Everyone loves the thought of relaxing outside and enjoying the sunset out on a beautiful deck in the back yard. But no one likes the idea of having to sand every inch of their deck every few years, or even replacing and repainting warped, cracked deck boards. Installing a deck takes a lot of hard work, which is why you want to get as much use out of it as possible without too much regular maintenance. Here are 3 tips to make your deck more durable.
Use Durable Materials
The materials you choose for your deck will directly determine how much time you spend maintaining your deck in the future. Decks are horizontal, which means they receive all forms of weather, all the time. With traditional wood planks, water can collect in the cracks of the wood and in the joints to cause rotting and cracking. Even pressure treated wood or hard wood has a difficult time standing up to the constant battering of the elements. Wood decks require a ton of maintenance, sanding, and painting to keep them in good condition. A more durable option is to consider using composite deck boards.
Composite deck boards are more expensive, but will require significantly less maintenance and headache. They are comprised mainly of wood fibers and recycled plastic, and are more resistant to warping, cracking, and insects. Using composite boards will make your deck look better for a longer period of time. The type of structural lumber you use will also determine how durable your finished product is.
Be sure to use .40-grade pressure treated lumber for all framing that is above ground, and use .60-treated lumber for anything in the ground. If possible, use higher quality hardware in your deck construction. Double-hot-dipped galvanized nails or stainless steel nails will ensure a more resilient construction.
The footings are the foundation for your deck’s structure. Make sure your footings are adequately sized for your specific geographic area. Be sure to check local building codes to ensure you’re building to code, but consider going even further and make them slightly wider and deeper than required, especially if you live in an icy climate where the ground freezes and thaws regularly. The foundation is the most important part of your deck, so don’t cut corners.
Make sure your deck is not only adequately supported, but even more than adequately supported. Make your spans shorter than recommended, and make your beams sturdier than required. Doing the bear minimum just to pass inspection will not guarantee a lasting product. Go above and beyond so your deck is sturdy and well-built. Work with an architect to get a deck design that is both structurally sound and beautiful. Before settling on a design, be sure to look at deck furniture ideas to determine how you will use each space on your deck.
Consider your future needs and what you might want to use the deck for. You want to be sure to build a deck big enough for your intended use, now and in the future. Building your deck for function as well as beauty will ensure that it fits your needs for years to come.
Decks are beautiful additions to a home and can add a lot of value. But a deck is not something you want to have to redo every five years. Using higher-quality composite decking materials, stainless steel nails, digging larger footings than required, and sturdy construction will ensure that your deck will be around for years to come. Don’t just build a deck that will pass inspection, build a deck that will last.
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