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 8.29.20.
When it comes to new deck installation, one of the biggest decisions a homeowner must make is which material to use. While wood decking has a lower upfront cost than composite materials, it requires substantially more maintenance. Wood decking provides a rustic look because it weathers over time. For homeowners opting for wood decking, there are many varieties to choose from, including wood, pressure treated, and kiln dried.
Most treated wood at a lumberyard is either green or brown treated. When wood is treated, it is placed in a tank and swells up with the treating solution. When the wood is removed, it has a moisture content of 60%-70%. The wood is not given a chance to full dry out. Instead, it is bundled, stacked, covered with a tarp and moved to an indoor lumberyard. The material is not exposed to natural elements, such as the sun or the wind until it is installed on their deck. The introduction to the outdoors leads to treated lumber shrinking, warping, and cracking.
Approximately a decade ago, kiln dried wood made its introduction to the marketplace. This process involves lowering the moisture levels of the wood to about 15%, just as is done with interior millwork. This creates a lighter, yet more stable wood product that is less prone to shrinkage, cracking, and warping.
Homeowners wishing to forego costly and time-consuming deck maintenance can find composite decking to be a desirable option. Comprised of sawdust and/or other organic materials mixed with PVC resin, this material holds up well against Mother Nature. One example of this is TimberTech AZEK which is entirely cellular PVC synthetic decking. This decking material works particularly well in the Midwest, where rampant climate and humidity changes are commonplace. The absence of sawdust within the product’s makeup equates to less expansion and contraction than other composites with sawdust. The only maintenance this type of decking requires washing off organic debris, such as pollen. When compared with wooden decks, synthetic decks will have more tread grip, making them less slippery. Since synthetic decks are denser than wood, they hold heat longer. This creates an argument for opting for a lighter decking color to prevent the deck from getting too hot in the summer months. Cellular PVC decking also tends to be cooler to the to the touch than composites that contain sawdust.
Go Behind the Scenes on a Decking Project Completed by the Craftsmen at Lindus Construction:
When it comes to calculating the price for a deck, the best option is to request a free estimate from a reputable contractor. As a general rule of thumb, wooden decks are cheaper than composite decks. Factors that can drive up the price of the deck include whether or not a staircase is needed. The taller the staircase, the more the price increases. Oftentimes, the staircase is at least 1/3 the cost of the project.
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