Are you considering remodeling your deck? Remodeling the deck will update your home by rejuvenating its outdoor space.
If you are considering remodeling your deck, an important decision for you will be the material you select. The available materials include pressure treated wood, natural wood, wood composite material, vinyl, steel, and a combination of the materials. Despite the variety, wood remains the most popular material for decks.
The advantages and disadvantages of the most popular materials are as follows.
Pressure Treated Wood – The Most Economical Choice
Pressure treating is a process that forces a chemical preservative inside the wood and makes it resistant to rot, fungus and wood-boring insects. Pressure treated lumber is still the most widely used decking material. It is easier to use and offers unequaled benefits such as its natural appearance, strength, longevity, and economy.
Pressure treated pine is the least expensive pressure treated wood. But, it can develop uneven color. Maintenance is essential to prolong the life and looks of the wood. Annual power washing and a stain or wood preservative application are necessary every two or three years.
A certain amount of the preservative may leach to the surface over time. Homeowners apply a coating when they notice the rain stops beading on the wood. This reduces the amount of preservative that leaches to the surface. Without regular maintenance, it has a tendency to crack, split, or warp.
American Natural Woods – The Environmentally-Friendly Choice
Many homeowners select a natural wood deck when they do not use pressure treated wood for deck remodeling. Natural wood is the most environmentally friendly material as it a renewable resource that requires less energy or chemicals to produce than the other alternatives.
Redwood or red cedar are preferred by purists. These two western softwoods are cherished for their natural beauty. They are also naturally rotting and pest resistant because they contain tannins and oils that resist pests and decay. However, these natural qualities are directly related to the amount of heartwood that is present because sapwood, that grows in the outer part of the tree, is softer and more vulnerable to decay.
Staining is necessary to maintain their natural color; otherwise, the color of both redwood and cedar will change to a silvery gray over time. Pricewise, the domestic natural woods are generally more expensive than pretreated wooden boards.
Imported Tropical Hardwoods – A More Exotic Choice
Several foreign tropical hardwoods are now also available for deck remodeling. These rich-grained hardwoods are very durable and are naturally resistant to rot and insects. Necessary maintenance includes annual power washing and a finish coat every three or four years. Applying a clear, water-repellent wood preservative is also required to reduce fine splits and to protect the wood’s surface from the weather.
Wood Plastic Composite Materials – A Low Maintenance Option
Wood plastic composites are the most popular composite decking materials. Low maintenance and a wide variety are boosting their popularity. However, price constraints popularity. The cost of expensive import hardwoods is still cheaper than most composite materials. Even though prices vary, the cost of composite materials can exceed by two to four times the cost of installing wood decking materials. But the cost differentials narrow over time, as wood requires more maintenance.
There is no perfect decking material on the market, as each option has its own set of pros and cons. Ultimately, the choice depends on personal preferences and needs. The ideal material suits the homeowner’s aesthetical preference and budgets the best.
A Brief Explanation of Popular Deck Building Materials