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A deck extends the functional space of a home and allows homeowners to enjoy nature. This report about decks can help you make an informed decision when choosing materials. At the end of this page, we’ve included a few brand websites for you to explore about each type of decking. Popham does not endorse these resources, but only supplies them as a convenient source of information. Popham will provide samples of different types of decking for your review and discuss the most effective value for your needs.
If your decking has cracks, looks dirty, or suffers from mildew, it’s time to decide whether to refinish or replace it entirely. Signs of an unsafe deck are often less obvious, but safety checks are critical when deciding to repair or replace. Also, if your deck was built before 2004, it’s probably made of lumber treated with chromate copper arsenate. Regular refinishing helps to seal in the toxic arsenic that CCA decking contains. But if the finish is flaking or worn off in spots, Popham is equipped to safely remove the old finish, dust, and debris, and then refinish it. Today’s pressure-treated (PT) lumber is treated with safer chemicals.
TYPES OF DECKING MATERIALS
When considering what type of decking material to use, be sure that it complements the house design. Most materials are available in styles that range from contemporary to historic. The width of the decking, it’s color and finish, and the design of the railing become important design elements.
Pressure Treated Lumber
- PROS: It’s affordable and readily available. Most PT decking is milled from southern yellow pine, and then chemically treated to resist rot, fungus, and wood-boring bugs.
- CONS: PT lumber has a tendency to crack, split, and warp. Routine maintenance is necessary to prolong the life and look of the deck, which includes annual power washing and an application of stain or wood preservative every two or three years.
Redwood & Cedar
- PROS: Both of these western softwoods are prized for their rich natural beauty and because they are not chemically treated. Both redwood and cedar contain tannins and oils that make them naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insects.
- CONS: There are different grades of both species, which affect their durability. Your budget will help you determine the grade you can afford. Both redwood and cedar require an annual power washing and coat of finish every three to four years.
Composite Decking & Plastic Lumber
Composite decking and plastic lumber represent the fastest growing decking materials sold today and they come in a wide range of colors.
Composed primarily of wood fibers and recycled plastic. The result is an extremely weather and stain-resistant board that won’t splinter, warp, rot, or split.
Made from 100% plastic (recycled and/or virgin); it does not contain wood fibers. It is also highly resistant to staining and decay and is free of knots, cracks, and splinters.
- PROS: Composite decking and plastic lumber do have certain advantages over wood: They’re extremely low-maintenance and never need to be sanded, refinished, or stained.
- CONS: They aren’t maintenance-free. Mold and mildew can grow in shady, damp areas of the deck, and some composites can eventually show signs of decay, which makes sense since they are partly wood.
When compared with wood, composite and plastic lumber, aluminum decking is three to four time lighter, yet two to three times stronger.
- PROS: Won’t rot, rust, warp, splinter, or crack. It’s also extremely weather and mold resistant. It’s powder-coated finish lasts virtually forever so it won’t peel or blister. Aluminum can’t catch fire, wood-boring bugs hate it, and it’s cryogenically strong, meaning it doesn’t get brittle in extremely cold weather. Aluminum decking stays cooler in the sun than most other types of decking because of the metal’s superior heat-dissipation properties. It’s also totally recyclable!
- CONS: Despite attempts to create the look of wood, aluminum decking does not have that natural look that many prefer. It can be noisy from heavy footsteps or a gathering of people. Aluminum decks can be more slippery, especially in icy weather.