Decks are a great way to accent your home while allowing you more square footage to entertain friends and family. Today, there are more choices in deck materials than ever before. Your choices include pressure-treated lumber, cedar, redwood, ipe and composites such as Trex.
Pressure-treating is a popular process for attempting to weatherproof inexpensive spruce. You can recognize it by its characteristic green color. This cheap option will warp and splinter quickly and leave you with years of frustrating maintenance.
Cedar and redwood create the beautiful decks that are featured in most home magazines. Living in Texas, you will still have to take the time to re-stain your cedar/redwood deck on a regular basis. Split or splintered boards will occasionally need to be replaced. These materials make beautiful decks that require a moderate degree of maintenance.
Composites are mixtures of plastic, wood product, such as sawdust, and adhesives. They are easy to work with and require no maintenance, although they do tend to fade. Some people dislike the fact that composites are stamped with an obvious, repeating wood pattern and look unnatural like a linoleum floor. Due to their composition, composites can also get extremely hot in the sun. If you are planning to construct a deck in an area with full sun, you may want to avoid composites. They are excellent, however, for use in wet areas surrounding hot tubs, docks or piers. And just like actual lumber, composites come in different grades that determine their strength, longevity and ability to maintain color.
Ipe is the new jewel of decking. It is a specialty wood from Brazil with the density rating of concrete. It will last 30 years without rotting or insect infestation. The lumber still turns gray within 4 to 6 months, but it leaves your home with a beautiful, maintenance-free look. Its only downside is that it is too strong and firm to be used for fancy waves and curves.
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