• Which Decking Product is Right for Your Project?

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    Which Decking Product is Right for You?
    Kinlin Grover Real Estate
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    Which decking product is right for your project?

    Pressure-treated wood

    This is the standard, and despite so much competition from new materials,about three of every four decks built still rely on press-treated lumber. It’s the most affordable option, and it is easy to cut and fasten.

    Most pressure-treated lumber is southern yellow pine and it is treated chemically – usually with micronized copper azole – to resist rot, fungus and wood-boring bugs.

    While relatively economical, it has its downsides. It tends to split, warp and crack;

    Routine maintenance is necessary to prolong the life and look of the deck. This will include an annual power washing and an application of stain or wood preservative every two or three years.

    It usually comes 5/4 X 6 inches and in 10 foot to 20 foot lengths.

    Red woods

    Redwood and red cedar boast rich colors and elegance as a result of naturally occurring tannins and oils which resist rot, decay and bugs without the chemicals that are applied to  pressure-treated wood. It’s capacity to resist these threats is determined by the amount of wood from the heart of the tree is used instead of the outer sapwood.

    The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association classifies its products by price, with architect clear the most expensive, followed by custom clear, architect knotty, and custom knotty.

    This option can cost three times more per square foot.

    Like pressure-treated, red woods require power washing every year and staining at least every four years, as well as water-repellent preservatives to deter cracking.If left untreated, redwoods will fade to a soft gray color.

    Mahogany, IPE and other tropical woods

    Camabara Mahogany is considered above average for durability and lifespan, compared with a “reasonable” rating for pressurized wood.

    From Brazil, it is hard, rich in color, tight in grain and knot free. It naturally resists rot and does not splinter, especially if treated with a good penetrating oil,” according to Shepley Wood Products.

    It is best fastened with quality stainless steel.

    There are other tropical options including massaranduba, cumaru, red tauari, tigerwood, ipe, and Meranti.

    All have certain characteristics in common: They are rich grained, very hard, durable and naturally resistant to rot and bugs.

    At the same time, they are very heavy and more difficult to cut, drill, nail or screw. They also resist stains. An option is clear wood preservatives that block UV rays.

    While considerably more expensive than pressure-treated wood, they are comparable to redwoods.

    IPE, pronounced EE-pay, also is known as Ironwood. It is one of the hardest woods on the market, very durable, and resistant to decay, rot and insects. It’s also more expensive than mahogany.

    Composites and PVC

    These are growing in popularity at a very rapid pace because of their durability and low maintenance.

    Many brands are entering the market and within each brand, there are many options.

    Composite decks are manufactured with wood fibers and recycled plastic, and are very durable, very easy to maintain, stain-resistant and non splintering. They resist and rot well.

    PVC is 100 percent plastic with no wood fibers. It is equallly weather resistnat, stain resistant and decay resistant.

    With the Cape’s challenging weather – including humiidity, salt and winds, these two options are proving very popular.

    Manufacturers who sell on the Cape include Trex, TimberTech, Azek and Zuri, among others.

    Both composites and plastic lumber come in sizes similar to wood decking, including  and 5/4 x 6-­inches. Prices vary because there are so many different companies, but composites are typically less expensive than PVC.

    Another advantage from a style standpoint: many manufactuers sell handrais, balusters, fascias and other trim that match the decking.

    “Composite decking materials never rot, split or crack,” explains Rich Donaghue of Botello Lumber Company in Mashpee

    Builders and vendors caution that despite their relatively maintenance-free performance, they cannot go without care. Mold and mildew can grow in shady areas of composite decks. Those with wood fiber eventually will show some signs of wear. You should avoid using surface altering products such as rubber mats, sunscreen and bug spray on PVC decking. Plasticizing solvents, used to soften plastics, like rubber mats, can leach out onto the decking leaving a white haze. Insect repellents and sunscreens can leave a glossy coating on the decking. You should familiarize yourself with the manufacturers care instructions for any new decking product.

    Composite decking can cost two to three times more than pressure-treated wood, It is slightly less than PVC.

    Virtually all composite options carry better warranties than pressure-treated and red and tropical woods, which either have very limited or no warranties.

    November 05, 2014