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DECK MATERIALS EXPLAINED
There are a few deck materials to consider when buiding a new deck. The most popular are pressure treated, cedar, and composite. Each materials has its positive and negative points. And each material has a different cost so your landscaping budget may affect what material you choose.
Pressure Treated decking
Pressure treated would is paintable, stainable and probably your least expensive choice for decking material. There are different grades of pressure treated boards and some lower grade boards are notorious for absorbing moisture and warping. Be sure to choose the highest grade pressure treated material possible. A good quality well built pressure treated deck should last a lift time. Make sure you properly prime your pressure treated wood before you apply a coat of paint.
Cedar decking in its natural wood form is beautiful. Cedar is also good at repelling moisture and does not warp or bow like other wood can. The most important thing to remember with cedar decking is to keep it sealed. You can use a clear sealer or colored sealer. Regardless of what the can says it is actually rare for any sealant to last more than a year without peeling, flaking or wearing down. If you choose a cedar deck you should be prepared to apply a new sealant every year, and that can be a down side to choosing cedar. The initial look of the natural cedar wood is stunning, but to keep it that way you will need to put in some work. Cedar is less expensive than pressure treated but will likely cost you more than composite. Sealant time and labor should be factored into the costs as well.
Composite decking is made from recycled plastic and saw dust or wood chips. It will cost you more than cedar but after it is installed it wont need annual maintenance and it does not warp or bow. It normally fades equally across the plank without discoloration being noticable by darker and lighter spots. You can stain composite decking after it has been down for 6 months or so. A weekly spray with the hose is all that’s required to clean the composite decking material.
Composite decking will cost you more than cedar or treated but oveer the long term it should cost you less. You won’t have to work hard to keep the composite decking looking good either.
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