Choosing Deck Materials!

By Ben Golden

So, you have pulled the plug and decided to build that deck you’ve been dreaming of. Congrats! Have you put any time into determining the right deck material for your needs? There are many options available but taking the time to decide what works best for your goals is important. Below we will run through the most common and adequate options.

Cost Effective: Pressure Treated Lumber

Many people choose to use pressure treated lumber, such as softwoods like southern yellow pine, for the structural components of their deck. This is because it’s well priced, readily available, and is easy for contractors to work with. Because it’s treated it will resist decay, rot, and termites. However, treated lumber does NOT make great decking (the floor to your deck) because it is not very dimensionally stable meaning it can crack, split, and warp. It also requires regular maintenance such as annual power washing and stain/wood preservation every two years.

 

A light-colored cedar deck
A light colored cedar deck

 

The Aesthetically Pleasing: Cedar or Redwood

These classic western softwoods are known for their natural beauty, pure color tones, and innate semi-resistance to rot, decay, and insects. The fact that they have not been treated and pumped with chemicals is appealing to many homeowners. It makes for beautiful decking and is also a great choice for the deck’s structural supports, both aesthetically and physically. This wood will last much longer than Pressure Treated Lumber, but is very expensive and needs regular upkeep such as pressure washing every two years and new stain about every five years.

 

 

Foreign Imports: Enticing Hardwoods

If money is not an object and you are looking for something unique and different, a tropical hardwood might be just what you need. There are many kinds of foreign hardwoods such as: Philippine mahogany, Red Tauari or Tigerwood. These hardwoods make for great decking material with their rich colors, durability, and resistance to rot, decay, and insects. The downfall with
The Aesthetically Pleasing: Cedar or Redwood hardwoods is that they are extremely hard to work with. Their dense constitution makes it challenging for a contractor to drill, cut or drive a nail or screw without boring a pilot hole. For the same reason, most hardwoods do not accept stains well. At the very least, a wood preservative should be applied to hardwoods every three or four years. You can count on these woods being comparably priced to that of cedar or Redwood with the import costs tagged on as well.

 

 

Lasting Durability: Composites

Composites are quickly becoming very popular because of their durability and low maintenance. Manmade primarily from wood fibers and recycled plastic, these “boards” are highly resistant to staining, decay, cracks, and splinters. The idea of this “permanent decking” is very appealing to many people. You will never have to sand or stain your deck, but you will need to pressure wash it every two years or so to preserve its integrity. There are many options within the composite category, but a few popular options are Trex, Veranda, and TimberTech.

 

 

The above options will give you a broad idea of the types of material that are out there. For further questions about your specific deck design reach out to Juno Construction. We will walk you through your project answering all your questions from start to finish.

 

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