We often get a surprised reaction when we offer our clients a deck build in the winter months. It is cold and the decks take a little longer to build, but there can be some real advantages for both you as the homeowner and for the builder. For you as the homeowner, wouldn’t it be nice to have your new deck ready to go come spring, without losing valuable summer weekends on the deck? As for the builder, designing and building a deck in the winter months really helps even out the season, keeping the employees consistently busy. It’s beautiful up here in the winter, being outside building your deck can be a real joy!
Footings are always our first thought with winter builds. If possible have your footings dug and concrete poured late fall. We will often do all of the footings for our winter deck projects at once in the fall, making sure they are ready to go when that winter build time comes. If the cold comes early, you can put hay down over the area where the footings will be dug to slow the frost down until they can be dug.
Once the ground has already started to freeze, it’s time to bring out the torch! A blow torch can be used to thaw the exact footing locations, assuming the frost is not down too far. Once the ground is thawed you can either install the diamond pier footings or dig to prepare for concrete. If concrete is being used, you will want to make sure and add some of the available additives to prevent premature freezing while it starts curing. If the ground is too frozen to thaw, and the deck is up high enough to get under it, it is also possible to temporarily support the deck until spring, completing the footings when the ground is thawed
As far as building the deck, not much else will stand in your way. Snow will have to be moved, hands will be cold, and some of the material can get a little brittle – so cut slow. Lastly, if you are having a contractor build your deck you should expect to save a little money by having it built in the winter. Most contractors will offer winter discounts to help even out the seasons.