Past generations and even many builders today rely on commonly available hand tools.

  • A pencil
  • 25-foot tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Nail remover
  • Handsaw
  • Brace and bit
  • Framing level
  • Framing square
  • String line
  • String level
  • Hand plane
  • Nails
  • Nail-set
  • Wrench or socket set

are all you need to build a deck or even a house. Also, a shovel, pick, rake, and wheelbarrow are handy for footing and groundwork, and for mixing and moving concrete. Four to twelve wooden stakes for marking corners and aligning supports are helpful too, as are a couple of clamps for holding boards in place. A tool belt or nail pouch is helpful too, but not necessary.

3. Foundation

The purpose of a foundation is to provide lateral stability, distribute the load to the ground, and create a level building surface. The foundation needs to meet the load expectations of the deck it will carry.

Foundation or footing requirements for ground-level decks differ from those that are elevated and attached to a dwelling, so check the Codes or with the local building department. There are many types of footing options, here are the least expensive for a floating deck, plus the best for an elevated one too.

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