Build a redwood deck
Redwood is the top of the line of natural deck materials because even under the worst conditions it resists decay, insects and weathering -- and it always looks good. It's not a trivial expense, but consider it a long-term investment in the overall value of your home.

To build a small, one-level, 300-square-foot redwood deck with corrosion-resistant, self-tapping deck screws, a deck contractor will charge $5,739, which includes the material and labor. If you have carpentry experience and tools, you can buy the lumber and fasteners for $2,500 and build it yourself, pocketing a 56 percent saving. You can find redwood lumber at lumberyards; however, depending on where you live, the material may have to be custom ordered.

To protect the material and your investment, apply a water-repellant finish that contains mildew and ultraviolet inhibitors. Apply the finish directly to the lumber covering all sides, edges and ends before construction. After the deck is built, apply the finish again.

When planning a deck, check your property survey to make sure you know where your property line begins and ends, and ask the local building department about restrictions and requirements. Also, check with your local utility company to find out if there are service lines or pipes where you plan to dig the deck footings.

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Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$5,739 -- $2,500 -- 75.0 -- 100.0 -- $3,239 -- 56 Percent