How Long Does It Take to Build a Deck: Factors and Timelines
The time it takes to build a deck heavily varies based on deck size, design, decking materials, weather conditions, and the workers’ experience/pace. While a small and simple deck can take as little as a couple of weeks to pull together, multilevel decks or custom decks can take 6+ months from the design stage to the final build.
While there is no magic number for how long it takes to build a deck, we designed the guide below to give you a rough estimate. It breaks down the deck-building process step-by-step to help you calculate how long it will take to build your deck.
Factors That Affect a Deck-Building Timeline
Hiring Deck Builders
Estimated Time: 0 – 10 weeks
If you plan on building a DIY deck, this won’t affect you. However, homeowners planning to hire deck contractors need to consider the wait time before your hire can take on your job.
While finding the right deck builder can take as little as a few days, they may:
a) Not be able to take on your project right away.
b) Be able to do preliminary work like the deck design. But then have a multi-week wait until they can start the construction process.
Our customers, who are highly in-demand contractors, tend to have the longest wait times, sometimes stretching beyond our upper estimate of 10 weeks. The time before a contractor can take on a project heavily varies depending on your location, project needs, and the season—deck building is the most popular in the spring and summer.
Designing the Deck
Estimated Time: 2 days – 8 weeks
A square, basic deck that is 10 x 10 (100 square feet) usually won’t take long to plan and design.
However, the average deck is quite a bit larger than that—300 – 400 square feet. And larger decks, specifically those with multiple levels or unusual shapes, will be more time-consuming to design. I highly suggest considering a professional for these types of decks. They can help ensure that your deck adheres to building codes, works for your landscape, and is free of structural problems.
Getting Construction Permits
Estimated Time: 1 day – 4 weeks
Getting the proper construction permits is essential. Without them, you may be subject to hefty fines, and your project can be shut down. Most take only a few business days to process. However, some can take up to a month if your build location needs a physical inspection or the permit office is backed up.
Contact your city or county office for information on building permits specific to your area.
Laying the Foundation & Framing
Estimated Time: 2 days – 4 months
This is the first step in the actual deck-building process. This preliminary deck construction may include digging post holes, pouring concrete, installing deck footings, and framing the deck.
Again, this step heavily depends on deck size and design. The bigger and more complex the deck, the longer the foundation and frame will take. Plan extra time if your deck-to-be is on a slope or other difficult terrain.
Adding Decking Boards
Estimated Time: 1 day – 3 weeks
Beyond size and design, adding deck boards can affect your timeline with:
Laying deck boards is often touted as the quick and easy portion of deck building. Because of this, it has been my experience that beginner builders tend to get overconfident and rush. This results in mistakes, specifically in gaping or measurements. Both of which can set you back quite a bit of time.
Type of Decking
Popular wood deck boards like Ipe and pressure-treated wood are durable and easy to stain but tend to have irregularities. These inconsistencies can make measurements and cuts more challenging. In contrast, composite decking can have a bit of a learning curve for installation but is uniform. As a bonus, composite is also less timely to maintain.
Estimated Time: 1 day – 4 weeks
This includes features like stairs and railing, outdoor décor and home improvement projects tied to your deck (outdoor kitchens, under deck storage, etc.)
Items like landscaping and hardwired deck lighting will add a few weeks to your deck project. Alternatively, you can include cozy decor items like patio furniture, twinkle lights, and outdoor rugs that can be incorporated in an hour or so. These items are easy to add and can make a big visual impact!
Custom features like outdoor kitchens and fireplaces may take longer to complete but can significantly enhance your outdoor living space. Just like a deck, they can also add value to your home.
Are There Time-Saving Techniques for Deck Construction?
Absolutely. You can do many things to save time when building a deck.
Have the Right Tools & Supplies on Hand
Making unexpected trips to the hardware store or waiting for last-minute supplies ordered online is a surefire way to waste time.
In my experience, having too many supplies or tools on hand is never an issue—you can return many unused supplies when you complete the job. However, insufficient or wrong supplies are a time drain.
To help you get on the right track, I highly suggest visiting the following resources:
● Tools to Build a Deck: A list of every tool you need for measuring, cutting, fastening, sanding, and more.
● Decking Material Calculator: This helps you calculate how much decking material you need and the required clips and fasteners.
Hire a Professional Builder
Being a leader in the decking industry, I’ve learned that there is no substitute for experience. Even if you know everything about deck building, doing it is another beast. Therefore, hiring a reputable deck builder or handyman can save you lots of time—and headaches.
It’s similar to painting a room for the first time. As a novice painter, everything from the supplies required to cutting edges with a paintbrush is new. You slowly get through the project, and the end result looks good. However, fast forward 6 months later—after you’ve painted 10 more rooms. You now know exactly what supplies you need, and you can paint a lot quicker, and the results are a lot more crisp and clean.
Bottom line: experience translates to increased speed and efficiency.
Future Proof Your Investment
You may be focused on saving time on the initial deck build, but remember the time you can save down the road. Taking extra steps to weatherproof and safeguard your deck can lessen the time required for future maintenance—and the costs associated with those repairs.
● Protecting your joists and beams from moisture using flashing tape, like Trex Protect.
● Properly sealing your deck.
● Cleaning your deck regularly.
Time frames for deck building are difficult to calculate due to many factors. Just know that it is well worth the wait, even if your deck takes a long time to pull together.
Remember: the wait for a new deck is short compared to the many years of enjoyment you will get!