Deck Construction

Safety is one of the most important factors when considering the construction of a deck. A vast number of homeowners consider the construction of a deck to be a “do it yourself” job. A deck job can become a costly mistake if something is overlooked or goes wrong in the engineering of the deck. The structural integrity of a deck is of the utmost importance. If you have carried a piece of 2×12 pressure treated lumber you can understand the cumulative weight of the deck by itself can be thousands of pounds. Just add 10 or so dancing friends having a good time on your deck and you now realize the importance of proper structural integrity and proper fasteners. Too many people are seriously injured or die in deck collapses across the country.

Types of Decks

With deck construction there are two basic choices to make:

  • What shape and size of deck are you looking for?
  • What materials to use in your deck construction?

Deck Shape and Size

Deck shape and size will most often be determined by the intended usage or surrounding landscape features. For example, does your deck need to include space for a hot tub or accommodate patio furniture for an outside gathering? Your new deck can include built-in seating, a pergola, an arbor, privacy fencing/screening, decorative railings, or an overhead feature.

Deck Construction Materials

Pressure Treated Lumber Decking Materials – PT lumber is very common in outdoor applications including deck construction and fencing. It’s popularity stems from the durability, price point, and availability of pressure treated lumber. Oftentimes pressure treated lumber will be used for the structural and framing components of a deck and then is covered by cedar decking or other premium type materials.

Cedar Deck Materials – Cedar is an extremely popular material in decking because it is naturally insect and rot resistant. Over time the cedar will develop a grey type coloring and if left untreated may last up to 10 years; however, treating with a waterproofing stain can double the lifespan of Cedar Deck materials.

Exotic Wood Deck Materials – There are a number of exotic lumber species used in deck construction including but not limited to Ipe, Mahogany, Cambara, Cumaru, Tamarack, and Siberian Larch. These woods also hold natural insect and rot resistant properties. These exotic woods are more expensive than other decking alternatives, however they offer a unique, one-of-a-kind looking deck.

Composite Deck Materials – Composite deck materials are constructed from a combination of wood fibers and recycled plastics. There are a variety of manufacturers on the market including: Trex, Timber Tech, ChoiceDeck, SmartDeck, and more. Composite deck materials come in a variety of colors and often come with warranties extending to 25 years. This option is a more expensive option due to materials cost.

Plastic/PV Deck Materials – PVC/Vynil decking materials are made entirely out of new or recycled PVC or Vynil material. PVC decking brand names include: Eon, VEKA deck, Perma-Deck, and Plasboard.

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