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Deck Building Materials and Construction

Last modified: 2019/01/17 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Adding a deck to your backyard is a great way to give you and your family a further incentive to spend more time outside, reading, drinking coffee and eating dinner, among other things. These days, decks are built using different materials: fibreglass, PVC, wood, etc. Which option is best? Here are some useful facts and characteristics that will help you take your pick.

Deck building materials: pros and cons

Patio en bois

Photo: Pixabay

Fibreglass deck

  • Fibreglass is a great option because of the fact that it is very durable. It also comes in a whole set of colours;
  • Maintenance is easy: most cleaning products will do the job;
  • Although this material requires very little maintenance, if it gets cracked, you will have to react quickly to repair any damage. If not, water infiltrations will cause humidity and could eventually create other crevices;
  • A fibreglass patio can last up to 20 years. After this time period has been completed, we recommend that you renew the fibreglass in order to keep your deck looking nice and clean;
  • However, since fibreglass cannot be recycled, it isn’t the most environmentally friendly option;
  • Fibreglass can be slippery, especially during the winter. You will have to use salt or sand to melt the ice.

PVC membrane (Polyvinyl chloride)

  • PVC is available in many different colours;
  • This type of patio lasts about 10 to 15 years;
  • Other pros include the fact that this material is waterproof, wear resistant and barely affected by calcium and chlorine. Very practical for patios that are close to pools or spas, for example! ;
  • This material can also be treated against UV rays, using a special product;
  • PVC membrane doesn’t support harsh winter conditions very well. For this reason, in certain parts of Canada, it may not always be the best option. Before making a decision, ask the retailer or the deck building contractor for their opinion on this matter. They will also give you some good advice about maintenance.

Wooden deck

In another article, we talked about hardwood floors (link here). If you decide to build a wooden deck, you’ll be faced with nearly the same options: white pine, red cedar, ipé wood, teak, etc. Wood is a warm, rich material that fits with all types of decors. Each essence has their own characteristics and their own style. The wooden slats can be assembled in various ways, with each arrangement having its own unique look.

Also, since wood never goes out of style, you don’t run the risk of having a deck that looks outdated after a few years. Currently gaining traction on the market is red cedar. Even though it is more expensive than treated wood, it offers considerable benefits. First, the oil that is released by this wood essence greatly reduces its tendency to deteriorate due to mould.

The oil also helps protect the wood against harmful insects. Since nature has already given red cedar its own tools to fight against pests and fungus, y0u won’t have to use chemical treatments.

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Here are a few of the many types of wood from which you can choose:

Treated wood

  • Pine is commonly used for constructions that are made of treated wood. This essence is very solid and resistant.
  • Excellent price/quality ratio but requires a lot of money for maintenance.
  • We can apply a stain every 3 to 5 years to give the deck a nice clean look.

Torrefied wood

  • This type of wood is heated to extreme temperatures in order to modify its properties without having to use chemical products.
  • However, it requires special maintenance to preserve its colours, which has a tendency to fade due to sun rays.

Composite wood

  • Composite wood is a mix of wood fibre, recycled plastic (often plastic bags) and artificial polymers. Given its mixed composition, it is very resistant against humidity and decay. Another important characteristic is the fact that this material does not attract fungus or termites.
  • Composite wood is also a great option if your deck is linked to a pool, as it has anti-slip properties and doesn’t absorb too much of the sun’s heat.
  • Son prix est cependant plus élevé que d'autres matériaux et on ne peut pas modifier son apparence.
  • In terms of maintenance, an annual clean-up is recommended (two, if possible).
  • The main drawback with wood is that it transforms along with the outdoor humidity level. On a regular basis, you’ll have to check the fasteners and the different parts (railings, boards, etc.) to make sure that they are still firmly installed. Lastly, there are other alternatives to deck or patio building materials: aluminum, cement, paving stones, recycled plastic, etc…

Patio en pierre

Photo: Pixabay

Deck shape and accessories

From lattices to handrails, as you start planning the setup of your deck, think about accessorizing and picking elements that suit your needs and tastes. Make a list of everything that you want to include on your deck, especially if you have a barbeque and furniture that you want to install. In doing so, you’ll be able to make sure that you have enough space to accommodate everything. It is much easier to choose the shape and size according to how you want to use it, instead of the opposite.

* Please note that if you choose a dark colour for your patio, over time the sun will probably affect the colour. If you truly have your heart set on a darker shade, try to move around your furniture so the same areas aren’t always being exposed to the light.

Then you choose your contractor through our services, you can rest assured that they have all the licenses and insurance required to complete this type of work. To learn more about our selection process, read our article Choosing the right contractor for your renovation project. For more about building codes applying to decks, check out this article by the hardware specialists at Lowe’s.

deck building prices

Get 3 renovation quotes for your deck renovation project can help you get quotes for your backyard deck projectIf you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with 3 qualified professionals. Fill in the form on our homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from top-rated renovation companies.

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