Add a Deck

by Jane VanOsdol on April 12, 2011

With the warm weather of spring comes a renewed interest in outdoor entertaining and relaxing. As you’re taking stock of your yard and outdoor spaces after the difficult winter, you may find that a new deck is in order. A wood deck is a favorite of many homeowners, but it’s certainly not your only choice. Composite, PVC and aluminum are other choices that may fit your family and your lifestyle just as well.

Wood Decks

Wood decks are the tried and true fallback for many homeowners when it comes to deck building. When deciding upon what type of wood to use, look for wood specifically milled for decking construction, usually labeled as patio decking. You’ll want to choose decay-resistant wood or pressure-treated lumber for those parts of the deck that will be exposed to rain and snow. Some good choices are cedar and redwood that have a high heartwood quantity, as well as pressure-treated lumber. Most wood decks need to be maintained by sealing them or re-staining them every few years.

Composite Decks

Composite decking boards

Composite decks are made from a combination of wood and polyethylene. They have a simulated wood grain that looks authentic, but they require little maintenance. You do need to be careful about dragging metal furniture across them or using a metal shovel on them in the winter to remove snow, because the metal can scratch the surface of the deck. The deck boards usually come in shades of brown and gray. The color can fade and may require staining or painting. Many of them have a 20-year limited warranty.

PVC Decks

PVC decks are also made to look like wood, but again they are much more durable than wood and also have a few benefits over composite decks.  PVC decks are stain resistant, mold resistant and fade resistant. Because they have a closed-cell technology, nothing will become imbedded in the decking material. And they are impervious to bugs. All they require is a simple cleaning with soap and water.

Aluminum Decks

One company, LockDry, boasts a locking-seal technology that makes a completely waterproof deck that comes with a limited lifetime warranty. This aluminum decking has a non-skid surface and needs no painting or staining. It won’t splinter, crack or warp as wood does. It also comes in five standard colors, so you’ll be sure to find one that will complement your home’s exterior.

Here’s a list of the decking material listed in order from roughly least expensive to most expensive:

  1. Pressure-treated lumber
  2. PVC
  3. Aluminum
  4. Composite
  5. Cedar
  6. Redwood

As you consider a deck building home improvement project at your house, explore the many options on the market to find the one that will match your aesthetics, your budget and your lifestyle.

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