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Alternatives to Tradional Decking

Provides choices for deck-building materials

Posted in Decks over 13 years ago, 0 replies

A deck is a wonderful addition to a home. It adds more square footage onto the house and, with a little bit of patio furniture, also provides an ideal setting to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air of the outdoors. Decks are multi-purpose additions. They can be used as a walkway to a swimming pool, or as a grill area, a dining area, or just a nice cool place to entertain guests. They also make your yard easier to maintain. A standard deck is about 15%-18% of the size of your house, taking up a good portion of your backyard, and therefore, making less room for grass and shrubs. But don't worry all you green-thumbed people out there. Planters can always be put on the deck with various plants and flowers. This will provide you a chance to do a little bit of gardening and it will also provide a little decoration to your otherwise dreary deck. There are also many options of different things to put on your deck. Some people install hot tubs, and others use it as a grilling area. Still others add a screen house on all or a section of the deck to keep the sun and bugs out.

A deck is a long-lasting investment for your home. It is something that you will treasure for as long as you own your home. But it is not all fun and games. It does require some routine maintenance to keep strong and looking good. Some people may be more willing to perform this maintenance more often than others. Therefore, before building a deck, it is important to decide what type of material you are going to use. Pressure Treated Wood This is the most common material for building a deck. Pressure treated wood usually start out as a slightly greenish color when first installed due to the pressure treatment, and then over time turns to a honey brown and then gray--very subtle colors that will blend well with the rest of your home. It lasts a very long time due to its durability, and most pressure treated wood comes with a limited lifetime warranty against decay and termites. Once the wooden deck is installed, apply a layer of water repellant and make sure to reapply the treatment every year. This will prevent water from getting into the cracks in the wood and decaying it from the inside out. However, since wood is a natural (and at one time living) material, no matter what precautions you take, it will break down over time. It is common for boards to bend and warp over the decades, and you may have to replace boards every few years. However, a plus for wood decks is that they are very good for the environment since they come from the only quickly renewable resource on the planet. There are also some natural woods that are very hardy and are naturally resistant to decay. They are not quite as durable as pressure treated wood, but they run a close second. Western Red CedarThis varies in color from light brown, to tan, to even a salmon pink hue. Over time, it weathers to be a silver gray or rich brown. It is very durable and greatly resistant to decay, but it weathers very quickly. RedwoodRedwood has light red to brown coloration, and when it weathers it turns to a yellowish-red hue. Ipé or Imported HardwoodsThis is a great hardwood for decks. It is virtually knot-free, dense, and tightly grained. It is practically pressure treated quality. However, it comes with a higher price because it is difficult to install. It splits easily and all holes must be pre-drilled before trying to put the deck together. That makes the installation process much longer, and more difficult to do. But it will provide a high quality deck that will last for years to come. If you are in the market for something a little easier to maintain that will not rot away over time, there are synthetic building materials available. They give the same appearance as wood, but are more durable. These are also environmentally friendly because they are made from recycled plastic products. There are several options if you choose to go this route. PolypropyleneThis is a mixture of wood and plastic. Over 50 percent of the plastic is recycled from TVs, keyboards, and other hard plastic items. It is made by using heat and pressure to enclose a piece of wood in the plastic. A wood grain finish can then be added to the surface to give it that pure wood look. It is heat resistant so it will not burn bare feet during hot summer days. However, it may fade quickly unless a UV inhibitor is added on to it quickly after installation. A great component of this type of material is that it will retain its shape when bent. PolyethyleneThis is also a mixture of wood and plastic. The difference is that this is made with softer plastics, mostly milk jugs. It is made by a compression molding process and grain is embossed on the surface for slip resistance. This is very hardy material and it comes with a 25 year guarantee against decay. It comes in 4 natural wood shades: Cedar, Redwood, Weathered, and Cape Cod Gray. This makes it look natural, and these colors will make a perfect accent to any home. 100% PolyethyleneThis takes the wood out of the product all together. Made completely from recycled plastic, it is good for the environment and no trees need to be cut down to build it. Since it is entirely synthetic, you can get it in any color you wish. It comes with a UV inhibitor coat to prevent the color from fading, and a wood grain pattern is applied to the surface to give it that natural wood look without the hassle of maintaining it. AluminumSince it is purely metal, it has the least expansion and contraction of any deck building material you can find, making it good for those not-so-temperate climates. It comes with a powder coat paint finish which is available in the standard colors of white, tan, and gray. An important thing to remember if you choose this type of decking: file down the edges so that they are smooth. You don't want any of your guests to get cut by a jagged edge. The beauty of this type of deck is that it has an interlocking surface design so that it hides all the unsightly nails and screws that would normally be visible on a wooden or plastic deck. Synthetic decks have come a long way in the past few years. They don't look as fake and plastic as they once did. The designers have been able to develop them so that they look completely natural. However, they retain their shape and resist decay better than wood, which means that there will be fewer repairs as the years roll on. There is also less maintenance. There is no need to stain the deck to retain that perfect color you want, and it is made waterproof, so there is no need to apply the water sealant every year. A simple spray washing a few times a month, and it will look as good as new for years to come. No matter what you decide to get, whether wood or synthetic, it will look great on your house and provide happiness for as long as you own it.


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