If you're thinking about building a new deck or restoring an existing deck, here are some things to consider.
Whether they're covered in cedar, pressure treated wood, vinyl or composite material, sundecks are beautiful looking creations that can serve as a real oasis on a hot summer day or if covered can provide a comfortable gathering space all year round.
Covered, partially covered or enclosed decks can help preserve your deck and railing systems, something you should consider in the planning stages. When the elements are exposed to your deck the railings and surfaces break down quicker. The selection of materials is very important and can prolong your surface/railings by 50%.
Cost wise the surfacing of decks varies widely from:
1) Pressure treated wood being the least cost can endure the elements of weather for 12-15 years and can be left untreated or painted/stained. It installs quickly which saves time and money. Cons may include: splinters due to drying, warping, higher maintenance reapplying paint/stain, longevity, looks or replacing prematurely. It is not recommended to install untreated wood on a deck surface as it will only last a short period of time (5-6 years)
2) Cedar decking provides a cost effective attractive fine wood finished surface and can endure the elements 20 years plus. It should be restained to prolong the life every 4-5 years. It installs quickly which also saves time and money. It splinters/cracks less than the pressure treated wood as there tends to be less knots and defects.
3) Vinyl Surface can vary in quality but generally is a strong durable finish installed over a smooth plywood surface by a professional. The color variations are vast which makes it a desirable selection and is reasonable cost wise. It covers and protects the substructure for 25 plus years when taken care of, especially good over carports or suites. Low maintenance that retains it's looks. Only con is the subject to ripping and tearing.
4)Composite decking is the most expensive deck surface and as it becomes more popular and available the price will continue to become more reasonable. It is a long lasting, durable low maintenance surface which does not warp, rot or fade. Life expectancy can be 30 plus years if installed properly with correct ventilation underneath.
5) Concrete with or without texturing is also a long lasting attractive option that provides a protective layer over garages/suites. It is very important to ensure the subdecking is properly installed and relief strips are installed to prevent cracking.
We always use pressure treated lumber for the structural components. ordinary lumber won't last more than a couple of years before rot sets in due to moisture penetration.
Connecting the various parts is accomplished with a combination of galvanized nails, plates and bolts as well as specially coated screws. We never ever use plain nails or screws when building a deck due to rust. Hidden components to secure the deck surface to the substructure is recommended for looks and results in no holes in the deck surface.
Railings, as well as surfaces, have a wide variety of costs and types. Wooden rails are reasonably priced and will match your wooden deck but are also higher maintenance and need to be resealed every 4-5 years. Aluminum railing is in the medium price range and is the most popular. Low maintenance and long lasting. Many varieties include simple spindles, security glass or privacy panels. Solid metal can be very expensive but provide a very long lasting low maintenance system that will outlast your deck life.
Designing sun decks can be an enjoyable experience whether using a pencil and paper or one of the design software packages out there. Many of our clients already know what they want and may have some questions or concerns about structure which, we're able to advise them on. Of course we can also handle the complete design from footings to stain if you wish.
If you want to refurbish your existing deck with new surface/rails or design and build a new deck please give us a call for a free consult and estimate.