We're going to kick off a series on one of the most popular outdoor renovation projects for homeowners in the summer — building or renovating a deck. As you probably know, one of the first decisions homeowners need to make is what to build their deck out of! There are several popular materials that work for many different deck designs. Let's talk about each and what their benefits are.
Ordinary lumber cannot easily stand the wear and tear that decks face: Pressure-treated wood has been protected with chemicals that keep it safe from bugs, rain, and other common outdoor problems. It's typically made from softwood, such as yellow pine. It's an affordable option for decks and can be stained for different appearances. However, softwoods can splinter under rough activity, and those protective chemicals can be toxic and unsuitable for pets, children, unprotected skin, and metal screws/nails that can be corroded. Wood decking also requires metal screws or nails that are visible and can corrode.
Cedar or Redwood
Cedar and redwood have grown to become some of the most popular wood deck materials thanks to their beautiful appearance (especially with the right stains) and natural properties. These woods naturally resist insect damage and rot. However, they are typically classified as softwoods and can be damaged if you aren't careful. Maintenance is required to keep the wood from leaching out over time.
Hardwoods tend to be dark, harder and more expensive than softwoods. Some decks are made from tropical hardwoods that have plenty of natural resistance to the elements and won't wear out or fade as cedar would. Common choices include red balau, ipe, cumaru and golden ironwood.
Keep in mind that these materials are some of the most expensive woods to use on a deck project, so you will have to adjust cost expectations accordingly. Also, when properly sealed, these woods can grow very hot in the sun, so they are better suited for mild climates or shady areas.
Composites are made of compression plastic, wood fibers, and recycled materials, which are put into board molds. They tend to be affordable, and are highly durable, making these decks well-suited for climates that see a lot of extreme temperatures. They are also surprisingly good at mimicking wood materials at a glance and come in many different shades that won't easily fade away with time.
Composite materials cannot perfectly mimic wood, though, and tend to look odd next to real wood material. Like sealed hardwoods, they also grow uncomfortably hot under the summer sun.
Do you want to learn more about your deck options or find information on other projects? Schedule your consultation with us at Owens Construction today!