If you are dreaming of spending summer and fall on a great deck – there are a few things to consider before you launch yourself into the realm of outdoor living and entertaining.
First, where is the deck going? Is it going to be in the sun all the time, partial sun or in the shade? How big will your deck be? Next, what’s your budget? Decks can be built from wood (treated lumber) or from composite, PVC or vinyl boards.
Wood is the most economical, but there’s a maintenance factor involved. Wood decks need to be washed and stained – depending on how much use and sun they are getting – it may have to be every year. At least every five years they have to be stripped, sanded and re-stained. If you don’t maintain a wood deck, it will fade to a silvery gray and crack, splinter and warp.
There are tropical hardwoods to use as decking boards, but they are expensive, hard to stain and because they are so hard, there may be additional installation costs. Hardwoods don’t take kindly to fasteners. If you are screwing or nailing the boards together, you will need to drill pilot holes first.
There is no question composite or vinyl decking boards cost more than red cedar or redwood, sometimes three to four times as much. The wood look vinyl or composite boards look like wood and they come in lots of colors. If you’ve been dreaming about a curved multi-tiered deck – you’re going to need to go with vinyl and hire a good installer.
Vinyl boards are heated and curved, either on site or ordered that way and they can give you that contemporary look. If curved boards are still your desire, you better find someone who knows their way around a deck installation if you plan to have the boards curved on site.
Look for some texture on the vinyl boards because dew or light rain on untextured boards makes for a slippery situation. And just as with natural wood, consider where the deck is going to go when you are picking a color for your vinyl or composite deck. Dark composite boards will hold the heat so your entertainment area might not be very comfortable after hours of direct sun.
With any type of deck, the accessories are numerous. From railing with glass which keep the view unobstructed to solar post caps that glow at night, your accessories can make your deck a great place to entertain, but they also should be included in your initial budget considerations.
If you are considering a small deck or a multi-tiered glamorous beauty that wraps around the house, it’s worth it to look for a professional to design your deck. Or you could try your hand at some of the programs on the websites of the decking companies.
If you don't know where to start, you can get guidance from our professionals at Marling Lumber and HomeWorks.