A Decks Value?

There are two questions wrapped up in this one question. The first is, will a deck increase the resale value of my house? The other question is, will a deck increase my enjoyment of my homeOpens in a new tab.? Let’s answer the simpler money question first.

A wood deck will, on average, will increase a home’s value by $10 083 or 75.6% of the wood decks cost. A composite deck, on average, will increase a home’s value by $13 232 or 69.1% of the composite decks’ cost.

The previous numbers come from Remodel.hw.net, which has many national averages for home improvements.  Locally the value of a deck will be affected by several factors. Consider these when determining will your deck add value to your house.

Material Construction

The essentials of any deck, the decking. The material used will affect the cost to build and the resale value. Again, going back to the Remodel national averages, roughly a composite deck will increase the resale value by 30% over pressure-treated deckingOpens in a new tab.. The problem here is that a composite deck will roughly cost twice as much to build. There is some amazing looking composite deckingOpens in a new tab., but the biggest selling feature is maintenance. Composite will save you money and time with less maintenance than wood decking, but when a potential buyer is walking through your house, they do not include this value in their calculation. To them, its, oh nice looking deck, not think about all the time and money they will be saving with composite decking.  Causing them to undervalue the composite deck in there offer. Only increasing the offer for the deck’s appearance and not for the saving in maintenance.

Deck Features

A deck’s features transform it from a backyard platform into an outdoor oasis. Railing, pergolas, benches, privacy walls, waterfall stairs, tiers, planter boxes, just to name a few. These are the features that make a deck of value. A well-designed deck easily doubles in resale value but adding features will not. All decks higher than 24” in Calgary or 30” in many jurisdictions will need a railing for safety. But in regards to features, a fence style board railing will subtract from a decks value as opposed to an aluminum railing with clear glass panels allowing you to enjoy the entire view unhindered. Reduced maintenance and improved value all increase the value of the deck.

Decks are for enjoying. Deck features increasing use and pleasure increase the decks’ resale value. A well place Natural gas hook-up for the deck barbeque is a valuable feature. Or a bench positioned to enjoy the view.

A potential buyer will not be impressed if they step out on the deck to be greeted with your neighbours’ barking dog. Instead, a simple privacy wall sheltering them from the dog’s view and barking. Something they will appreciate, and so will you.

Does the deck design lead someone to envision a popular gathering place? Peaking out the yard, will they think,

“hey, that would be a great gathering place!”

The deck design and features need to raise its value without explanation. Or it’s’ like that hilarious joke that someone that you had to explain. It’s just not funny if it needs to be explained.

We all appreciate beauty. The Wow factor increases how much we value something. All cars will get us from A to B, but it’s the slick design and extra cup holders that increase what we are willing to pay. The same is with a deck. Deck features like pergolas that grab buyers’ attention, comfortable steps that double as sitting areas overlooking the yard. All are helping to increase the value of a deck.

The possibilities are endless of deck features increase value, but it all boils down to functionality and beauty. The more someone can see themselves using the deck. The more they enjoy looking at the deck. The more they will pay for the deck.

Deck Location on Property

Convenience is a large factor here. If it’s a chore to get to and use, well, we just won’t. A deck hard to access, or in a poor location will not add value.

Proximity to House

Especially for barbequing, a deck conveniently by the door leading to the kitchen. Now that’s worth something. A straight path from the kitchen to your barbeque, with no steps in between. Allowing the deck to be used for both outdoor parties and quickly frying up some burgers for supper in the middle of the winter.

Stand-alone deck, tucked in between some well-groomed trees, is beautiful in a large well-manicured acreage yard. But a suburban lot, 50’ x120’ deep, its more an inconvenience then treat. It’s nice to be able to stroll out on the deck without getting your shoes on for the trek out to the deck. A deck attached to your house is better.

We love being outside, enjoying the sun. So, a deck facing south, allowing the sun to bask over it, is of more value. A north-facing deck can be cold with to much shade, not adding value to your house.

Price of House

Ultimately, a potential buyer is buying a house with a deck. Not the other way around, buying a deck with a house. Meaning that your deck’s value must reflect the value of the house. If the house is only worth $250 000, adding a $40 000 deck will not receive full resale value. On the other hand, a $600 000 house, with the same $40 000 decks, will increase the value of the house more. A decks’ style and price need to suit the style and price of the house. 

Regional Climate

You could build an amazing deck on the North Pole, but who besides Santa would pay to use that deck for a few days every summer. The more potential deck days, the more value it is. A sunny, warm climate allows more deck days. Thus people are more willing to pay more for the deck when you sell your house.

A city like Calgary with 333 days on average of sunshine, with over 52% of the daylight hours, sunshine is a climate suited to enjoying a deck. Unfortunately, in Calgary, some of those sunny days may be in winter. So to use that deck for all 333 days, you will need a deck heater or two. Beautiful sunshine, yes, but it is getting close to that North Pole, compared to California, which has both seasonal warmth and sun.

Regional climate is not a hard and fast rule concerning a deck’s value. But if home buyers in your area are not thinking about enjoying the outdoors on a deck, if that is foreign to them. They simply will not think of the added value of a deck.

Increased Curb Appeal, lost in backyard

Let’s face it; most decks are in the backyard. Providing a wonderful personal space to enjoy together, but curb appeal is lost. The easiest way to add value to a house is, curb appeal. The second someone drives up to the curb, they get a sense of what the house is worth, simply by how it looks from the curb. But your deck tucked around in the back, is only seen after they have walked through the entire house. The potential buyer has already determined value base off the front of the house and its interior before even seeing the amazing deck.

Valuing Your Deck, Yourself

All the reasons we discussed for resale apply to your own valuing of your deck. A deck provides much personal value, regardless if it provides full resale value. A NAR study reveals

 “Three out of four homeowners (77%) said they have a greater desire to be home since completing the project. Some 51% have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are at home, and 77% feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project. These responses earned decks a “joy score” of 9.7%.”

NAR study

The best value in a deck is in your own personal value and enjoyment. The good news is most things that you value in your deck. Future owners will also value.

Staging Your Deck for Sale

When it does come time to sell your house and deck with it, here are a few things to help it show its true value.

Sweep and wash your deck. A clean shirt is worth twice as much as a dirty one of the floor. The same for your deck, a quick sweep and wash it down with the garden house will clean it up to be enjoyed.

The same as your house, declutter your deck for people can freely walk around and sense the potential the deck has not the clutter. People pay more for potential. Two chairs suggest a sitting area better than three chairs cramped together.

But till the time comes to sell your house, build and use your deck; however, it best provides you joy. Getting all the value out of it, then if the next person doesn’t value it fully, at least, you received full value.

Ryan Nickel

A Red Seal carpenter, passionate about building decks to be enjoyed.

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