Custom Deck Construction vs. DIY: A Comparative Analysis of Time and Considerations



Let’s address part of the frequently asked question. How long does it take to build a deck? 
Adding a deck to your home is an excellent way to enhance outdoor living spaces and increase property value. When contemplating this exciting project, homeowners often find themselves at a crossroads: should they hire professionals for custom design and construction, or should they tackle the endeavor themselves? In this blog, we’ll explore the time it takes for custom design and build versus the DIY approach, as well as the key considerations associated with each option.


When opting for a custom design and build, homeowners enlist the services of professional deck contractors. The process typically unfolds as follows:

  1. Consultation and Design: The first step is to consult with a reputable deck builder who can understand your vision, assess the space, and recommend suitable materials and designs. This phase can take a few days to a week, depending on the complexity of the project and the contractor’s schedule.
  2. Permitting and Approvals: Obtaining the necessary permits and approvals from local authorities is an essential step in building a deck. This process can take up to a few weeks, depending on the location and specific regulations.
  3. Material Procurement: After finalizing the design and acquiring permits, the contractor will source the required materials, which can take several days to a week.
  4. Construction: The actual construction process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the deck’s size, complexity, and weather conditions. An experienced team will work efficiently to complete the project promptly.
  5. Finishing Touches: Once the deck structure is in place, finishing touches like staining, sealing, and adding railings will be carried out, adding another few days to the timeline.

In total, a custom deck construction project can take approximately 4 to 8 weeks, or even longer for more extensive or elaborate designs.

  1. DIY Deck Construction:

Opting for a DIY deck construction approach can be rewarding, but it requires careful planning and significant time investment. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  1. Research and Design: As a homeowner, you’ll spend time researching different deck designs, materials, and building codes. This stage can take a few days to several weeks, depending on your familiarity with construction projects.
  2. Permitting and Approvals: Similar to the custom design and build approach, you’ll need to secure the necessary permits and approvals before proceeding. This process can also take a few weeks.
  3. Material Procurement: As a DIYer, you’ll be responsible for sourcing the materials yourself. Depending on the availability of materials and your schedule, this can take several days to a couple of weeks.
  4. Construction: The construction process can be time-consuming, especially if you’re working alone or with limited help. A small to medium-sized deck could take a few weekends to a few months to complete.
  5. Finishing Touches: Like with the custom option, finishing touches will require an additional few days.

In total, a DIY deck construction project can take anywhere from 6 weeks to several months, depending on your skills, available time, and project complexity.
Key Considerations:

  1. Skill and Experience: Custom deck construction requires skilled professionals with expertise in design and building. DIY projects can be fulfilling, but they demand a certain level of construction knowledge and experience to ensure safety and quality.
  2. Cost: Custom decks typically have higher upfront costs due to labor and professional expertise. DIY projects may seem cost-effective, but unforeseen mistakes could lead to additional expenses.
  3. Time: Custom deck construction can be completed more quickly since professionals work efficiently. DIY projects can take significantly longer, especially if there are delays or setbacks.
  4. Safety and Insurance: Professional contractors often carry insurance to protect against accidents and liabilities. DIY projects might lack this safety net.

Choosing between custom deck construction and a DIY approach depends on various factors, including your budget, time availability, skills, and desired outcome. If time is of the essence, and you prefer a seamless, well-designed deck without the burden of construction, a custom build is the best choice. On the other hand, DIY projects can be fulfilling for those with the required skills, experience, and dedication. Whichever path you choose, a beautiful deck will undoubtedly add value and enjoyment to your home.