How to build a deck : materials and techniques
Last modified: 2019/03/31 | Approximate reading time 6 mins
Building a back or front deck offers endless benefits during those warm and beautiful days, as a place where you and your loved ones can enjoy reading, drinking coffee, having dinner with friends and several other possibilities. Of course, when it comes to the actual construction process, you might not have any idea where to begin. Nowadays, there are so many options on the market, and this includes covering materials such as fibreglass, PVC membranes, wood and so forth.
If you’re having trouble deciding on the option which suits you best, then look no further. We’ve compiled some of the important information that can help you make an informed decision when it comes to building a deck in your yard.
Here’s everything you need to know about building a deck!
Deck construction materials: options, advantages and disadvantages
Fibreglass is an excellent choice for an outdoor patio as it is an exceptionally durable material. Not only this, fibreglass is very versatile, as it comes in various colours. When it comes to your decking needs, this material definitely has some advantages when compared with others such as metal or wood. This includes a resistance to water, which helps with the avoidance of mould and mildew growth as well as rust. Further, fibreglass is exceptionally permeable and thus resists an attraction to bugs infestations that could compromise the surface, such as termites.
Maintaining this material is easy, and a simple deck cleaner from your local hardware store will suffice. Although this material requires very little maintenance, there is still a possibility for cracks to occur, and it is essential that you react quickly to repair the damage. Otherwise, any infiltrating water or moisture will cause other, larger cracks to form.
Further, this surface can be prone to scratches, so it needs to be treaded on carefully. When properly maintained, fibreglass decks can have a lifespan of up to 20 years. The surface itself will need to be covered again to give it new life and enjoy it for the next two decades!
It’s important that we mention that fibreglass is not recyclable, and thus, is not the best choice for the environmentally-friendly homeowner. This material will ultimately spend a lot of time in a landfill. Another crucial point is that during colder months, it will be necessary to put down sand or salt to melt on this surface, as ice can easily form and cause fibreglass to become very slippery.
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Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC deck
PVC is a commonly used material for outdoor renovation projects. Like fibreglass, PVC is a very versatile material that comes in a wide array of colours, shapes and sizes. It can also be produced to resemble wood and is often used as an alternative. Not only this, PVC is an exceptionally affordable material and both the flexibility and price make it a popular choice.
Other positive qualities of PVC include how impermeable it can be, with a strong resistance to wear and tear. Also, it is resistant to calcium and chlorine build-up as well as bug infestations. As a result, this material is very convenient for decks that are built close to pools or spas. It’s also possible to have PVC treated so that it’s resistant to UV rays. PVC rates highly when it comes to being eco-friendly, as this material is completely recyclable.
The lifespan of this type of deck varies between 10 and 15 years. Nevertheless, a PVC membrane is unfortunately very fragile against the cold. For this reason, its use should be restricted to warmer or temperate climates. Once damaged, PVC can be difficult to repair and may need to be replaced altogether. If you’re interested in choosing this option, we’d recommend asking a retailer or your contractor for more detailed information on the maintenance and strength of this material.
When it comes to working with wood, there are many different options on the market. If you opt for a wood deck, you’ll have to choose which one is best suited for your home. These include white pine, western red cedar, ipe, teak, and so forth. Of course, all of these types carry the charm and warmth you’d expect from wood.
As with hardwood floors, each species has its own distinctive character and style. With all types, the shapes, cuts and layout possibilities are numerous. Wood is a timeless material and therefore, there’s little risk that your deck will go out of style.
For those looking for the most natural choice, Western red cedar is growing in popularity. Even though it’s more expensive than treated wood, its advantages are nonetheless considerable. Red cedar has tannins as well as naturally occurring oils that help keep the material resistant to rot as well as insects. There is no need to chemically treat wood to avoid these types of problems since nature has done the job. However, without treatment, it will turn a soft grey colour.
Here are some other wood options on the market:
Pine is usually the base material used in the construction of treated wood. It offers strength and durability to the deck. This material offers excellent value for money but requires an investment when it comes to maintenance. A surface dye can be applied every 3 to 5 years to restore the radiance of the deck, as it’s easily susceptible to sun damage.
This type of wood is heated at an extremely high temperature to alter its properties, all without the use of chemicals. Like other types of wood, it requires special maintenance to preserve its colour which tends to fade because of suns rays.
Composite wood is a mixture of wood fibre, recycled plastics and artificial polymers. Due to its mixed composition, it is very resistant to things like moisture and decay. Moreover, it does not promote the growth of fungi or the presence of insects such as termites. Composite wood is a great option for a deck that extends to your pool since it has anti-slip properties and does not absorb much heat from the sun as easily as other woods. However, its price is higher than other materials and it can be difficult to modify its appearance. At the maintenance level, a thorough cleaning is recommended at least once a year, if not twice.
The main disadvantage of wood is that is can change shape and transform according to how humid it is outdoors.
There are other less popular deck material alternatives on the market such as aluminium, concrete, outdoor stones, recycled plastics and so forth. Do some research in order to determine the best material for your home.
For more information about prices and materials, check out: The cost of building a deck
Photo: Flickr-Paradox Wolf
Deck design: shape and accessories
We’re recommending that you compile a list of everything you need as this will allow you to better plan your project, including any accessories you might want to install on top of or around your deck. This can include things like a barbeque or the laying of any furniture. This way, you can plan for a space that is large enough to accommodate everything you need. It will be much easier for you to choose the shape of the deck according to what you wish to see before construction begins.
It should be noted that if you opt for a darker colour for your deck, these have a greater tendency to fade because of the sun. Also, furniture arrangements will have to be changed so that it is not always the same portions that are exposed to the sun and the shade.
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