Deck Building: How Long Does it Take?

July 6, 2023

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A deck is a wonderful addition to any home, providing a versatile space for outdoor relaxation, entertainment, and enjoyment. Whether you envision hosting barbecues, lounging with a book, or soaking up the sun, building a deck can transform your backyard into an inviting oasis.

How long does it take to build a deck? The time it takes to build a deck can vary depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the deck, the materials used, the availability of labor, and any necessary building permit or approvals. A simple, single level deck can take a few days to a couple of weeks to build. However, larger or more intricate decks, or those requiring special features like multiple levels, built-in seating, or complex designs, can take several weeks to a few months to complete.

In this blog, we will take you through the step-by-step process of deck construction, highlighting the materials used, estimated costs, and the time it may take to complete each stage.


new deck construction rhode island

How Long Does it Take to Build a Deck: Planning and Design (Time: 1-2 weeks)

The initial phase of deck building involves careful planning and thoughtful design. Here's what you need to consider:

Assess your needs and desires:

  • Determine the purpose of your deck (e.g., dining area, outdoor living space, poolside retreat).
  • Consider the size and shape of your desired deck.
  • Evaluate any unique features or requirements, such as stairs or built-in seating. Do you require a handicap-friendly deck? You may wish to consult with a professional builder that specializes in ramps, railings, and other features that make deck construction more accessible to those with disabilities.

Obtain necessary permits:

  • Contact your local building department to determine if permits are required.
  • Understand any zoning regulations or restrictions related to deck construction. This is an important step, as homeowners do not want to violate building codes. It could result in a hefty fine and the destruction of your deck. There are different permits for commercial property owners. Make sure all licenses are in place before the building begins.

Create a design plan:

  • Sketch your deck design, considering the layout, dimensions, and overall aesthetic.
  • Explore different decking materials, such as wood or composite, and select the one that suits your preferences and budget.

Site Preparation (Time: 2-3 days)

Preparing the construction site is crucial to ensure a solid foundation for your deck. Here's what you'll need to do:

Mark and clear the area:

  • Mark the perimeter of your deck using stakes and string.
  • Remove any vegetation, rocks, or debris from the site.

Level the ground:

  • Use a shovel and a level to ensure the ground is even and sloped away from the house for proper drainage.

Install footings or piers:

  • Dig holes for footings or piers, following local building codes and guidelines.
  • Pour concrete into the holes and insert post anchors or brackets to support the deck's framework.

prepping the building site

Framing (Time: 1-2 weeks)

The framing stage involves constructing the structural framework that will support your deck. Let's explore the key steps:

Install ledger board:

  • Attach a ledger board to the exterior of your house using lag bolts or structural screws.
  • Ensure the ledger is level and securely fastened to provide stability.

Install beams and posts:

  • Position and secure beams parallel to the ledger using metal brackets or joist hangers for support.
  • Install posts at appropriate intervals, considering the load-bearing capacity and local building codes.

Attach joists:

  • Install joists perpendicular to the beams, spacing them according to your deck design and local regulations.
  • Secure joists to the ledger and beams, maintaining proper alignment and levelness.

Deck Building Process & Installation (Time: 1-2 weeks)

With the frame in place, it's time to add decking material to create the visible surface of your deck. How long it takes to install a deck?

Choose your decking material:

  • Wood: Pressure-treated lumber is popular and affordable, while tropical hardwoods offer durability and natural beauty.
  • Composite: Composite decking is a low-maintenance alternative made from recycled materials and synthetic polymers.

Install deck boards:

  • Begin by installing a starter board along the outer edge of the deck, ensuring proper alignment and spacing.
  • Secure each board with screws or hidden fasteners, following the manufacturer's guidelines.
  • Continue installing boards and staggering the joints for visual appeal.

Cut and fit:

  • Measure and cut deck boards to fit around any obstacles, such as posts or railing supports.
  • Use a circular saw or a specialized deck board cutting tool to achieve clean and accurate cuts.


begin construction with composite decking - redoing old deck

Railing Installation (Time: 2-3 days)

Adding a railing to your deck enhances safety and aesthetics. Consider the following steps for installing deck railings:

Choose your railing style:

Options include wood, metal, glass, or composite railings, each offering its unique look and feel. There are an exceptional amount of railing styles to choose from. Choosing a type that you find aesthetically appealing with characteristics you need for functionality is best.

