When is the Best Time to Build a Deck, Patio, or Porch?

When is the Best Time to Build a Deck, Patio, or Porch?

Imagine walking out of your back door into an outdoor kitchen that leads to an open-air sitting area around a fire pit with lush landscaping. Follow a paved path to a grilling deck or even a hot tub. Your backyard space has the potential to become an outdoor haven for hangouts, relaxing, and spending quality time with your family. 

Now that you’ve imagined it, when should you build it? The best time of year in the Vancouver area to build an outdoor living area with a deck, patio, or porch depends on which factors are more important to you. What are the factors that make for the best time of year to build outdoors?

vancouver porch

Building a Deck, Patio, or Porch in the Winter

Plenty of homeowners don’t think about building an outdoor living area until the weather starts to warm up. But what if you could have your deck, porch, or patio built in the winter and have it ready for when you want to enjoy it in the warmer months? Here’s what you can expect when building a deck or porch in the winter.  

Less Competition for the Best Contractor

Because this is usually when people want to begin outdoor projects, you’re competing with a lot of other homeowners to hire the best deck builders in the Vancouver, Washington area. If you wait until the weather is already warming up, you may have to wait a few months before a builder is available, which means your finished outdoor project won’t be ready to use until the weather cools down again. By building in the off-season, labor and materials will be more readily available. 

Concrete Sets Slower in the Winter

The issue with building a deck, patio, or porch in the winter, however, is the extra care concrete will need to set properly. A patio is typically a concrete slab, while porches and decks still require concrete for the footings. Curing concrete in the winter isn’t impossible but will take extra precautions to ensure the concrete doesn’t freeze 

Because concrete becomes solid due to a chemical reaction rather than drying, the speed of the reaction is slower when the temperature is colder. If the water used in the mix freezes before the reaction is complete, it will be permanently damaged and will lose the strength that makes concrete useful. 

So, how can this be avoided? There are a number of ways. The ground will need to be warmed with concrete blankets or plastic before concrete can be poured. Also, your contractor can add hot water and a chemical accelerator to the concrete mix. After the concrete is poured, the team can use blankets to keep the concrete at an appropriate temperature while it cures. 


Outdoor construction has the potential to wreak havoc on your landscaping. With the typical wear and tear and the extra traffic a construction project can put on your lawn, the upcoming spring and summer weather will help your lawn bounce back faster. With summer or fall construction, your landscaping won’t recover as well during the fall or winter. 

Won’t Interrupt Your Spring and Summer Fun

During the summer, when you want to take advantage of the sunshine and decreased rain, you won’t have to avoid a construction zone if your deck, porch, or patio was built in the winter. Enjoy gardening, grilling, and the night sky in your new outdoor living area when the weather’s right. 

patio with fire pit clark county

Building a Deck, Patio, or Porch in the Summer/Fall

Outdoor construction projects are more typical in the summer or fall when the weather is more agreeable. What can you expect for your deck, porch, or patio construction if you choose to build during the more temperate months?

Better Conditions for Setting Concrete

In the summer, the higher levels of humidity and moderate temperatures mean that special mixes for concrete are not usually necessary. However, the unpredictable rain patterns will require plastic sheeting to protect the surface of the concrete. 

In the cooler fall months, less rain is typical with temperatures still within the ideal range for pouring concrete. This makes the fall the best time to pour a patio slab especially–if a patio is part of your outdoor living area design. With cooler temperatures, your builder will need to use curing blankets for warmth in addition to plastic sheeting for rain. 

Better Seasons for Wood Curing

Many homeowners are opting for composite decks and porches. However, the pressure-treated wood that’s used for the base and footers needs time to cure. The PNW is infamous for more humid winters, unlike many other parts of the country. During the summer and fall, the lower humidity is ideal for helping wood to cure properly. When a deck or porch is built in the winter, the heightened humidity can cause warping and cracking while the wood attempts to cure. 

Less Rain, Less Mess

During part of the summer and fall, the PNW experiences less rain. Outdoor construction in the rain can create spots in your yard that become virtual mud pits, which will need extra attention after your deck, patio, or porch is complete. When your outdoor construction project is during the summer or fall, when less rain is falling, it can make for a relatively less muddy site and less work afterward to get your lawn back in good condition. 

decks vancouver washington

Ideas for Enjoying Your Outdoor Living Space Year Round

You want to be able to use the outdoor space you've invested in year-round, right? There are some simple things you can do to make sure you get to enjoy this space almost year round and should include in your design plans.

Create a Covered Space

If your outdoor living space is uncovered, you’re not likely going to be able to use it for much of the year. However, if your outdoor space includes at least an area that’s covered, you can use the space more often. A covered porch off of your home that leads to an open patio area with a fire pit gives you the best of both worlds: cover when you need it and open air when you don’t. 


To weatherize your outdoor living space means to include things such as heaters, thick outdoor curtains, and even a fireplace so you can enjoy your space in the colder months. If your porch is built during the summer, have these features installed as well so you’re not scrambling to have them installed while the temperatures are dropping. If you’re installing a patio, consider in-floor radiant heating. Concrete is a great conduit for heat and radiant heating is more efficient at keeping you warm than heating overhead. 

Paved Paths 

We all know how constant rain can create a lot of mud. If there are typical paths through your yard that tend to get a bit messy, avoid tracking mud onto your new deck, patio, or porch by also including paved pathways in your design plan. 


What Time of Year is the Best for Building Your Outdoor Living Space?

Well, it depends on which of these topics strikes you as most important. If taking advantage of the better weather conditions during your build is a priority, start looking now at booking the best Vancouver area builders to create your deck, patio, or porch. The better building conditions, paired with weatherizing your space for the cooler months, means you won’t miss out on enjoying your outdoor space. 

If you’re ready to enjoy relaxing, connecting, and cooking outdoors in your own backyard, contact North Light Builders. North Light Builders proudly builds impeccable custom spaces for Clark County homeowners with expert craft and a focus on your specific vision. Contact North Light to schedule a consultation and let’s plan your outdoor oasis together. 

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