May 01, 2013

Decks: Materials and Design

Let’s talk about decks! Its spring time in New England finally and what is better than sitting back and relaxing on the deck soaking up the sun. So now that the long winter is over and you’re coming out of hibernation you realize your deck needs some work, or you don’t have a deck. What does it take to create the outdoor space that will add value to your home, give you a place to relax, entertain, and enjoy the landscape around your home? – A well designed and built deck that meets your needs, comforts, budget, and abilities for the maintenance required.


There are several different decking materials on the market and endless designs that can come together to create the deck that’s right for you. With all the options for decking on the market today from pressure treated wood to composite material the decision making can become overwhelming rapidly. This article will walk you through the pros and cons of the decking material decision making process. We aim to clarify the best choice for your decking material needs are, because it is not the same for everyone. Decks require maintenance and based around your life style and budget some materials and designs are easier than others, and you guessed it the easier ones tend to cost more.


The two most commonly used material is pressure treated wood and composite material decking. There is also tropical hardwoods which are sustainably grown, Redwood and Cedar decking material that has an attractive look to them. Then there is aluminum decking which has a very modern look and can pair nicely with newer modern style homes but can cost up to triple as the other options but is much more durable and has an easier maintenance schedule.


Pressure treated lumber is amongst the top selling product for decking material due to its cost comparison to the other decking materials on the market. Though this product remains the least expensive on the market it also requires the most routine maintenance. Pressure washing and applying a sealer or stain every few years is necessary to preserve the life of the deck, when properly maintained the life expectancy is around 25-30 years. Pressure treated wood is also made with chemicals and up to ten years ago is was made with Chromated Copper Arsenate, it was used in all pressure treated wood until 2003. Today the planks are no longer treated with this chemical due to the health risks CCA posed to human, pets, and the environment. However it is not conclusive as to the effects on health and the environment the newer chemicals have and it is still recommended to wash any area of the skin that comes in contact with the pressure treated wood , not necessarily something you want to think about when your relaxing on your deck. If you are willing to be cautious and don’t mind putting in the labor for the maintenance required for pressure treated lumber than it is an economically efficient way to create your deck or patio space.


Composite decking offers a low maintenance and long life span alternative to pressure treated lumber, and can be resistant to insects and rot. Composite decking also comes in a wide variety of colors and options and this allows for designing a deck that truly matches the design scheme of your home. AZEK Building Products offer a wide variety of products with many color schemes and grains with a high guarantee for the product and is stain, scratch and split resistant. Another trusted company is Latitudes decking & railing, they offer composite decking that matches the exotic look of tropical hardwoods but not a lifetime warranty. It is important to make sure you are aware of the warranty for composite decking because every company is different. Another note on composite decking to be aware of; boards can fade or be damaged, when you want to replace them the newer board may not match the existing decking due to the fading process. So again it is important to do some research and go with a trusted company. This may cost you more upfront but will save you in the long run.

Aluminum decking is another option in decking material. Aluminum decking can be very expensive however. The costs vary from supplier to supplier but on average it starts at $9. per linear foot. While this material is expensive it is also highly durable, effectively scratch and fade proof and has a great modern look to it. An alternative to having your entire deck built out of aluminum materials is using aluminum railing systems. Design-Rail by Feeney offers a wide variety of elegant aluminum railing options.


There is a lot to think about when it comes to designing the deck of your dreams. We hope this information was helpful and gets you started. It’s important to keep in mind that the design as well as the materials that go into it  are vital aspects when creating your deck and patio space. It’s never a bad idea to go to a contractor with the capability to design and build your deck, this will ensure your dream space brings the fulfillment you worked hard to achieve.

Bonnevie Construction services town’s in Southern NH and Norther MA including (but not limited to): Amesbury MA, Newbury MA, Newburyport MA, Hampton NH, North Hampton NH, Exeter NH, Stratham NH, Portsmouth NH, and many many more.