The Right Material for Your Custom Deck

January 9, 2014 by No Comments

The deck can be an important addition to a home. If you have a deck that you really like, this can be a place for you and your family to enjoy meals, play board games, or just spend quality time together. It is important that a deck be not only aesthetically attractive, but also sturdy and safe, so that you can safely spend time on it as much as you want. This is why if you decide to add a deck to your home or remodel the one that you already have, you want to make sure that you hire the right professionals to do so. You want to make sure that people who are working on your deck have all of the necessary experience, expertise, and licensing to be able to handle the job.

If you do not know a lot about decks, there is a lot that is worth knowing. You can ask questions to professionals about all sorts of deck related matters, such as all weather decking boards, already made decks, artificial lumber for decks, artificial wood decking material, and more. If you have your questions answered, you will know all of the options that you have for the deck in your yard.

It probably isn’t difficult to believe that decking options have multiplied exponentially in the last several years. While wood used to be the only option, there is now an incredible array of materials available. Whether you’re just beginning to piece together the blueprints or getting ready to break ground this summer, it’s wise to know your options. There are four basic types, each with benefits and drawbacks, that must be considered. We’ll take a detailed look at each one.The perfect accent to any dream home in Ontario’s beautiful cottage country is a well-built deck. Any homeowner who has considered building a new deck, however, knows that there are plenty of decisions to be made before installing a deck — everything from design to materials must be selected carefully.

  1. Pressure-Treated Lumber: The Economical ChoiceThis popular material for installing a deck is currently the number one decking material sold today, appearing on 75% of all new decks. Those numbers aren’t surprising, given it’s affordability, availability, and ease of installation. Most are chemically treated to resist rot, fungus, and wood-boring bugs. On the downside, however, pressure-treated lumber is not very dimensionally stable, often cracking, splitting, and warping. Regular maintenance is needed to maintain the look and stability of pressure-treated lumber decks.
  2. Redwood and Cedar: The Quality ChoiceThese softwoods are favorites of many purists, thanks to their rich color, natural beauty, and absence of chemicals and preservatives. Their natural tannins and oils make them naturally resistant to rot, decay, and wood-boring bugs. The amount of these natural resistors, however, depends on the amount of heartwood included in the boards. Heartwood, which grows closer to the center of the tree, provides the best resistance, while sapwood, the outer part of a tree, is softer and more susceptible to decay. Redwood and cedar do require annual power washing and a coat of finishing every three to four years. Waterproofing with a wood preservative is also recommended. In order to maintain the wood’s natural color, a stain must be applied. Otherwise, both woods will weather to a soft silvery gray.
  3. Tropical Hardwoods: The Luxury ChoiceTropical hardwoods like massaranduba, cumaru, red tauari, tigerwood, ipe, and Philippine mahogany are rich-grained woods that are very hard, durable, and naturally resistant to rot and insects. However, their density does make them difficult to cut, drill, and stain. Tropical hardwoods are also generally quite expensive. Maintaining a tropical hardwood deck means applying a UV-blocking clear wood preservative every three to four years. If you opt for any tropical hardwoods when installing a deck, be sure to check with your lumber dealer to make sure that the wood has been certified by Forest Stewardship Council, meaning that it has been harvested in a legal, sustainable manner.
  4. Composite Building Materials: The Simple ChoiceComposite decking is the fastest-growing decking material sold today. They are composed mainly of wood fibers and recycled plastic, creating extremely weather- and stain-resistant boards that don’t splinter, warp, rot, or split. Many homeowners are also drawn to the availability of matching handrails, balusters, fascias, and other decorative trim that can be purchased to match. Though some are turned off by the idea of manmade decking, it is important to consider the advantages composite decking can have over wood. It is extremely low maintenance, never needing sanding, refinishing, or staining. Still, homeowners need to be diligent about mold, mildew, and decay.

The perfect deck for your home must strike a balance between aesthetic appeal, low maintenance levels, and cost. Be sure to weigh each option carefully before selecting the best building material for your new deck.

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