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  Wednesday, October 22, 2014  
   
 

 
Decks
burgers on the grill and friends on the deck

Summer months can easily be described by hamburgers on the grill cooking, kids in the yard playing, and friends on the deck laughing.
Decks can be an extension of the home often serving as an extra room. In the mild and warmer months of the year, decks can even be the main entertaining area of your home. For those of you looking to add a deck to your home, or maybe even spruce up your existing deck, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

When you first make the decision to add a deck to your home, or remodel your existing deck, you should take into consideration the weather conditions of your area and how exposed the deck will be. This will have an impact on the type of materials you use for your deck. There are products available that are specifically engineered to withstand high volumes of moisture or direct sunlight.

Other decisions to make prior to having a deck installed are what type of deck structure will best suit you and your family’s needs. Will a simply square deck meet all of your needs, or would you be better suited with a deck that has various levels for cooking, entertaining, and relaxing?

You also want to be certain that the materials and structure you choose will meet your family’s long term needs. Young couples should be aware that decks with wide stairways can be hard to block off when small children are playing outdoors and that smaller stairways can be fitted with child safe gates. Aging couples may want to reconsider a deck with many different flights and levels. Work with your contractor to determine what type of decking is most practical for you and your family.

When looking at the type of decking materials that you will be using for your project there are several things to keep in mind. There are pros and cons to all decking materials, so you should do your homework to find one that fits your needs.

Pressure Treated Pine Decking
A very common type of decking material is pressure treated pine. When pine is pressure treated it is immersed in a liquid preservative and then placed into a pressure chamber which forces the chemical into the wood fibers. This treatment helps to slow woods natural degeneration.

Pressure treated pine has a very natural look to it that makes it a good choice for decking. Another reason this is such a common material for decks is that it is much less expensive than many of the other materials on the market. The downside is that even treated wood will breakdown over time and begin to warp if it is exposed to the elements. For this reason it is preferable for decks in more protected areas.

Exotic Hardwood Decking
A luxurious option for decking is exotic hardwoods. This decking option can provide truly beautiful colors and is often gouge resistant. This is a much more durable option than standard pressure treated pine. Although, exotic hardwoods do require treatment when first installed to prevent against discoloration and warping over time.

Exotic Hardwoods are typically imported from South America. The largest benefit to using exotic hardwoods is that once they are installed they are virtually maintenance free. Over time their color can change, but a quick power washing is all that is necessary to get them back to looking brand new. Hardwoods are stronger than materials such as pine and will resist twisting and warping so there is no need to go back and adjust fasteners. When looking to make a dramatic statement in your decking material exotic hardwoods are an excellent option.

Vinyl Decking
A carefree vinyl decking material has been designed to look and feel just like real wood, with all the benefits of vinyl. Just like vinyl siding on your home requires minimal maintenance, so does vinyl decking.

One of the benefits of vinyl decking is that it does not become uncomfortably hot to the touch like standard wood decks. Another huge benefit is that is easy to clean. There are a large range of colors and shades available for this type of decking, and best of all they do not fade. This decking will look new for years after it is installed and is ideal for homeowners who are concerned with warping and splintering.

Composite Decking
Composite decking is a type of decking materials that is not only long lasting and aesthetically appealing, but also makes efficient use of recycled materials. Many homeowners are turning to composite decking as a way to incorporate an environmentally responsible material into their homes, while still ensuring a durable deck that will stand the test of time and look great for years to come.

Composite decking materials do not require annual staining and sealing, saving time and money on upkeep -- appealing with today’s busy lifestyles. When replacing or installing a deck, wood-plastic composite decking can provide homeowners with an environmentally friendly option. Some products are made using recycled content, including recovered wood fiber and recycled polyethylene plastics from items such as milk jugs and grocery sacks, keeping what might have been unused waste out of landfills.

Composite decking is also an appealing option because of its classic wood appearance. Decks built with composite materials resist splintering and are slip-resistant. Their durability also makes composites hold up well to heavy foot traffic.

Advances in aesthetics have made composite decking an even more attractive option. More color options and convenient accessories, including decorative railings with handy details such as hollow posts to allow for easy installation of outdoor lighting, also add to the appeal of composite decking product lines. Color options range from gray to the look of tropical hardwoods. This helps homeowners complement existing structures and add visual interest by mixing and matching multiple colors. This type of decking is more expensive upfront, but can pay for itself over time by not needing additional upkeep.

As homeowners increasingly demand quality in their building materials, it is important to make a choice that is appropriate for your budget and your ability to provide upkeep. Luckily there are products available to meet all of your needs. Your deck can be such a large part of your lifestyle. For this reason it is important that you speak with a licensed contractor to build the deck that is right for you. The end result is an inviting deck that is built with you in mind.