THE COST OF BUILDING A VERANDAH
Verandahs and decks are an iconic part of the true country home, and not only do we build a lot of them, but we’ve become quite an authority on them. But one enquiry that’s thrown our way from time to time is that the cost of a verandah & deck can seem high. But high in relation to what? So let’s briefly talk about the cost of building a verandah along with that beautiful timber deck.
We believe there may be a misconception out there that decks and verandahs are ‘just some timbers screwed together and anyone can do it’. While this may have some element of truth to it, when the rubber hits the road there’s a lot more to it – there’s a lot more beneath the surface of a deck than meets the eye.
First up, a qualified builder designs & constructs everything according to the Building Code of Australia (now called the National Construction Code), and also the Australian Standards. These extensive regulations set out by the government are both clear and stringent on the requirements for decking and verandahs, and they stipulate everything from the size of the timbers used to the method of fixing. So it’s not like a DIY afternoon where you grab some timber from the hardware store and screw it together and hope for the best.
Building a verandah and deck the professional way involves getting plans drawn up with the right timber sizes, the correct spacings, the accurate depth of footings, the suitable fixing methods and the slope of the roof designed correctly.
It will involve a draftsperson working along with an engineer to get it all sorted on paper. And it has to be designed to meet a certain load. This means that it has to be able to hold up a certain amount of weight and people walking on it at the same time without buckling or sagging. We’ve seen some DIY verandahs that were extremely undersized and sagged badly even without weight under them – a lot cheaper, but not good.
And then there’s getting the right guys to do the job. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea to build decks and verandahs – it’s a skill. It involves getting everything straight and correct, making sure the spacings are right, and that it all meets the requirements of the building surveyor when they come along to check it after it’s completed. To the average person it may not seem obvious, but there are a lot of nuances in how a deck is built and whether it’s done correctly.
Those finishing touches are so important. Like returning the outside perimeter decking board around the end of a verandah to ‘finish it off’ instead of having open cut edges. And pre-drilling the decking screws to prevent the decking boards splitting. And making sure the decking boards are spaced correctly and perfectly aligned so it doesn’t look like a dogs breakfast. And even making sure all the decking screws are in the same alignment. Lots of little things that may not seem important but all add up to a beautiful deck. But it’s not done in a day, it takes time to do a job properly.
And then there’s the sheer overall size of a deck. We’ve had it before where someone says why is my verandah and deck $75,000? Well, let’s look at some scenarios. Let’s say you wanted a verandah the whole way around your home, and your home is a 4 bedroom home with 2 living areas – say 20 mtrs long x 10mtrs wide to make the calculations easier. Say the verandah is 2mtrs wide, that’s 22mtrs long each side + 10mtrs across each end. That’s 64 linear metres of decking & verandah, or a whopping 128 square metres. How big is the home? 200 square metres.
So that means the space on your deck is nearly 2/3rds the size of your whole home – that’s enormous. So, is the cost of the home only 1/3rd more than the cost of your decking? – no way!
But it still has a solid floor that meets the code, and a roof overhead that’s designed to catch the water correctly. And it’s all painted and designed to last. It’s at this point that the penny starts to drop as to the true cost of building a verandah. They’re not cheap, but when you stand back and look at it they’re not expensive either – it just is what it is.
Of course, we’re not saying there are handymen out there who can whip up a small deck in their backyard without a permit and do it on the cheap – that’s their choice and we’re not here to comment on that. But a professional builder has to – and wants to – do things the better way.
Like we’ve heard before, there’s cheap, or there’s quick, or there’s quality. But you can only have two of these, you can’t have three together.
So our observation is on how to understand the cost of your beautiful deck and verandah as look at it as an investment, just like your home. And enjoy it!
As always, feel free to ask for more information.
Disclaimer. This blog is our opinion only. The information provided in our blogs is accurate and true to the best of our knowledge, but there may be omissions, errors or mistakes. The information presented in our blogs is for informational purposes only and we are not professionals, so the content we provide shouldn’t be taken as legal advice. We strongly recommend consulting with a professional before taking any sort of action. We reserve the right to change how we manage our blog and we may change the focus or content at any time.
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