[Posted on Feb 8]
Written by: Aaron Presley
Homeowners considering a deck, more than likely already have a general idea of how much they want to spend on design and construction. After time management, double checking on local zoning codes and budgeting for unforeseen expenses, the deck can be designed. Deck Lumber can be dictated by personal taste, as well as climate, durability and a homeowner’s sense of environmental consciousness.
Climate and Durability with Hardwoods and Treated Lumber
Pressure treated woods generally last longer with proper sealants and stains than natural untreated woods and Deck Lumber. Climate will definitely be a factor in the types of wood in which the deck is constructed, as well as durability. There are a great deal of hardwoods which are desirable for decking, because of their beauty and ability to withstand extreme weather and temperature variations.
Western red cedar and redwoods weather naturally into beautiful muted gray tones, if left untreated, and they both stand up to rainy climates, cold climates and dry humid and hot climates. The added beauty of these woods is the deep penetrating staining of them, which brings out, and retains their natural characteristics. Redwoods are naturally rot resistant.
Natural hardwoods and treated lumber are the most common decking materials. Hardwoods like pine, oak and cedar can be purchased untreated or treated, painted, stained and left natural to age with weather. Deck designs with these natural woods and treated lumber are typically tradition style deck floors, with railing and built-in seating options.
Wood Composites and Going Green
Homeowners concerned with environmental and natural resource issues may opt for the look of wood using composite decking materials. This composite of wood and plastic is comprised of wood fibers, recycled waste plastic products and polyethylene. Highly prized for being resistant to moisture and dry rot, the composite is light weight and expands and contracts admirably with hot and cold weather.
Decks designed with wood composites can go extreme. This decking material can lend a geographic or abstract design element, as the material can be ordered molded into any shape or length desired. Wood composites come in many wood-like patterns and colors, yet will be generally more expensive than traditional wood decking and treated lumber. The size and design of the deck to be built will have to be taken into consideration when going with wood composites.
Another alternative to natural hardwoods and treated lumber decking materials are sustainable woods like bamboo and cork. Bamboo can be stained to match the color of any type of wood, yet has a beautiful look on its own. Designing a deck around the feel and look of bamboo can add tropical undertones. Deck designs which work well with bamboo are floating decks and decks which have clean lines and low profiles.
Decking material which is comprised of cork flooring is a sustainable and green solution. Once sealed, cork can last a lifetime and seacork is a traditional cork used in marine decking on boats. This durable decking material holds up extremely well in wet, hot and cold climates.
Decks lend character to the overall design of a house and yard. Regardless of the intended use and design of the deck, the style of the house, the landscaping or decking materials, adding a deck creates an outdoor living space, which raises a home’s resell value. Homeowners should finish up their deck with safety features such as, deck lighting, steps, railing, and outdoor friendly seating and storage.