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How Long Does it Take to Build a Deck? (Factors that Affect Timeline)

September 22nd, 2022 | 5 min read

By Michael Flory

how long does it take to build a deck composite decking with umbrellas custom built

Curious how long it takes to build a deck? Learn how long it takes for a custom-built deck and what factors impact the deck-building timeline

How Long does it take to Build a Deck? (Factors that affect Timeline)

“How long will it take for you to build my deck?” This is a very common question we get asked by our clients. The simple answer is that there is no, one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Each deck we design and build is entirely custom. 

We can, however, use over 15 years of experience designing and building decks to give you an approximate range for how long it takes your deck to be designed and built.

The deck building process, from the beginning of the designing process to fully constructed, can range anywhere from 6 to 16 weeks (and is broken up into 2 phases). 

Designing and planning the deck project can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks. When construction is ready to begin, that can take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks depending on the various factors we’re going to discuss. 

You may find on Google that the deck-building process can take 1-3 weeks. This may be true for a deck with fewer features but is unrealistic for people who want a custom deck with all of the bells and whistles.

In this article, you will learn what specific factors will affect the timeline for a deck project, and what happens during the design and construction process that can affect the timeline.

composite deck with outdoor furniture BBQ grill umbrellas custom built

Factors that affect a deck building timeline

There are a variety of factors that will affect the timeline for a deck project. We will explain whether each factor increases or decreases the time to complete the project. 

Size of the deck

This is a bit of an obvious thing that heavily influences how long it takes to build a deck. The larger the deck, the longer it takes to physically build, the more material required to build, and the longer the design process. 

Scaling up the size of a deck project is something to consider when your timeline is pivotal to the decision to build. Just be aware that as the size increases, the time to complete increases with it.


The complexity of a deck is directly correlated to how long it takes to design and build. A more complex deck requires more design time, more engineering time to make sure the math works, and more building time.

composite deck by lake with tables and chairs custom built michigan

The decks above and below are great examples of this! 

Both are similar in size but designed with varying levels of complexity. The deck above is a simple rectangle design, whereas the one below has angled portions which increase the deck’s complexity and increases the time to build.

composite deck with white pergola angled corners furniture custom built

Other complex features that can be added to a deck that increase the overall timeline include,

1. Built-in outdoor kitchens 

2. Built-in fire pits

3. Curved decking and railing options

4. Multi-level decking

5. Landscaping around the deck

The deck below is very complex and will have a much longer timeline to complete than a simple rectangular deck. It has some of the complex features listed above and could be closer to the 16-week timeline

multi level composite deck with BBQ grill umbrella furniture landscaping custom built michigan

Weather and land conditions

Luckily for you, a deck build can happen any time of year (Yes, we work in the Winter). A major benefit of a deck project is that it does not interrupt your life inside your home like a kitchen or bathroom remodel would.

There is some weather though, that would cause building crews to not work outside because it’s not safe. These include incredibly low temperatures, heavy blizzard conditions, heavy hailing, or a severe thunderstorm. 

These cold temperatures can also cause the ground to freeze which makes drilling concrete supports more difficult and will increase the deck timeline. 

Conversely, in the springtime when the ice and snow melt, a building site can get too muddy or the ground can be softer. In these conditions, working can do more harm than good for the finished product. 

Muddy boots can cause scratches specifically on cedar, pressure-treated wood, and entry-level composite decking material. As we all know, mud makes things slippery and dirty. Digging supports in the ground can become difficult in this condition

When the building site gets too muddy, it helps to stop construction until the mud dries. Doing this can make for a better-finished product and an efficient building process.


For certain construction projects, inspections are required by law to ensure the builders are following building regulations. This is required in Michigan and just about everywhere else in the United States. 

Inspectors have their own schedules, and we may need to wait for them to inspect parts of the project before construction can continue.

Timeline of the design phase

Designing and planning the deck project can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks.

Throughout the design process, we will bring you into our showroom and work with you to create your design vision using our 3D conceptual design software.

3D conceptual rendering of composite deck with furniture custom built

Our design team will work with you, listening to your wants and needs for your project, as well as offering expert recommendations based on what is structurally possible. We can alter the design until you are 100% satisfied with the final design. 

Once you are satisfied with the final design, we put together a fixed price agreement for you to sign.

We can then begin purchasing materials, acquiring necessary permits, and creating final construction plans and drawings. 

This all takes time before we can begin construction. As stated before, the larger and more complex a deck, the longer this period will take to complete before construction can begin.

Timeline of the Build Phase

The Build phase of the deck can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks to complete.

Construction Management Software

With most contractors, you will be notified when we are ready to begin building your deck via construction management software.

This will keep you up to date on when we are coming out to work on your project and what we will be accomplishing on each given day.

Change orders

Throughout the course of any project, unforeseen things can occur that change the agreed-upon scope of work in the fixed price agreement. These are known as Change Orders. A change order is initiated in one of two ways.

1. Homeowner Initiated Change Orders

You want to change an element of the project mid-construction that was not specified in the Fixed Price Agreement or Construction Plan. 

An example of a Homeowner initiated change order would be if you are in the middle of your deck’s construction and you want to change the color of your decking material after seeing some of it installed.

2. Unforeseen Change Order

Unforeseen change orders happen occasionally in the home remodeling industry. We do our best to take every possible circumstance into account during the (Consult A) or (Step 1 Meeting) when developing your fixed price agreement. 

However, we can’t see everything in your home until we begin construction and find things that need to be addressed.

For example, on older decks that need to be replaced, the connection point between the deck and the side of the home may be saturated with moisture over the years which will result in water damage.

Before we begin constructing the new deck, we need to address this before moving forward because it will cause long-term damage to the side of your home if not taken care of.

No matter what caused the change order, the scope of work and fixed price agreement are adjusted. For some change orders, the price may change outside the original agreement. 

We do what we can to take these elements into account for pricing, but unfortunately, not everything can be seen until we open walls, tear up flooring, or dig into the ground.

Change orders will increase the timeline of a deck-building project.

Next steps to begin building a deck

As this is a common question we receive, you now know how long it takes to design and build a deck (6 - 16 weeks) as well as what can affect the deck building timeline (size, complexity, weather, and inspections). 

As a custom design and remodeling company that is well versed in the deck building process, we are aware of the small things that can make a big impact on the cost and timeline for most deck projects. 

Not yet ready to move forward with a deck project? You may be interested in learning more about deck design options available to you. Or you may be curious what the average cost of a deck is, to begin the budgeting process. 

custom built design and remodeling deck builders michigan

Michael Flory

Michael brings over 2 decades of building and remodeling experience to his position as the Owner and Visionary of Custom Built. Michael’s passion to make an impact on the home building industry has led him to serve for over ten years at the local and state Home Builders Association, culminating as President of the HBA of Michigan in 2020.