Install posts and balusters:

  • Attach railing posts to the deck's framework, ensuring they are securely anchored.
  • Attach balusters or pickets between the posts, following local building codes regarding spacing.

Add a top rail:

  • Install a top rail securely on the balusters, providing a stable handhold.

Finishing Touches for Your New Deck (Time: 1-2 days)

The finishing touches bring your deck to life, providing comfort and functionality. Consider these final steps:

Stain or seal the deck:

  • Protect your deck from weathering and UV damage by applying a suitable stain or sealant.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper application and drying times.

Install lighting:

  • Enhance the ambiance and functionality of your deck by adding lighting fixtures.
  • Consider options such as post cap, step, or string lights.

Furnish and decorate:

Select outdoor furniture, cushions, and accessories that complement your deck's style and purpose. You might consider adding weather-resistant chairs, couches, and tables should your deck design be open.

Personalizing the deck with furniture makes the space cozier.

Add planters, rugs, and decorative elements to create a welcoming and inviting space. The sky is the limit. Decor is the icing on the cake regarding the finishing touches of deck building. Keep personal budgets in mind when choosing decorative items.


custom design for deck project

What is the Estimated Cost for Custom Decks?

The cost of building a deck can vary greatly depending on factors such as the size, materials used, local labor rates, and any additional features. As a rough estimate, you can expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 or more for a standard-sized deck. Higher-end materials or intricate designs may increase the overall cost.

It's good to remember that a deck-building project doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. It can be as budget-friendly as it needs to be. For example, choosing synthetic materials over natural ones can reduce costs. However, there's nothing wrong with splurging on your deck project. After all, it is a small oasis to rest, relax, and entertain.

Estimated Time for Your Deck Project

The timeline for deck construction will depend on the factors mentioned earlier, such as deck size, complexity, and available labor. A straightforward deck project can take approximately 4-8 weeks from the planning phase to completion. However, larger or more intricate decks may require more time.

What Impacts How Long the Deck Building Process Takes?

Factors that can influence the length of time it takes to build a deck include the size and complexity of the design, how many people are working on it, available tools and materials, weather conditions, access to resources such as lumber or hardware stores, and experience with similar projects in the past.

  • Weather: The weather can be a major factor in how long deck building takes. Inclement conditions such as rain, snow, or extreme heat can slow down the process and leave workers in dangerous situations. Windy days can also make it harder to handle large pieces of lumber and materials.
  • Level of Experience: If the builders have experience with similar projects, they may be able to work faster and more efficiently than those who lack experience. However, even without much experience, a team of dedicated workers can still build a quality deck in an appropriate amount of time.
  • Size and Complexity: The larger and more complex the project is, the longer it will take to complete. This is because there are more pieces involved and more intricate details that have to be addressed. It is important to plan well in advance to make sure that the project can be completed in an appropriate amount of time.
  • Number of Workers: The more workers who are employed on the project, the faster it will be completed. This is because there is more manpower available to take care of tasks, and larger pieces of lumber or materials can be handled with fewer people.

How much labor does it take to install a deck?

The amount of labor required to install a deck depends on the size and complexity of the project. Generally speaking, it takes around two days for two people to install a small 12'x16' deck, but larger or more complex projects can take significantly longer.

***Permitting is an important part of this process, so please hire a professional contractor to handle this deck build for you.

construction process for simple deck with pressure treated wood


Building a deck is a rewarding project that can transform your outdoor space into a haven for relaxation and entertainment. Following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide, considering the materials, costs, and estimated time, you'll be well-equipped to embark on your deck-building journey. Consult with professionals, obtain necessary permits, and prioritize safety throughout construction. Enjoy your new deck and the countless memorable moments it will facilitate for years.

Who is RI Deck & Patio Builders?

The RI Deck & Patio Builders is a reputable company that has been in business since 2013. The company offers affordable prices, FREE estimates, and service with a smile. Each contractor on the team is fully licensed, bonded, and insured for the customers' peace of mind. Get in touch with us today by calling (401) 756-1155.

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