There's nothing like relaxing on a beautiful deck on a warm summer day with a refreshing, cold drink. But after a long winter, many decks need a tune-up, or what we in the construction industry call "deferred maintenance". Maybe your deck even needs to be updated or replaced.
When we receive calls about building a new deck, the conversation frequently centers around whether to use the new composite decking or real wood. This gives us an opportunity to explain the pros and cons of each.
Here's a quick review of a few of the deck products available.
Since we have a Trex* deck on our current home, I know firsthand its pros and cons. Our deck is 13 years old and is severely delaminating, as you can see in this picture. In addition, it also holds heat. In our area it gets 100 degrees plus on occasion, so walking on it barefooted is not an option.
One pro for Trex is it doesn't require staining and, aside from the delaminating, it has required very little maintenance.
Trex has improved their products since the time our deck was built. They are now offering a 25 year limited warranty on residential use. For more information check out their website.
Another composite deck option is TimberTech*. Although I've never personally had a TimberTech deck, of the composite decks it would be my first choice. According to their website, TimberTech products are made from technologically-advanced materials. Their decking, railing, and fencing products are covered by a 25-year limited warranty for residential use.
TimberTech is guaranteed against termites, checking, splitting, decay, rot, and splintering. Their Earthwood Evolutions is covered by a 25-year fade and stain warranty.
Keep in mind that most of the cost to install decking is labor, and the warranties don't cover labor costs to replace defective products.
For you swimming pool owners, TimberTech advertises that their product is far more slip-resistant than wood, and you don't have to worry about warped planks or splinters. In addition, they claim they have dramatically reduced heat build-up due to a reflective, inorganic pigment.
We have built many decks over the years, most of them redwood or cedar. We can attest to their longevity and ability to hold up under extreme weather, especially if they are maintained properly. As far as beauty, it's hard to beat the look of a beautiful redwood or cedar deck, as this picture of one of our projects demonstrates.
Redwood decks do require pressure washing and re-staining every 2-3 years. So if time is a concern, and you decide to use redwood, you will want to consider hiring a contractor to refresh your deck and keep it properly maintained.
Another gorgeous wood product on the market is called Tigerwood*, also called Goncalo Alves, Brazilian Koa, and Muiracatiara.
Tigerwood is an exotic hardwood that is naturally resistant to rot and decay, and offers a 25+ year lifespan, even without the use of preservatives. It also advertises it will not attract mold and fungus and is naturally slip-resistant.
Tigerwood is offering a Free Sample on their website at Tigerwood.com.
Ipe is another decking material which has impressed us, and we highly recommend. Ipe (also called Pau Lope* and Iron Wood ) is a Brazilian hardwood that has been used on the Atlantic City boardwalk, and after 24 years of use shows little wear.
Ipe is extremely hard, and is labor intensive to install, as we found out after installing it for one of our customers in Murphys, California. It grows in the Amazon region and is extremely resistant to fire, decay, and insects. It also has the "green" benefit of not needing harsh chemical coatings or preservatives. It will naturally turn gray over time.
If you're working within a set budget, redwood or cedar would be your wood of choice. Although maintenance is required to keep it looking like new, and ensure the best longevity, it's significantly less expensive to install making the overall cost less. A deck's cost, of course, depends on the grade of lumber used and the accessories you desire.
Since a well built and maintained deck can last 30 years or more, you'll want to make sure you choose the right decking material and the right contractor. Decks can be constructed with strong, sturdy handrails and decking boards, or they can be built with handrails that feel loose and insecure and with nails instead of the security provided by a deck that is screwed in place.
Whichever type of decking material you choose, we have the expertise to build a strong, sturdy deck you will enjoy for years to come. Contact us for a free consultation at 209-772-9200, when you're ready for your next deck project.
*Trex, TimberTech, Tigerwood, and Pau Lope are registered trademarks.