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What You Should Know Before You Build a Deck

You may not have the money to build new interior rooms, but what about an outdoor living room?  Maybe a deck is just what the doctor ordered.

The benefits of being outdoors have been stressed over and over. There’s the vitamin D you get from the sun. There’s fresh air for your lungs (when the pollen isn’t falling).  Many doctors are promoting time outdoors as a way to improve a person’s depression.

Deck photo

Photo: Deck

More and more people working at home are finding ways to take their work outside. And what better place than your own deck. It’s in easy reach of your Wi-Fi, but it’s out in the open where you can feel a part of nature.

Traditional Wood vs Contemporary Composites

When many people think of a deck, they automatically think of wood.  Untreated wood may last about ten years. Treated wood can last much longer, but you need to consider what type of treatment it has.  So-called Green Wood is supposed to be best for any wood that is touching the soil.

Of course, wood allows you to stain it or paint it whatever color suits you.  You can also change your mind in five years and change the look.  The natural material is warmer and more inviting than composite. It is also 100 percent biodegradable. So that’s something.

Untreated wood will need a new stain every year. For the longest lasting wood deck, you want to choose a high quality wood. The top choices are cedar and redwood. A newer option is Brazilian ipe wood.

Pressure treated or PT wood is usually firm, and it has been soaked in anti-rot and anti-insect chemicals. It does not actually last as long as the natural hardwoods. It needs a new stain every other year or so, reducing upkeep.

Composite decking is the alternative to wood. In fact, composite decking has gained popularity due to the low maintenance requirements.  This imitation wood is made of a combination of wood fibers and recycled plastic.  The material can be bought in the color of your choice, and you’ll never have to stain it. You do need to pressure wash it every year to stop any mold from forming.

Think Ahead

If you have contractors coming to build your deck, be sure to think about the whole process. You don’t want your exterior ruined during their construction. So be sure to ask what precautions are taken to preserve your house exterior, doors, or windows that will be around the construction.

Also, you should request that your contractor use ground protection mats. These composite mats are laid down to protect your lawn from large trucks and other machinery.

Spend Your Money on the Deck not the Furniture

Your deck will last longer if you spend a bit more to use the highest quality materials. If that seems too costly, consider waiting a year to buy the furniture you want for the deck.  That furniture can run you $1000 to $2000 easily. Instead, watch the online marketplace ads and buy used furniture.  That way your budget will go to building the deck and making sure that it can stand the test of time.

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