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Deck FAQs.

What should I consider when I'm choosing a Deck design and materials?

Wood Deck Specific FAQs

Intro: What should I consider when I'm choosing a Deck design and materials?
It goes without saying that you want a deck that looks great. But is that all you should consider?

Here are two questions to consider:

Q: How much time do I want to spend maintaining my deck?
A: If you prefer the look of wood, a pressure-treated yellow pine deck is the most economical choice. Do understand, however, that you must be willing to maintain a treated pine deck with annual sealing and staining.

Red cedar is a beautiful wood that can withstand the elements much better than treated yellow pine. A deck built with red cedar is slightly more expensive than pine, but requires less maintenance.

Tropical hardwoods, such as Peruvian redwood, ipe, and mahogany far exceed treated pine both in look and durability. A deck built with these woods would only need a minimal amount of maintenance.

If you don't want to commit to the long-term care needed to extend the life of a wood deck, choose a good low-maintenance decking and railing system. In doing so, consider the durability of each material.

Ask the following questions:
  • Do dirt and spills come up easily?
  • Does the material fade?
  • Is the material cool under foot?
  • What kind of warranty does the material carry?
Q: Will my deck be a good investment? In other words, if you should decide to sell your home, will the deck be an asset, or will it be a liability?
A: Here are some factors to consider:
  • Is it beautiful? Your deck should look beautiful and be complimentary to your home-not only to you, but also to the average homeowner. A gaudy or eccentric design may look trendy or cute, but it may cause a potential buyer to look elsewhere for a home. It is always important to ask yourself, "What does the deck do to the overall beauty of the home?"
  • Is it practical? Does the deck have multiple access points? If you have a gorgeous overlook from a second-story window, would the deck capitalize on this view?
  • Is it affordable? If you don't have money in reserve to pay upfront, can you comfortably borrow off of the equity in your home? If the answer is no, either reduce the size of your deck, downgrade the materials, or wait and save until you can afford the deck.
In most areas, a well-built, well-designed deck should provide you with roughly a 90% return on initial investment, if not more.

Wood Deck Specific FAQs

Q: Do I need a permit to build a Wood Deck?
A: In most of the states a permit is required because it is considered structural work. In this case, it carries a load other than itself - it carries the weight of a person. Some decks are high above the ground, requiring joists and posts to transfer loads to the ground.

Q: What do I need to do to obtain the permit?
A: In most cases, you will need to submit a copy of the site plan showing the lot, the deck, the position of the house in the lot, and the intended location of the deck. For the exact requirement, you will need to call the building permit for your locality.

Q: How do I know if my deck meets the building code?
A: Check the building inspection records. If it shows that it was inspected, your deck meets the building code.

Q: Do I really need to maintain my wood Deck?
A: If you like spending time outdoors in a nice looking deck, yes, you will need to maintain your deck. If there is no regular maintenance, your deck will start to show sign of deterioration from the exposure to the water and the sun. Over longer periods of time, your deck will start showing signs of rotting or splitting wood.

Q: Which types of Decks require less maintenance?
A: A deck build of composite materials requires less maintenance. However, a composite deck is more expensive.

Q: When does my Wood deck need to be sealed?
A: Your deck should be sealed six to eight weeks after it is completed. Sealing will protect your deck from splintering and discoloration.

Q: What is the recommended maintenance?
A: If you perform regular maintenance once a year you will minimize your time and expense performing maintenance.

Q: What is UV Deck Treatment?
A: A UV treatment is a penetrating oil finish that beautifies and protects the exterior wood, providing a natural appearance. UV treatment is available in natural tones. A UV treatment will last from 2 - 3 years. The time element will vary depending on conditions such as the sunlight, weather and direction of exposure.

Q: Should I power wash my new deck?
A: Yes, all wood needs to be cleaned. When used properly, the power washer will not damage the wood, it may raise the grain a little.

Q: Will power washing destroy my new deck?
A: Power washing is will not hurt your deck when used properly. Any time that you clean with a power washer you may raise the grain a little. The raised grain will need to be sanded down before sealing.

Q: What is seal?
A: It is a substance that will protect the wood by penetrating the wood fibers. It will also slow down the rate of water absorption. The water will evaporate instead of being absorbed.

Q: What is a UV block?
A: It is a sunscreen to slow down the wood discoloration caused by the UV rays.

Q:What if it rains when I am treating my deck?
A: In order for the sealer to work, the wood must be dry. Consequently, if it starts raining while you are sealing your deck, you will need to reschedule. If it rains after the sealant has been applied, most of the time it does not cause any problems.

Q: Do I need to apply a primer before staining?
A: Yes, the primer penetrates and seals the wood providing an excellent surface for the stain to bond. Consult your local hardware store for a complete list of the products available in your area.

Q: Should I seal and stain my Wood Deck?
A: There are products in the market that will accomplish both objectives at the same time. Consult your local hardware store for a complete list of the products available in your area.

Getting Started
> Permits
> Exceed Building Codes
> Designing Your Deck
> Demolition & Rebuild
> Maintenance
Construction Materials
> Materials Overview
> Decking Materials
> Railing Systems
> Screws vs. Nails
Custom Deck Designs
> Deck Designs
> Step Options
> Handrail Choices
> Benches, Planters & More
> Staining
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> Hot Tub Enclosures
> Trelisses
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