Can I Build My Deck In The Winter?

This is the number one questions asked of our Exterior Lifestyles division this time of the year

Winter can be a great time to build out your exterior living space for several reasons. First, there are great deals and promotions offered, as contractors try to fill their calendars in advance of spring. Secondly, building in the winter offers natural protection against the wear and tear on your landscaping; the ground is frozen, so the chance of damage is greatly reduced. Another benefit can be to beat the huge spring rush, when everyone is trying to get their projects done ASAP to be ready for summer. By choosing to build in winter, your deck will be ready for you to enjoy the upcoming beautiful weather immediately!

Often people will ask how they can enjoy their deck in the winter. Here are a couple of ways:

ADD SOME HEAT: It’s become popular to add heat sources to make your deck a year-round entertain space. There are a variety of options: a deck safe fire pit, a standing propane heater, infrared heating. There are many options available.

GRILLING: It’s never (hardly ever, anyway) too cold to use that grill or pizza oven!

ADD A ROOF: Whether it be an open porch concept, or building up a screen, 3-season, or 4-season porch. All options can allow for the enjoyment of your space year-round.

LIGHTING: There are tons of lighting options that can add to the ambiance and functionality of your space.

ADD A HOT TUB: Nothing beats the cold nights while enjoying the hot water under the stars!

One question that always comes up is our ability to do footings in the winter. There are several commonly used footings for decks, but not all of them can be installed in the winter months. For example, poured footings are one of the most-commonly-used footings when building decks, but it is not advisable to pour concrete if the temperature is below 40 degrees. The concrete can be weaker because of the slow down of the chemical reaction that causes the concrete to harden. Another popular option for footings is Diamond Pier footings. These footings are concrete piers that have 4 steel rods that are driven into the ground with a jack hammer. These are also very difficult to install due to the frozen ground. You can use charcoal or heat blankets to thaw the ground, however that can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process.

The BEST OPTION for winter footing is helical pile footings. Helical piles are commonly referred to as helical anchors, helical piers, or screw piles. Helical piles are a form of a deep foundation system that has been in use since the early 1900’s in waterfront foundations. They work by bypassing weaker soil layers and transferring the loads of a structure to competent load bearing soils.

A WORD ABOUT SHOVELING: Another common question is if you can shovel a composite deck in the winter. We strongly recommend that you use a shovel that has a plastic, vinyl, or rubber blade. This will lessen the chance of scratching your composite decking. Once you have shoveled you may elect to use salt on your deck as long as you use an ice melt made of calcium chloride with no colorant added. The best kinds are ice melts marked as “safe for concrete” and “will not kill grass”.

So, don’t let the cold weather delay you enjoying your outdoor space. Get creative with your contractor and start planning your outdoor living space today! Call us or fill out the form on our website to schedule an appointment today. We are working in compliance with all COVID-19 guidelines for construction.