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Hourly Rate of a deck to be made?

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  1. #1
    Apprentice (new member)
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    melbourne/ australia

    Default Hourly Rate of a deck to be made?

    Hello, What would be the Hourly Rate of someone to build a deck on average?

    Does anybody know anyone who is good at building a deck in the Wantirna South, Vic area?

    Had a quote to build a 68.5 m2 Merbau deck using 140x19 and 90x19 boards for a grand total of $18000. We are trying to work out the cost of materials for us to build instead. It's going around a pool area. How long would it take my husband to build? Is it worth to pay someone or do it ourselves?

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Cheers Mrs Shifty

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Melbourne, Australia


    Thats a very large deck you have there....
    There is no real "calculator" you can punch in as every job is different, different ground, diff materials, for the 18k, what did they use? stirrups? cypress pine posts? is it screwed down decking, are you getting balustrading? etc.

    To work something like this out, I split every piece of the deck up into peices, find out how much 'pieces' and 'length's' i'll need, then i add the cost all up.

    First find out how many liner meters of merbau you would need. This is your most expensive part.

    Find out how many posts/stirrups you would need

    Stirrups/posts should be no more than 1500 apart.. (so get your width and length and cut it down to 1500mm squares..)

    Bearers will run along the stirrups/posts, 140x45 treated pine, work out how many of them you'll need

    Joists will sit on top of them, no more than 450mm apart, they are 90x45, work out how many of them you'll need.

    Work out how many screw's you'll need. So divide your width by the board your using (say 5000mm divided by 140mm boards will give you 35 boards), each board will need 2 screws per joist, so multiply that by the amount of joists you have...

    You'll need coach bolts to bolt the bearers into the posts/stirrups, Find out how many of them you'll need...

    Once you know how much material you will need, you can just price it all up.
    Factor waste (about 15% - depending how good you are)

    Generally I've found, that when a tradie quotes for building a deck, if you half it, its your rough cost of material.....but if you need permits etc, then that cost will go up.

    Buy the alan staines book. its well worth the investment...the weather is also pretty terrible of late...this may take you a very long time do if its a weekend project job...


  3. #3
    Mr Sexy Beast dazzler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Northern Rivers NSW


    At the very least you are going to need about $5000 in merbau alone;

    (90mm boards you will need 11 lineal metres per square metre, you have 68.5m2 so factor in 80m2 for wastage and you will need 880 lineal metres @ $6.00 ish lineal metre which is about $5200)

    Thats just for the boards.

    You then need all the timber for the bearers and joists and posts, stirrups, footing concrete, dig the holes, nails to fix boards, hardware for bolting posts to bearers and stirrups, oil for the deck.

    To build it you will need a Mitre Saw, tape measure, builders square, level, nail gun or big strong arm and hammer, nail punch, string lines, drill, drill bits, spanners, post hole digger (power or mechanical or hand) paint brush and rollers, circular saw and probably a few other things that seem to have you running down to the shops.

    You will need the knowledge and time to build it and there would be at least three to five days work.

    Using the double the costs of materials as a very general rule you are probably close to the mark at $18k.

    You could probably build it yourself including buying the tools you will need (hire the post hole digger) for maybe $10 to $12. You will get all the help you need from the good folk on the forum.

    If you are prepared to get in and help hubby then I would say go for it. You will learn some good skills, save $6k and can have some pride in the end product.
    I just love sheepies!

  4. #4
    Rigid Member UteMad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    for accurate hourly rate you will need to talk to someone in your area as i know it fluctuates where we are massively in only 100km .. Hourly rate is fine but take care as you get what you pay for and quite often you get the bottom of the barrel as the good guys are off running there own projects as you are basically trying to skim there profit from the job by buying the gear yourself.. so if you think about it you will tend to get guys with no work or dont have a clientell of there own.. considering our suppliers hold the burden of our stock for 60 days we wont do hourly for any customer except on high end construction work ( not decks ) as you buying the gear saves us nothing. but always slows us or creates headaches.. plus factor you will be responsible for getting rid of all rubbish and excess stock and damaged gear and short falls in stock and delays with getting deliveries.. Some guys will charge for rain days and part days and picking up materials also .. look carefully before taking the plunge, in the current environment it is very unlikely that they will be making a profit on you anyway..

