How much does decking cost with materials and installation? – Rated People Blog

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The prices in this guide are accurate as of 2023* 

Picture of an illustration of a woman thinking about decking prices, which are labelled around her head with small illustrations of homes with decks

A well installed garden deck can create the perfect place for you to enjoy your outdoor space. Whether you want to relax with a good book, or host a dinner party, a garden deck is an aesthetic addition to your home. It’s not surprising that adding an outdoor entertainment area is such a popular home improvement project

The great thing about garden decking is that it doesn’t take long to install and is easier to build than a patio, another common garden landscaping option.  

There are loads of material and design options for you to choose from, giving you a lot of creative licence for how you want your garden to look.  

You will need to look after your decking if you want to avoid it warping, splintering, or cracking, especially if you opt for a wooden deck. This guide also includes maintenance costs and considerations. 

Picture of a garden deck with beige furniture and greenery

You could spend anywhere from £800 to £9,000 on a new deck, depending on a few factors: 

  1. Your choice of materials  
  1. The size decking you want  
  1. How complex the design is  
  1. Where you live in the UK (cost to hire labour rises in London and the South East) 
  1. Preparation work, such as excavations  

This guide will always clarify where prices include cost of labour and materials, and where it refers to them separately. They do not include VAT. 

What garden decking should you get?

Picture of a wooden garden deck with a low table and seating area

If you’re thinking of getting a garden deck, you’ve probably already thought through your options, and decided you don’t want a patio (the other popular garden landscaping option).  

The next decision you’ll need to make is what decking boards you want your deck to be made of. There are plenty of options for you to choose from.  

Wood decking is by far the most popular choice, and is also considered the most aesthetic, though it can be more expensive to have installed and to maintain than some other decking materials.  

On the other hand, PVC requires little maintenance, but has a synthetic look and feel to it that a lot of people consider unattractive. 

The most popular options are:  

Type of decking   Pros  Cons 
PVC decking  Weather resistant  Eco-friendly  Easy to install Little maintenance or finish needed  Prone to UV damage  Has a synthetic look Difficult to repair  
Composite decking  Lightweight  Doesn’t stain, warp or splinter  Prone to mould and mildew  Has a synthetic look  
Trex decking  Made from 95% recycled materials / eco-friendly  Doesn’t warp  Resistant to rot    You can’t refinish it after installation  Expensive to repair  
Hardwood decking  Resistant to rot Fire-resistant  Long-lasting  Low maintenance   Can be difficult to source and install Regular maintenance 
Softwood decking  Resistant to rot  Doesn’t warp  Shorter lifespan (10-15 years) Requires most maintenance  
IPE decking  Long-lasting  Low-maintenance  Durable material  Harder to install  Prone to rusting  Heavy  
Types of garden decking and their pros and cons 

Decking is a good option for sloped gardens, as it can be elevated to level your ground. If you have a sloping garden, decking might be your best, and sometimes only, solution. 

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How much does garden decking cost?

Picture of a small garden deck with a wooden fence and a heating lamp

Installing high quality garden decking can add up to £11,000 to the value of your property, making it a smart investment. 

If you have a busy lifestyle, you probably don’t have time to mow your lawn frequently. Decking also requires less frequent cleaning than a patio. All you need to do is sweep your deck every now and then, with an annual pressure washing and sealing of your deck covering the rest. 

No matter the shape or size of your garden, your tradespeople will be able to cut and fit your deck to size, making it a great, versatile option. A professionally installed deck can last you upwards of 15 years. 

The below prices look at installation for a range of un-elevated deck sizes and include cost of labour and materials. 

Decking material   15 square metre garden deck (materials and installation)  30 square metre garden deck (materials and installation)  60 square metre garden deck (materials and installation)  90 square metre garden deck (materials and installation) 
uPVC decking  £800 – £1,200  £1,200 – £1,600  £1,600 – £2,200  £2,200 – £2,800 
Composite decking  £1,900 – £2,000  £3,400 – £3,700  £4,900 – £5,350  £6,500 – £7,000 
Trex decking  £1,350 – £1,650  £2,300 – £3,000  £3,250 – £4,250  £4,200 – £5,600 
Hardwood decking  £1,550 – £1,700  £2,250 – £3,000  £3,400 – £4,300  £5,000 – £6,000 
Softwood decking  £1,000 – £1,200  £1,600 – £2,000  £2,200 – £2,800  £2,800 – £3,500 
IPE decking  £2,400 – £2,600  £4,600 – £4,800  £6,400 – £6,900  £8,500 – £9,000 
Decking costs, according to material  

When it comes to wooden decking, prices will also range depending on the type of softwood or hardwood you buy. Softwood options include yellow pine, larch, redwood, and cedar, whereas oak and balau are the most common hardwood choices. 

The average decking job takes one to two days to complete. 

How much you spend will depend on a lot of different factors, including your choice of design for your deck, and the complexity of the installation (will your tradespeople have to build around things like trees?). For a more accurate quote, let us know what you have in mind, and speak to a skilled deck installer today.

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Additional decking prices

Picture of a newly built garden deck

You might want your deck installed with a railing, with individual handrails costing between £15 and £25. On the other hand, decking balustrades start from around £100 for a 20-piece balustrade kit, but can go up in price to several hundred pounds, or even more, depending on the size and material you want. Individual decking spindles cost as little as £2 to £4, whilst decking post caps cost as little as £1.50 to £3.50 each. 

