When choosing whether to build a deck this spring there are many things to consider. Let’s focus on some of the more standard options and see what ideas may dictate what kind of outdoor living space to build.
Think about what you’d like to use the deck for. Are you the kind of person who will spend a great amount of time outside on a deck in your backyard. Do you like to cook out? Will a lot of your family and friend gatherings take place during the spring and summer months when the weather is favorable for an outdoor venue? How much outdoor furniture would you like?
Treated wood vs composite. Both products are fully functional to operate as a deck. The treated woods primary benefit is cost. Although treated lumber is technically maintenance free, that is to say, that it will not rot, keeping a treated deck looking attractive can be a lot of maintenance. Full sun, rain, snow all day and night every day particularly to the top side of the decking is brutal. It only stands to reason you’re going to have some splintering, warping, and checking to the treated lumber over time.
A composite material is a much less maintenance. Occasional cleaning is typically all that is required. Not all composites are the same. It is true when it comes to composites, you get what you pay for. The range in price for composite decking and railing is huge. The total installed price of a composite deck is typically between two to four times more than its treated wood counterpart. The question is then, is it worth it?
Is this deck going to be used generally by adults, sitting on furniture, occasionally for a cookout in the summer? Is this deck going to be used very often by a few people, or maybe occasionally by a large group? Is this the kind of space where children may play, perhaps even with their shoes off? Is this going to be a lounging area between swims in the family pool?
For the same money, am I better off building a treated deck 3 times larger than composite? Or is a small efficient size deck of the higher quality decking make sense due to its frequent use by the family.
As a final note, let me offer a small bit of advice. Covered decks get much more use than open ones. They also last much longer (especially treated). I say this because we are builders. We happen to know, for the difference in price for some composites, we’ve made basic decks into roofed porches. Just something to think about.