One of the quickest, easiest and cheapest ways to increase your living space is by building a deck. By spending one weekend on construction a do-it-yourselfer can learn how to build a deck and, in the process, provide a platform for extended family recreation and entertaining. Because even a simple, squared deck will enhance anyone s outdoor, patio life just by getting off the ground.
Another great thing about decks is that they can be made with almost any type of building materials from wood to vinyl and metal. Higher commercial decks can require steel supports but most domestic decks are made from wood products.
More complex decks require a plan and a deck contractor should be called in to build higher or multi-tiered decks or deck ideas, like a roof deck, that are more complex. Because they build these structures for a living they have hundreds of different deck designs from which you can choose to suit your lifestyle. For example, a pool deck requires a multi-leveled approach to deck building because there are considerations such as water, chemicals and safety so this will affect the design and deck materials.
Pressure-Treated Wood Decks
The most popular deck-building material is wood. Even decks that use other materials for the decking will use pressure-treated lumber for the frame and supports. Because of weathering concerns early decks might only last fifteen years. This is due to water getting into the crevices promoting the decay process. Even staining and painting would only extend the life of the deck for up to ten years. But pressure-treating the wood with chemicals right to the core of the lumber changed all the negative aspects of regular wood.
Not only is wood used as the support system but is great decking as well. Planking as wide as 8 and as long as 16 feet is used with great success and looks great. The companies that produce these wood products recommend that the wood deck be allowed to stand for a year before painting or staining to let the chemicals on the outer parts of the wood leach out. This increases the sealing properties of the stains and paints.
Cedar and Redwood
Two of the best natural woods to use are cedar and redwood. They can be used to build the structure as well and they almost never need treating. Both have natural oils that not only prevent decay but also repel insects and organisms that promote and speed up rot. However, both redwood and cedar decking can be stained or oiled to preserve their red look.
Whether using pressure-treated wood, cedar or other exotic wood products these decks should be cleaned regularly with a power washer to keep them looking great. Staining should be redone every two years on the planking and rails.
An innovation in decking materials is the invention of composite products. Although they are two to five times more expensive than regular wood they are impervious to water and insects and last a lifetime. The composition and make up of these products varies but most of them include wood particles and recycled vinyl. Some products are solid planks while others are extruded in a process that creates channels and posts for strength but make the planks lighter. A composite deck is available in a variety of colors but most companies supply them in brown and gray shades. In addition these planks can be cut, nailed or screwed like regular wood planks. They are also available in railings and posts.
Vinyl decking, also known as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a great material because it is extruded for strength and light-weight. There are basically two layers for this product. The outer layer is made of pure vinyl and contains the pigment and ultra-violet protection while the bulk contains recycled vinyl. Besides looking great PVC decking is installed on a rail system that makes it go on very quickly saving hours of labor. The posts and railings are usually aluminum-reinforced PVC. Vinyl is great around swimming pools or anywhere there is a lot of water. Almost maintenance-free, if it does get dirty a good power-washing will restore its luster.
Like PVC, aluminum decking is installed in a system rather than being screwed down. Rails and deck posts, and even deck stairs, are made from this material. In addition, glass panels are available for the railing systems. Aluminum is usually powder-coated or covered with a PVC skin making it great around water areas, even salt water. The planks are textured like wood but almost never need maintenance outside a seasonal cleaning.Posted by: TrustedPros