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7 Factors that Affect Composite Deck Builder Costs

November 2nd, 2023 | 4 min read

By Isabelle Braeutigam

factors that affect composite deck builder costs custom built michigan

Imagine the Michigan summer breeze gently rustling through the trees as you sip your morning coffee on your newly built composite deck. The vision is undoubtedly appealing, and for many Michigan homeowners, it's a dream they aspire to turn into reality.

However, embarking on a composite deck project involves overcoming various challenges, primarily related to understanding the costs involved. Many people are eager to invest in a composite deck but lack insights into the numerous factors influencing the cost. This lack of knowledge often leads to unexpected expenses and frustrations.

To address this problem, it's crucial to seek guidance from experts who can unravel the complexities and nuances of composite deck builders' costs in Michigan. With 15+ years of experience creating stunning decks, we’re here to offer valuable insights, ensuring that you get the most value from your investments.

In this article, we will explore the various factors that affect the costs associated with composite deck builders in Michigan: 

  • Size and Layout of the Deck

  • Choice of Composite Decking Material

  • Structural and Site Conditions

  • Local Building Codes and Permits

  • Choice of Railing Systems and Accessories

  • Labor and Installation Complexity

  • Managing Project Costs

By the end, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of these factors, enabling you to make informed decisions for your deck project.

Whether you're aiming for a spacious elevated deck with intricate design details or a simple ground-level space, knowing the cost determinants will help you plan your budget effectively. With expert guidance, you can embark on your deck-building journey with confidence, ensuring your project is completed smoothly and successfully.

1. Size and Layout of the Deck

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The size and layout of your composite deck are perhaps the most significant factors affecting the overall cost. The more complex the design, the more materials and labor will be required. Here are some design elements that can impact your costs:

  • Ground-Level Decks: A simple ground-level deck with no stairs or railings will cost less.

  • Hexagonal Decks: These unique designs need more cuts and additional posts, further driving up labor and material costs.

  • Mitered Stairs: If you prefer mitered stairs over regular ones, be prepared for the extra expense, as they require more cuts and structural soundness.

  • Elevated Decks: If you're planning an elevated deck, this can add to the cost due to the need for additional posts, height considerations, and more stairs.

  • Curved Deck Design: Curved decks look stunning and are more complex to build. The right materials and skilled labor are necessary, often lumber yards need to pre-curve materials.

2. Choice of Composite Decking Materials

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PC: Trex

Your choice of composite decking materials also plays a significant role in determining project costs. For example, different composite materials have varying price points and requirements. Trex, a prominent composite decking manufacturer, offers various product lines, such as Trex Select, Trex Enhance, Trex Transcend, and Trex Transcend Lineage. 

  • Weight of Materials: Heavier composite materials may require more than one person to handle, which can increase labor costs.

  • Scratch Resistance: If you're concerned about scratches, select higher-grade composite materials like Trex Transcend or Transcend Lineage. However, being their most durable boards, these lines are also more expensive.

3. Structural and Site Conditions

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Site-specific conditions can affect your project's complexity and cost. Factors to consider include:

  • Demolition: The cost may rise if the existing deck or site needs significant demolition.

  • Soil Conditions: The soil grade and condition can impact your project. Building on hills, reshaping landscaping, or preparing the ground differently can lead to higher costs.

  • Weather Considerations: Depending on your location in Michigan, your deck may need to withstand heavy snow and rain. This might necessitate additional structural support and materials.

4. Local Building Codes and Permitting

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Local building codes, Homeowners' Association (HOA) regulations, and permitting requirements can vary widely. It's essential to account for these factors in your budget:

  • HOA Regulations: Some HOAs have specific rules regarding deck construction, which can impact your design and materials.

  • Permitting: Getting the right permits can be time-consuming and potentially costly. Costs for permits vary greatly depending on your county's fees. Additionally, a general contractor can navigate this for you, reducing the time involved, it will cost more than using a specialized deck builder.

5. Choice of Railing Systems and Accessories

trex signature railing on composite deck builder costs custom built michigan

PC: Trex

The type of railing system and accessories you choose can also influence costs:

  • On-Site Railing: Building railings on-site takes more time, increasing labor costs.

  • Material Choice: Materials like glass railings, wired railings, or unique lighting features can add to the cost due to labor and material expenses.

6. Labor and Installation Complexity

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The complexity of labor and installation can significantly impact your budget. Composite decks are relatively straightforward to install, but these factors can affect costs:

  • Material Bending: While composite decking allows for some bending, excessive bending, curving, and shaping will increase labor costs.

  • W2 Employees vs. Subcontractors: Deck builders with in-house employees often offer more cost-effective services than subcontractors. Subcontractors may include additional business fees in their costs.

7. Managing Project Costs

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Several other factors can influence the cost of your composite deck, including whether the crew is in-house, warranty and maintenance considerations, and the type of contractor you choose:

  • Type of Contractor: Consider the differences between design-build firms, general contractors, specialized deck builders, and a local handyman. The service you choose can affect your costs.

  • Warranty and Maintenance: Understanding the warranty and maintenance offered by your contractor is essential. Some builders may provide more comprehensive follow-up services which could save you money with time.

Next Steps to Hiring a Composite Deck Builder

Finding the proper composite deck builder is important for your project. However, it’s equally important to understand the costs behind those professional services. Without considering the factors, your project might incur hidden costs that you didn’t prepare for, leading to unnecessary stress and anxiety.

With this knowledge, you're better equipped to approach your composite decking project strategically. Consider your unique requirements and preferences carefully, and remember that investing in high-quality materials, expert builders, and compliance with local regulations can lead to a deck that not only enhances your home but also ensures long-lasting value.

As you start your composite deck journey, remember that Custom Built stands ready to bring your outdoor living space vision to life. For the past 15+ years, our commitment to quality and compliance with industry standards has ensured that our clients’ investments have stood the test of time.

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Now that you know more about the factors that affect composite deck builder costs, let’s explore what the first step of the Custom Built Proven Process looks like with your build, how much your future outdoor living space will cost, and the best composite decking brands:

Isabelle Braeutigam

Isabelle has worked at Custom Built for 7 years, learning the Custom Built Systems from all sides. She has become an industry advisor in the customer relations software HubSpot, has a keen talent for elements of design, and currently leads the marketing team under the innovative TAYA system.