Thursday, March 13, 2014

Types of Decking Material

If you are considering adding a new deck system or replacing an existing one, you will want to do a little research on different types of decking materials and fastening systems available on the market today. It wasn’t that long ago that the only choice of materials was limited types of wood.  Now composite wood, plastics and imported hardwood are also available.  With this being said, the homeowner has a larger selection of materials to research and meet their family’s needs. 

The most economical choice is pressure treated (PT) wood.  Pressure treated wood is widely available, affordable, and chemically treated to resist wear.  The PT wood resists rot, fungus and wood-boring bugs giving it a longer life than untreated wood.  Previous to 2003, PT wood was treated with chromate copper arsenate (CCA) some say a known carcinogen. Since 2003 the wood is treated with less toxic chemicals, alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) or copper azoles.  The CCA product was far superior to decay than what is available today, however.

If you are more interested in woods that have natural materials that help them prevent rot, decay and wood boring bugs, consider redwood or red cedar for your deck material.  These woods have a natural color that adds to the beauty of the material.  When considering these types of wood it is best to understand the level of heartwood in the material.  Heartwood is the wood nearest the center of the tree.  It is the most resistant to damage from decay.  Sapwood grows on the outer part of the tree closer to the bark and is softer.  Thus being more vulnerable to decay.  If you are considering redwood or red cedar wood discuss the wood grades with your contractor.  He will help you choose a grade of wood that will compliment your deck and fit your families needs. 

Another wood choice is exotic woods.  There are several choices of these exotic hardwoods; the most common is ipe (ee-pay).  Ipe is also known as ironwood or Pau lope.  These woods are very hard, difficult to cut, nail or screw into and are more expensive.  They are also more difficult to stain, as they do not accept stain well.   Builders charge more to install the exotic wood, as they are more difficult to work with. The pros to exotic wood are their beauty and they are more resilient to decay and bugs than other woods.  As with all the woods mentioned so far using wood materials requires power washing, staining and sealing every few years to preserve their beauty and integrity.

The most commonly used materials CH Construction deals with are cedar, composite and plastic decking material.  Composite material is made with wood fibers and recycled plastic. Plastic decking is made with 100% plastic (recycled and new). These crack free and splinter free materials are popular because they are more resistant to weather decay and bugs.  They come in a variety of colors, giving the homeowner a larger selection of choices.  Although, mold and mildew can develop in damp areas on the deck, composites are a good choice for those who want a low maintenance material.

With any home improvement project you will want to do research on every aspect of the project.  Choosing the best decking material for you and your family will benefit you in the years to come.  CH Construction is available to help you with any of your questions and can meet with you for a free consult.

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