Building Your Deck in the Winter: Better?

Many of our homeowners ask me when is the best time to build a new deck? Many of you may think that the best time to build a deck is […]

Many of our homeowners ask me when is the best time to build a new deck? Many of you may think that the best time to build a deck is the spring, but the truth is, the best time to consider building a new deck may be in the winter. The best way to explain the reasoning behind a winter deck construction is what i would refer to as the “give and take” of the project. Give and take refers to the use of pressure treated wood during the winter months. The give refers to the woods expansion, and the take refers to the woods contraction that is caused by the effects of varying outdoor temperatures on the wood itself.

The first thing you have to remember when considering building any type of deck or other outdoor structure, whether the decking boards you choose are composite, PVC, vinyl, IPE or hardwoods the foundation of your structure will be constructed using pressure treated pine or another pressure treated wood. Wood curing is important to understand in relation to the wood’s natural tendency to “give and take”, and curing which occurs over the winter months offers many important benefits.

Pressure treated wood has a 50% moisture content when you initially build. This fresh lumber is sometimes referred to among builders as “green”. The winter has less humidity and thus the pressure treated wood will stabilize itself and dry more consistently and evenly when you build in the winter. On the other end of the spectrum a summer deck construction exposes the pressure treated wood to higher humidity conditions. In addition, when drying in the hot sun, pressure treated wood will undergo expansion and contraction which can cause cracking, warping and other damage to the wood itself. Due to the orientation of the sun during the winter months, the sun doesn’t beat down on your deck, and the pressure treated wood that holds the key to your project’s structural integrity will not undergo these negative effects.

Another benefit of building in winter is you will also experience less wait time and backlogs which are typical in spring and summer projects. Our typical waiting list is 8 weeks in the height of the season, during the winter you are likely going to cut that wait time in half. A winter project also causes less lifestyle interruption because homeowners typically spend less time outdoors and less time participating in outdoor activities during the colder months of the year.

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