An elevated deck is a great way to use sloping or uneven land, gives you an attractive and versatile addition to your property and is a great focal point for entertaining and spending hours in the garden. Composite decking typically consists of some type of plastic material, such as polyethylene and/or polyvinyl chloride, and wood particles. When it comes to outdoor wood projects and materials, the three big contenders are pressure-treated or PT wood, cedar and composite. This category is very broad, encompassing many different types of finish material, but we can still look at a few of the more general pros and cons. Wood treated with CCA was used on many residential decks built before 2004 because it is highly resistant to termites.
While solid boards expand and contract more than hollow boards, they are stronger and tend to look more like real wood than hollow composites. We designed ours to be 20 feet long by 12 feet wide, an attached deck with an angled corner at one end. That’s because there are no deck boards on the concrete, and shortening that riser keeps each step height consistent. Since the masonry anchors Steve used did not penetrate deep enough into the brick to disrupt the moisture barrier, Steve’s crew was confident that this deck did not require separate flashing.
Pro-Tip: You can opt for hidden fasteners that are driven into the side (rather than the face) of the deck boards. A misconception exists that exterior deck stains act like interior stains – but they don’t. This is a generality, and some stains can be slick, but for the most part, stains are more of a flat surface that protect the wood without creating a very slippery surface. There are a whole bunch of screws you can use on lumber, but you must absolutely ensure the ones you get are meant for use with decking (i.e. weather and if using treated wood ACQ resistant).
Force a suitably sized wooden dowel into these holes and fix it in place using wood glue. Spray and Drape: Make sure to spray down all plants in the area with water before you start. This transparent finish will provide dampness protection for the wood without altering it’s natural color or grain. Banish mildew as soon as you see it. Untreated, it can create permanent deck damage.
Deck Cleaner & Brightener is an acid-based cleaner that attacks tannin staining on redwood and cedar, while Maximum Strength Deck Stripper removes solid stains, hard-to-remove semi-transparent stains, and tinted and clear waterproofers. To determine which type of deck will work best for your lifestyle and budget, let’s look at the two main components of each: cost and upkeep. Cut the board to length and clamp it in position in front of the deck posts, overhanging the sub-frame. These materials make the wood less water absorbent, causing the wood to stay dry on the inside. What looks good on walls and trim doesn’t always look good on a huge surface like a deck.
At the mid-price range, cedar, a beautiful wood that gives off an amazing smell, is more resistant to rot but breaks down when exposed to moist conditions. And while I have no doubt that pressure-treated lumber is a safe and economical way to build a deck, this kind of wood is also much more corrosive to screws, nails and metal fasteners than plain wood or the old arsenic-preserved lumber. Many decks made of pressure-treated lumber lose their looks: The wood warps, splits, and turns an ugly gray. Make a mark on the board farthest from the house just outside the far right joist. However, other types of high-quality finishes can also do a great job of protecting wood.
But, if the deck is mainly a place to rest and relax, it could be freestanding—just about anywhere on your property. I know because I’ve been building and observing decks since 1988 and I’ve seen the deck trap” catch too many unsuspecting homeowners. Solid stain offers a rich, opague finish that covers wood completely like paint , but with the adhering benefits of a stain.
It’s important to check the crown of the board and make sure it’s crown up.” Using a framing square, line up the rise and run measurements on the edge of the stringer and mark your line. Look like the next step is to cut a door through the brick to give access from the house to the deck. The agitation and friction caused by a paint brush will cause the wood to absorb more stain.
Better grade materials run a bit more in cost but tend to require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan than those on the lower end of the spectrum; this is true for both wood and composite decking materials. I agree with Jim Casper – after about 50 years of dealing with weathered wood finishing both in my homes and in the construction business, it comes down to about 90% preparation, 10% the finishing. Building with Wood Pallet’s are all the rage, and I love how cool and rustic they are, so I was excited about the idea. Wood decks manufactured before 2004 are made of CCA-treated wood, which contains arsenic and chromium—both carcinogens.
If you’ve had a child take a tumble down a set of stairs, you know exactly how dangerous and traumatic a fall down the stairs can be. Now, in your home, your stairs are either carpeted or nice, smoothly finished wood. Since the crew had the ledger and first row finished, they added a few joists and ran a string guide to make it easier to setup the rest of the posts.
After the concrete cured, they moved the stairs into place with the top of the stairs resting on the deck support beam. Deck building is certainly a DIY endeavor provided you have better than average building skills and keep the plan simple. There is a ramp on the left which brings you up to deck level, as well as stairs leading you back down to the rear yard. The owner wanted a fairly light and transparent handrail surrounding his deck (and let’s be honest, the success of any deck relies on the execution of its handrail) but glass was out of the question – it’s a pain to clean.
Don’t burn your wood off-cuts as timber treated with preservatives can give off harmful fumes. Unfortunately, most decks are built with large, unventilated areas of wood in direct contact with each other, and this holds moisture and encourages rot in a big way. Paint will need recoating every five years depending on traffic wear and deck care. Finally, you have the fact that the wood is treated lumber, and has been attached at several points to the concrete. Love this article I will be using it in a few weeks for renovating my deck which is nearly identical in size and shape. PT wood costs the least of the wood options, which is probably why it’s so popular.
Manufacturers who have wood chemists on their product-development staffs understand the nuances between different species and are more likely to tune their products to match the properties of particular woods. You’ll be making a ton of cuts to fit the wood into different sizes and shapes, and will be exposing the untreated innards to the elements.
Pro-Tip: The size of posts required for a deck installation depends on the span being supported by the post, as well as the height of the deck. When a manufacturer touts a line specifically designed for ipe or mahogany, for instance, it’s probably worth taking a closer look (Figure 7). I use the cardboard from the box the stain came in. You can cut out notches in the cardboard so it will fit snugly around the rail posts. Lightly sand to remove mill glaze from new wood and UV-damaged fibers from old wood.
Measure the proposed deck width, minus 1 foot, from the wall along the cords on the left and right edges of the deck and mark them. Pro-Talk: A scarf joint is made by overlapping two pieces of wood along a tapered, beveled, or chamfered end. Wolman DeckBrite Wood Cleaner & Coating Prep is an example of an oxygen-based bleach cleaner, which will remove the weathered residue as well as attack dirt and mildew. Kozlowski also recommends neutralizing with a wood brightener after using Maximum Strength Deck Stripper. The trouble is those fuzzy fibres are also loosely anchored to the underlying wood.
I actually know this homeowner (randomly) so it wouldn’t be a problem to check in with him down the line, see how the deck is holding up. Much of the rough wood texture shows through the solid-tone stain, although the pictures don’t capture the texture very well. Using a water level, transfer each of the three marks to the left and right edges of the deck.
I have only built one deck myself – and I scavenged all the pieces from the existing deck that I dismantled (talk about limited material choices). And, let’s face it, they are beautiful to look at. Many homeowners like the rich, furniture-like look and feel of hardwood decking, and want it to always look as it does the day it is installed (Figure 3). My wife and friends are amazed at how beautiful and solid it is. I used douglas fir wood and stained using mission oak satin” stain/poly mix. Start by clearing away all the vegetation, rocks and trees that don’t feature in your deck design, taking care not to disturb any drains or underground cabling.