Our team answers homeowner questions every weekend on WCCO 830 AM from 9:00 am-10:00 am. Have your most pressing home improvement questions answered by calling 651-989-9226. Here’s must-know information from our in-house deck specialist, Luke Panek, shared on 8.21.21.
Planning a deck construction project can seem like a giant task. However, a great place to start is websites that showcase home improvement projects, such as Houzz.com & Pinterest. To determine the appropriate deck size, it’s wise to consider the number of people that will be using the deck and the amount of furniture you wish to place on it. Many times, homeowners underestimate the amount of space that is needed until they consider these factors.
It’s important to note that there are a variety of maintenance-free decking materials within the marketplace, but that they do have many differences. TimberTech® AZEK is made of capped polymer. This means that it does not have the organic sawdust that other composite decking materials can contain. This makes it impervious to water. Millboard is also gaining popularity. It is newer and brought in from Europe. What sets it apart is its unique oak-textured look.
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Another option homeowners should consider when they build a deck is whether to use hidden fasteners. Hidden fasteners can be used in a variety of ways. However, the most durable and secure mechanical attachment is a screw through the top of the deck board and not the bottom or side. However, screws can detract from the deck’s appearance because moisture and debris can collect on the top of them. With TimberTech® AZEK capped polymer products, a plug system can be used. In this scenario, a precise hole for the screw is created and then a plug is put back in the hole that is tension fit and matches the decking. This fills the hole created by the screw, ensuring beauty and stability. If the decking is made from millboard, a different approach should be taken. That’s because millboard is thicker than composite decking and smaller trim head screws are used. They sink down into the wood about a quarter of an inch. Millboard is unique because it heals itself back together over the screws, which conceals the screw holes.
The stairs for a new deck require careful consideration as a variety of materials can be used. Popular options include the kiln dried treated pine for the stair stringers and framing from Fortress steel. Depending on a deck’s height and space requirements, a spiral staircase can also be ideal. The advantage of a spiral staircase is that it takes up so much less space than those other configurations. Spiral staircases do a good job of providing unobstructed views.
Homeowners wanting to make repairs to older redwood or cedar decks should understand that while these materials are still available, they have changed over time. Nowadays, redwood and cedar decks are made from less mature trees. This means the wood is harder to match and is less durable and rot resistant than the decks of the past. For these reasons, many homeowners opting to build a new wooden deck are choosing kiln dried treated pine. It’s important to note that this type of deck can crack, experience movement, and split over time. However, the volume this happens is less than treated wood. That’s because after it is treated and still wet, it is put into a kiln to remove the moisture in a controlled environment. This process eliminates most of the shrinking that can happen over time with a new wood deck.
When it comes to return on investment, one of the best improvements you can make to your home is the installation of a new entry door. Two of the more popular materials are steel and fiberglass. In terms of beauty, fiberglass does a better job of replicating the look of a wood door. However, fiberglass doors can warp and crack in the Midwestern temperature and humidity swings. This is especially true for fiberglass doors that experience heavy amounts of direct sunlight. Steel doors are lighter in weight, making them easier to maneuver. They also tend to edge out fiberglass in terms of durability.
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