Pros and Cons of Wood Decks
Wood decks have a natural look and charm. They are also affordable.
However, wood decks require regular maintenance. You may need to stain or paint natural wood, or replace decayed sections every few years.
Composite decks are available in a variety of colors and don't require painting or staining. In addition, some composite manufacturers use recycled materials.
So what material should you go with? Is wood worth it? Let's take a look at the benefits and downsides of wooden decking.
Advantages of wood decking
While composite materials are becoming increasingly popular as a decking material, they are still significantly more expensive than treated wood. This cost is often passed on to the consumer and may discourage some from switching.
Wood decking is also known for its durability. It will not buckle or warp, making it an excellent choice for heavy furniture. This type of decking material requires little maintenance, and it only requires polishing once or twice a year. However, wood should be protected from direct sunlight and moisture from rain.
Prices for wood decking depend on the type of wood, but are generally reasonable for a home makeover. Choosing a deck contractor carefully is also important.
Let's take a deeper look at the benefits of wood for your deck.
Natural look and charm
Wood decks can be made of a variety of different materials. Some of the most common are redwood and cedar. Both are beautiful and offer a classic, natural look. While these two types of wood are often lumped together, there are a few differences between them that you must consider when picking your ideal material.
Wood decks are an excellent choice for those who want a natural look and a high level of durability. They are easy to maintain with regular staining, and can last for fifteen to twenty years or longer. However, they need to be pressure washed and refinished every handful of years. They are most popular in areas with a lot of moisture, such as the Pacific Northwest.
Budget friendly material
The most common wood used for decks is pressure-treated pine, which is the most affordable choice. Pressure-treated wood can last up to 20 years, and with proper maintenance, the cost will be about $450 per year.
Pressure-treated wood is also the cheapest option for deck flooring. However, exotic hardwoods like redwood, teak, and eucalyptus are more expensive. Another budget-friendly option is wood-composite material, which is made from high-density polyethylene and wood particles. However, it is important to check the installation options before deciding on a material for your deck.
Can last a long time
A well-built deck can last for decades if properly maintained. The quality of lumber, pressure treatment, and air circulation can all contribute to extending the life of a deck. Proper cleaning and application of sealants are also essential to the long-term health of the deck. In some cases, a well-built deck can last for 50 years or more, with minimal maintenance and repairs.
If you're thinking of installing a wood deck, the first thing you should consider is the type of wood you plan to use. If you're going with softwoods, you should apply a water sealer to the deck edge to keep the rot-inducing elements out. Meanwhile, if you're installing a hardwood deck, you can skip this step and use oil or stain without applying a sealant. However, keep in mind that oil will only stay on the surface of wood for so long. Therefore, you should apply it annually to avoid fading.
Wood decks can last for decades if you care for them properly. Proper ventilation is essential to prevent mold from damaging your deck. Mold growth can cause rot on wooden decks and ruin the boards.
Disdvantages of wood decking
Wood decking is popular among homeowners today, and more people are seeking durable, low-maintenance decking for their property. While traditional wooden decking is a popular choice, more durable composite decking is also available. Composite decking offers many advantages over traditional wood, including greater durability and resistance to weather elements. However, composite decking is a bit more expensive than wood.
Although wood decks can last a decade or more, they will eventually need replacement. Wood requires fresh lumber, which requires the cutting of trees. Thus, wood can have negative environmental impacts. Some brands of wood decking offer a warranty to last up to 50 years with minimal maintenance.
While wood decking is the most common type of material for decks, it is not the most durable. Depending on the type of wood, it can be susceptible to insects, rot, fungi, and fading. It can also be easily damaged by water, wind, or fire.
Another disadvantage of wood decking is its high maintenance requirement. While a wood deck can last for many years, you will need to stain or paint it annually. Let's start there.
Wood must be properly maintained
If you own a wood deck, it's important to keep it in good condition. You should regularly check it for signs of rot. Look for soft spots and note if any nails have come loose. If you find any, replace them with fresh ones. You should also check the railings, stairs, and structural boards.
If the wood deck is exposed to the sun, it may need more coats of sealant more often. This will reduce the chance of wood rot and wood-destroying insects. It's also important to keep the deck free from clutter. Keeping the deck clear of clutter will help prevent stains and mold.
If you're using a power washer, use a low-pressure setting to thoroughly clean the wood deck. You should also use a fan-spray nozzle so that you don't damage the wood.
Can splinter and crack
Wood is prone to scratching, splintering, cracking, and other damage.If your deck starts to show signs of wear and tear, you should get it repaired as soon as possible.
Luckily, wood filler adhesives are available that will help you fix cracks and splinters. These materials are water and rot-resistant, and you can use them on pressure-treated lumber. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions to make sure that you apply them properly. A local deck professional can also lend a hand.
Cracks are caused by water absorption and loss, and they can also be caused by temperature fluctuations. In addition to water absorption, temperature fluctuations can cause cupping, warping, twisting, and even splits in boards.
Trees must be cut down for wood
Building a deck from wood requires that trees be felled and their branches cut off, which isn't ideal for the environment. Then, the wood is treated by seasoning to remove excess moisture.
That being said, depending on the type of wood and its production stage, a wooden deck can have a low environmental impact.
Bamboo decking is an excellent option because it has comparable properties to hardwoods, including being lightweight and renewable. Bamboo decking can also lower your eco-costs since it does not involve the cutting down of trees.
Alternatively, you can choose to use tropical hardwoods. If you choose these, make sure to look for FSC or PECC certificates to ensure sustainable forestry management.