How to Create an High-End Deck With a Low-End Budget

We live by the beach and have a beautiful marsh view from our backyard. This past spring we decided to demolish our old, small deck and create a wrap-around deck so we can increase our outdoor entertainment space and take advantage of the beautiful views. The only issue with this project is that it can quickly become expensive. My husband is very nifty and we managed to spend about $2,500 to get this beautiful finished product.

To do this we saved the salvageable pieces from the old deck. We also purchased a large, already assembled deck. We went to an estate sale and the owner said they wanted to sell their deck they had just built the previous year. We paid $300 for an already assembled 10’ x 16’ platform that we removed and brought to our house. We then attached this platform to footings and the house and from there the additional decking was added.

We took this already assembled deck and transported it on a flatbed trailer to our house to create a large deck.

Within two weeks we had the entire platform portion of the deck completed.

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Rather than use the traditional spindles on the railings, we wanted to modernize the deck so we could take advantage of our beautiful water views. We thought it would be less expensive to use galvanized cable than spindles as well. After a trip to the home improvement store we quickly found out it was going to be very expensive to use galvanized cable on the deck railings. For basic cable—with no bells and whistles and self-installation—it was going to cost approximately $2,600. This was more than what we paid for all the lumber on the deck.

My husband quickly came up with an alternative idea that was going to save us thousands of dollars. He went to the home improvement store and came home with electrical zinc-coated conduit piping. He said this would work just as well as the cable and was going to cost us less than $200.

Electrical zinc-coated conduit piping.

He used a sawzall to cut the piping and attached it to the deck with conduit clamps/brackets. He added plastic caps at the end of the piping to prevent bees from forming nests inside. The final cost to add all the piping, including screws, bolts, etc., came to about $175.

Tools to install piping.
conduit clamps/brackets
Installation of the piping.
Final product.

We literally saved thousands of dollars and we still get to see the beautiful marsh views from our new deck.

The total project took about three weeks to complete.

View from the deck.
Final product.
Final product.

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