When the weather warms up, our thoughts turn to spending time outside. We begin to think of summer nights grilling steaks and enjoying time with family and friends. These times together are made so much more special when we have a nice outdoor space in which to gather and decks serve this purpose so well. Decks are relatively easy to build, add value to your home, and come in all shapes, sizes and colours today. These are a few of the reasons why decking is growing in popularity.
Another reason for outdoor decking’s increasing popularity is the variety of building materials available to choose from. In contrast the early decking choices of pine, cedar and oak, today a homeowner has a veritable plethora of choices available. There are composites which are a combination of wood and plastic fibers. These new technologies are available in many colors, thicknesses and grain patterns. Many of the higher quality composites are colored all the way through which helps to hide scratches and keeps the boards from fading and resists mold. These composites are also rot and insect resistant and also clean up with soap and water.
There are also really beautiful tropical hardwoods from South America, Africa, the Philippines, and Malaysia which are so dense they can’t be nailed without first drilling a pilot hole. These woods are also resistant to insects and rot and virtually maintenance free. All they need is a bit of scrubbing to clean them up, although they don’t stain very well because they are so dense. If they are left natural, they will eventually weather to a nice silver color. These woods are farm-grown and sustainable and must be certified through the Forest Stewardship Council so you know they were legally grown and harvested.
When it comes to decking, natural wood still reigns supreme. Wood decking material comes in three categories – pressure-treated, redwood and cedar, and tropical hardwoods. Most of these decking woods can be found in the local lumberyard, however some are still only available online.
Of the woods used for decking, by far the most popular is still pressure-treated decking. The majority of all decks – almost seventy-five percent – are built using this decking material. Virtually all of every deck’s under-structure frame including the beams, posts, and joists are made of pressure-treated lumber. This is because pressure-treated lumber is widely available and the most affordable of the decking materials. Most is cut from southern pine and is chemically treated to be decay resistant and to resist wood-boring bugs and fungus. The primary disadvantage of pressure-treated lumber is its tendency to split, well, crack and warp. A deck built with pressure-treated lumber requires annual routine maintenance including staining and power-washing.
Redwood and cedar are stronger and naturally resistant to weather, but still require they be power-washed or scrubbed annually and should be stained or clear-finished every three or four years. If this isn’t done, both cedar and redwood will weather to a silvery gray.
The reasons why decking in Swindon (and through the world) is growing in popularity are many, but as an alternative to patios or plain sod lawns, decks provide a pleasant outdoor space to gather with family and friends. Add a hot tub or a great grill and a bar and you’ve got an outdoor party!