Landscape: Hardscape

Construct your wood deck to last a lifetime.


Deck with rodent proof skirt
IPE deck

If you are going to take the time and expense to build a wood deck, why not do it right? Here are some tips for highly durable deck building.

In order to withstand years of exposure to the elements, decks must be made with some very durable materials. A typical deck will have a structure of concrete piers, preservative treated posts, girders and joists. All this will be held together with galvanized or stainless steel bolts and brackets. In addition, deck surfaces must be hard wearing, durable, and attractive.   

Good materials mean higher costs per square foot. Often outdoor decks actually cost more than other types of floor framing in the home. When materials cost more, then the design and the construction should be equal to the job too. If you are in a wildfire zone, make sure you follow the local fire departments guidelines to help prevent potential embers from spreading under your deck. 

A quality deck installation

Here are before and after photos, and a time lapse video of the construction of a new IPE deck system. This deck was designed and built to live up to the durability of the rare and expensive materials used. For instance, great care was used to prepare and construct the substructure (usually the first part of a deck to fail) for long life. Also, the design of the under side of the deck must allow for good drainage and ventilation, yet prevent rodents, insects and other animals from taking up residence there.

Wood deck construction
Deck screening and ventilation
Wood deck construction
Wood deck continuous footing

Maintenance will be needed

Wood decks must survive the most punishing treatment in the home. They must survive sun, rain, snow, ice, wind, pets, people, deck furniture, falling leaves, insects and sometimes potted plants. Even the best materials and workmanship will not live up to exposure like that for long. Good maintenance of your deck is advised on a regular basis. Services consist of an annual inspection, resetting of any loose fasteners or railings, sanding and refinishing any splitting or splintering and a new coating of preservative when it appears to need it.  IPE, redwood and cedar all weather well and will last a long time. They will last longer and look better with a refinishing every few years.

Summary

A good deck should never be an after-thought. Plan your deck as a permanent part of your home. Design it for durability and use quality materials and the best workmanship you can afford.  You won’t regret the investment in quality wood deck construction. 

 

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