    Good luck with your project

    cheers utemad

  5. #5
    Oink! Oink! pawnhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005


    Good advice from everyone here. I'll expand a bit;

    I only allow 5% wastage (unless it's a hassle to pick up an extra stick if you need it, then I'd allow 10%), but it depends on how long the lengths you get are. I've found that from a decent supplier they'd average at least 2m long (I'm talking average length here, some longer and some shorter). Worst case is you get 400mm off cut, and best case is you get zero. The average of 200mm is 10%, however I set out my joists @ 450 crs from one end, and the last space is whatever is left over. If it's half the normal spacing (or 225mm), then your 400mm off cut becomes only 175mm if you start from that end. If there's zero off cut, then start from the other end with that particular board. Having a shorter spacing between the last joist at one end, allows you to deal with what may otherwise be a huge pile of off cuts. I've rarely ever run short allowing just 5%.

    I use a 3" nail as a spacer, which is 3.75mm gauge. So; 1000 / (90 + 3.75) = 10.666,,, boards per metre. A bit less than 11 boards, and there'll be 3% less left overs. So; 68.6 x 10.666,,, = 732 x 0.05 (waste) = 36.6 + 732 = 769 lm

    I use Barrenjoey timbers for pricing estimations. They're not necessarily the cheapest, but they have all their prices on line so they're handy to use without having to jump on the phone. But being in Sydney, I can get timber from them whereas you can't, so check your local prices;

    90x19 Merbau Decking kiln dried = $5.15 x 769 = $3,960
    That's over 20% less than what Dazz has allowed, mainly because of the price difference.

    140mm boards cost more per square metre if you want to work it out;
    140x25 Merbau decking $12.50

    Follow oohsam's instructions for calculating your bearers and joists.
    Assuming a 7m x 10m deck you get;

    Bearers 140 x 45 ; 6 x 10 = 60 x $8.25 = $495

    Joists 90 x 45 ; 17 x 7 = 119 x $5.50 = $ 655

    So $1,150 + 5% = $1,210 for your bearers and joists.

    Posts 90 x 90 (depends on height. I'm allowing 40 x 0.5); 20 x $15.95 = $319

    Hire a post hole digger, or get a guy with one on a bobcat. $?

    Each pier carries 2.24 m^2, but edge piers carry half, and corner piers only carry a quarter, so the layout can affect the number of piers, especially if the increments aren’t divisible by 1.5 and you need to close the spacing.

    Assuming 40 piers @ 300 dia x 400 deep (depends on your foundations) you get;
    3.14159 x 0.3 x 0.3 x 0.4 x 40 = 4.5 cubic metres of concrete @ about $200? Per m3 = $900

    Stirrups would cost about $10 each, so $400.

    A 5kg box of 3" galv nails is close to $50 at a guess, and that should be enough?, but you could work out exactly how many kilos you'd use if you're fanatical. Allow $100. You can work out all your coach screws (or bolts if you want a stronger job), but for guesstimation I'd allow another $200. There's a big difference between the cost of using galv nails, or stainless screws on the decking. Nails would probably cost less than $100, but stainless screws are another matter altogether, so make sure you factor in whatever type of screws if you're using them.

    If you're using a ledger plate attached to the house, then you may need masonry bolts and joist hangers.

    I make it about $7.5K for all the kit, without allowing for any coatings (oil, polly, spa'ndeck, etc).

    You've said nothing about; handrails, steps, or pergolas, but if it's just a deck, then I reckon it's for whoever quoted you $18k, if you give them the job.

    There's a few decking specialists on the boards who may throw in their two bob's worth, and like Daz says, you'll get plenty of advice here if you need it, so strap on a nail bag yourself, and give hubby a kick in the bum.

    If you post some photos, and give dimensions of where you want the deck, you'd get more detailed advice.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)

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