Decking stairs usually cost anywhere from £200 to £400. An anti-weed membrane (to protect your decking) will cost anywhere from £10 to £30 per item. 

If you want decking lights, you will need to install garden landscape wiring, which a professional can do in around four to eight hours, and for anywhere between £150 and £500. You will then have to pay for the outdoor lights, which come in a wide range of prices that start from around £20 to £50 per light, including installation.  

If you don’t want to do this, you could opt for solar and waterproof wireless deck lights that you stick to your deck with tape, and which cost anywhere from £30 per light.  

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How do you maintain decking?

Picture of a person maintaining a garden deck by applying protective varnish

There are several maintenance requirements when it comes to decking, to ensure that your deck continues to look good for many years. 

The most important thing you can do is wash your deck. This helps prevent mould and mildew forming, which in turn can cause rot. 

In order to do this, first sweep your deck to get rid of debris and leaves. You can use a knife or another tool to get rid of rubbish that has gotten stuck in between deck boards. You might want to move plants out of the way to keep them protected.  

Next, you’ll need a deck cleaner. The one you get will depend on the type of deck (material) you have. Whether the floor needs to be wet first will depend on the cleaner you purchase – just follow the instructions on the label. Deck cleaner costs around £15 to £35, depending on the type of deck you have and the brand of cleaner you get. 

Use a broom, brush, or garden sprayer to apply the product. Make sure you don’t use too much water, then scrub the deck clean. You will probably need to let the deck soak for a handful of minutes before rinsing with clean water. Wait two days before you seal your deck. 

In order to then seal your deck, you will need to purchase a sealer to create the perfect finish. You can get clear sealers for wooden decking, toners that add more colour and protect against sunlight, or even semi-transparent or solid stainers. 

Sealer should be applied once a year, over the course of two days. You should go for days with good weather and clear skies. First, lightly sand the deck to remove imperfections. Then apply the sealer with a roller. If any screws need replacing, do this before you apply the deck sealant.  

You can buy sealers online for around £40 – £50 for a five litre sealant. 

Make sure to inspect your deck every so often for signs of rot, cracks, rotten boards, or joist damage, so you know when it needs maintenance work. This will maintain the look and health of your deck for as long as possible. 

If you fail to look after your deck, it could get damaged. On average, decking repair costs between £150 and £500, depending on the extent of damage, and where you live in the UK (cost of labour ranges). 

Do you need planning permission for a deck?

Putting up decking in your garden is permitted development, which means you don’t need to apply for planning permission to have one installed, as long as: 

  • The deck is less than 30cm above ground 
  • The deck doesn’t cover more than 50 per cent of the garden area (including extensions and outbuildings) 
  • The decking isn’t on land that is forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.  

Other rules apply if you live in a listed building or in flats, converted houses, or areas with other restrictions. For more information, access the Planning Portal decking page. 

How to save money on a new garden

Picture of a wooden deck being built

Decking is one of the more budget-friendly landscaping options, but it still requires you to budget and plan ahead for how much you might spend. Though we don’t recommend you try and cut corners to save money, there are some tips you can follow to make smart, budget-friendly decisions during your decking installation. 

  1. Wood is the most popular option for decking, but it is also the most expensive to maintain, with annual cleaning and staining. For those looking to save money, composite decking is considered the best alternative, saving you time in maintenance as well. 
  1. Make the most of seasonal deals and offers, and make sure you make smart purchases and only buy what you need, to avoid overspending and creating waste. The best way to do this is by planning ahead and making sure you get all the right measurements for your garden deck ahead of time.  
  1. Don’t over-complicate your deck design. It’s easy to get carried away during the planning stage, but the more complex your design is, and the more your tradespeople will have to work around things like trees, the more the overall project is going to cost. Stay away from add-ons as well – you can always purchase those further down the line, as they’re not necessary during the initial installation and you might find that you don’t want or need them later. 
  1. Think twice before going with softwood decking. Softwood is cheaper than hardwood (up front) but it costs more to maintain and has a shorter lifespan. If you do want wooden decking, spending a bit more on hardwood will save you money in the long run. 
  1. Always hire skilled labour. You might think you’re saving money by hiring more cost-friendly tradespeople, but this can lead to problems down the line if your decking isn’t installed properly. Hiring professionals with experience and expertise is always a good idea, even if it might cost you a little more to begin with. 

If you’re thinking of getting a garden deck, let us know what you have in mind, and get some free quotes today.

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Conclusions

Picture of a wooden garden deck with wooden staircase

A garden deck can help you make the most of your outdoor space, host parties and dinners, and lounge in the sun during the warmer months.  

Which material you opt for will have an impact on how long your decking will last, and it’s maintenance. We recommend you look after your deck and clean it regularly, to ensure it’s lifespan. 

How much you’ll end up spending will be impacted by a range of factors, including where you live in the UK, as cost of labour rises in London and the South East.  

For a more accurate quote on how much your garden decking will cost, get into contact with some skilled garden landscapers. We recommend you shop around for a few quotes before you settle on your tradespeople.

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The Rated People cost guides are produced in collaboration with the quote-building platform PriceBuilder, and a range of tradespeople across the 30+ trades on our platform were consulted. Please note that the prices included are for guidance only – how much you end up spending will depend on the specific requirements of your project.

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