Everything You Need to Know About Building a Deck in the Winter

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated December 7, 2021
Beautiful wooden house in the forest
Photo: alhim / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Winter is actually an ideal time to build your new deck 

  • Contractors are more available 

  • Heat damage to the wood during installation is minimal

  • Save money on labor and materials 

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

When snow is piling up outside during the winter months, you’re likely thinking about snuggling up with hot cocoa—but what you should be doing is getting started on that new deck you have planned! While building a deck in the winter might feel counterintuitive, it’s actually the perfect season to get your project started. 

Building a Deck in the Winter Can Save You Money

Building your deck during the winter months can actually save you money on both labor and materials. You could save on labor costs because contractors in your area will likely have fewer jobs. As a result, they may quote you a lower rate to build your deck than they would during warmer weather. 

In order to get a sense of how much you can expect to spend on your deck should you have it built in the winter, you need to know the range of cost. The average cost to build a deck is $4,000 to $11,000. If you decide to have your deck built during the winter, you can expect a number on the lower end of that range. Consult a contractor in your area for a quote. 

Contractors Have More Availability in the Winter

A large covered porch with wooden deck
Photo: Jason / Adobe Stock

Another perk of building your deck in the winter is contractor availability. While the best contractors in your area might not be able to immediately start a job for you during the spring or summer because they’re super in demand, you’re more likely to get the contractor you want without a wait if you go for a project during the off-season. 

That isn’t to say that the contractor will be able to get the job done faster in the winter once they get it started. Delays and work stoppages could still arise depending on what that winter weather is doing—building a deck during a week-long blizzard, for example, isn’t likely.

Cold Temperatures Are Better for Installing Wood

Wood is one of the more common materials used to make decks. While you might love the idea of spending time out on your deck in the spring and summer, the high temperatures can damage wood.

Why? The sun’s heat can warp the wood, which makes it difficult for even the most seasoned contractors to align properly—especially if the wood has been sitting out for any length of time. In the winter, the cold temps keep the wood from expanding, making it easier to install.  

Of course, keep in mind that this doesn’t apply if you’ve selected another material for your deck. Non-wood long-lasting deck materials include PVC (polyvinyl chloride), aluminum, or composite decking. 

Because they aren’t made entirely of wood (or in the case of PVC, no wood at all), they don’t warp the same way wood planks for decks do. 

Deck Installation Will Be Easier When You Aren’t Using Your Patio 

A good reason to build your deck in the winter? Just like you don’t want to spend time out there, neither will the rest of your family. Having your deck built in the winter means that you don’t need to schedule your outdoor activities (like parties and BBQs) around the schedule set by the local deck builder you hire.

Building a Deck in the Winter Provides Optimal Curing Conditions

What do your new deck and smoked meat have in common? They both need to cure! Even if you’ve chosen composite or aluminum instead of wood for your new deck, it still has a wooden base and wooden feet. 

The wood used for this part of your deck is pressure treated. That means a mixture of water and preserving agents were injected into this wood using pressure. This is done so that your natural wood can live a long and happy life without prematurely warping, rotting, or cracking. 

Your deck’s cure time is how long it takes for the moisture that still remains in these boards to evaporate. The winter is a great time to do this because of the lack of humidity. When you build your deck in winter, you’re ensuring it has the ideal conditions it needs to cure effectively. 

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.