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Decks

Clear The Decks For Summer Action

A deck not only increases the value of your home, but it is also relatively inexpensive to install and maintain. Of course, if you don't maintain your deck, you might be putting in a new one sooner than you like. While Americans add some 3 million decks a year to their homes, almost the same number are replaced. If you're installing a deck, you might benefit from a conversation with a patio contractor or home-improvement specialist.

The number one deck enemy is wood rot. No matter what material you choose for your deck - real wood, treated wood, or synthetic lumber - it requires maintenance and routine sealing treatments. Look around the nails on your existing deck, that's where the first signs of rot appear.

Budgeting for a New or Replacement Deck

Of course, wood is the main cost for a deck. If possible, use the widest and longest dimensions of deck lumber to resist splitting and warping over time. Lumber runs between $7 per square foot for inexpensive wood and up to $30 or so for prime redwood. If you use treated lumber for a 160 square-foot deck, expect to spend $1,500 to $1,750 for materials. Add $1,500 to $2,500 for the services of a contractor to do the work.

Choosing the Right Wood for the Deck

No matter which material you choose, plan on treating your deck at least once a year with sealant and clean it with a high-pressure hose and dishwashing soap. Use glycerin or mineral spirits to remove any sap that drips from overhanging trees or sap that sweats from the wood.

You can buy rot-resistant wood products made from cypress, redwood, or cedar but avoid low grades that are vulnerable to insects and wet weather. Varieties of fir and pine that are sealed with chemicals or preservatives also can be durable. For those who hate maintenance, there are synthetic lumber products made of recycled rubber, vinyl, and plastic, as well as wood polymers that don't require sealing or painting after it's installed.

It can take an acre of redwood or cedar forestland to provide sufficient lumber for just a few decks. That means you can do a lot to save your own money and preserve valuable resources by simply maintaining your deck.

Source

  • Desmesne