If you have an old concrete porch that looks dingy and unappealing you are probably considering building a new deck over the top of your old concrete porch.
There’s a few considerations you need to think about before attempting to take on this project.
First make sure your concrete porch is structurally sound
Some old porches have hairline cracks that contribute to the old dingy look of concrete but they are still structurally sound.
If you live in a climate that has freezing temperatures it’s a good idea to seal any cracks with a good concrete caulk to prevent water from seeping into the cracks.
Water trapped in the cracks can freeze and create structural damage.
Inspect your concrete porch to ensure it is sloped away from your house and water drains properly.
Once you’ve inspected the porch to make sure it’s structurally sound you can usually put a wood deck over the top of your concrete porch but there’s a few things you should know first.
Do not attach decking materials directly to the surface of your concrete porch.
Attaching deck boards directly to your concrete porch would lead to excessive mold, mildew and early deterioration of the deck boards.
It would also create two different moisture levels in the deck boards. The bottom of the boards would be wet while the tops of the boards would be exposed to wind and sun so the top of the deck boards would be dry.
When you have varying conditions like this your deck boards would cup and would not stay flat. This would cause the surface to hold water and make your new deck undesirable to walk on in a short matter of time.
Not all Decking is Created Equal
Most people think composite decking is the best decking material. Many also believe once it’s installed they’ll never have to do any maintenance to their new deck.
This is not the case in fact if your read all the reviews on Google for most major brands you will read thousands of complaints from homeowners.
We recommend a minimum of 18 inches of air space underneath our standard decking to allow the material to breath properly on all sides of the deck boards.
Some homeowners will install 2×4 pressure treated sleepers 16 inches on center to the top of their concrete porch with concrete screws.
This only gives you one and a half inches of air space between the concrete porch and the underside of the deck boards.
For most materials this really is not adequate airspace and you could see cupping issues still or early deterioration of your new deck boards.
If you decide to try this method you should try to find narrower deck boards like 4 inch wide decking opposed to the standard 6 inch wide deck boards.
Narrower boards are less likely to cup, you should also consider thicker deck boards since thicker materials are usually more stable as well.
A few other considerations that could help if you choose this method.
You should consider coating your concrete in a sealer or concrete since concrete wicks moisture it can add more moisture to the underside of your deck boards.
This can lead to faster rot and decay as well as cupping. It’s also a good idea to wrap your 2×4 pressure treated sleepers in a joist tape since they will be fastened directly to your concrete.
There is an easier method however to put a new wood deck directly over the top of your old concrete porch.
Hardwood Deck Tiles Can Be Installed Directly Over Concrete
Advantage hardwood deck tiles are made from South American hardwoods proven to last up to 75 years or more. They are one of the few products you can install directly over old concrete patios and porches.
Installing the deck tiles is simple with DeckWise deck tile connectors you simply just click them together.
Most homeowners can cover their old concrete porch in one afternoon. Installation is easy when using Advantage deck tiles and DeckWise deck tile connectors.
They come in a variety of beautiful hardwood species that are up to 3 times harder than teak. In addition they are naturally slip resistant and naturally resistant to rot, decay and wood boring insects.
Before and After Concrete Porch Makeover
This homeowner had an old concrete front porch that had a large crack down the center.
While the front porch was still structurally strong it was not visually appealing. The homeowner purchased our 20 x 20 Cumaru deck tiles to resurface his old concrete front porch.
The results look incredible and the install only took him a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Deck tiles are the easiest DIY way to build a deck over an old concrete porch.
If you are looking to build a new outdoor wooden bench or resurface and old outdoor bench read on as we’ll cover the best woods you can use for your bench.
Outdoor benches are most commonly made with pressure treated pine or cedar. The problem with these species is they are soft woods that generally require annual maintenance and application of a water sealer.
Softwoods like pressure treated pine and cedar have a open and somewhat porous grain structure which can tend to absorb water almost like a sponge.
While these woods do have some resistance to rot and decay and can last many years if properly maintained.
Many people find the maintenance to be too much work, so their outdoor bench gets neglected as shown in the picture below.
Stripping the old stain off an old bench like this one can be a lot of work getting in between all the bench slats. These benches often get neglected and have paint or stain peeling off the majority of the bench.
Once this occurs the wood is left unprotected and when it rains the wood usually stays saturated for an extended time period making them often undesirable to sit on.
In addition these softwoods can give off splinters and eventually get attacked by wood boring insects which can also make them not pleasant to sit on.
Is Composite Plastic Lumber Good for Outdoor Benches?
In our years of experience selling exterior lumber for decks and other exterior projects we’ve seen too many complaints from homeowners to make us comfortable selling any plastic lumber for now.
Every week we get complaints from homeowners who installed a composite plastic deck a few years ago that need to replace their entire deck because it’s failing and the manufacturer won’t honor their warranty.
If you want to read more about all the issues homeowners have faced with these products just Google search “composite decking problems”, “composite decking complaints” or “brand name decking reviews”.
You’ll be able to read about plenty of issues homeowners have struggled with so as a result of all this feedback we generally stay away and don’t recommend these products.
The 5 Best Woods for Outdoor Benches
Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is an all natural hardwood that is more than three times harder than teak. It has shown to last up to 75 years or more on many commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk and the Brooklyn bridge.
This hardwood is one of the strongest woods in the world and naturally resists wood boring insects. Ipe wood does not splinter and will not get incredibly hot like plastic lumber.
In addition it’s also naturally slip resistant, has a Class A rating for flame spread, is scratch resistant and naturally mold and fungi resistant. It’s also so dense that it does not absorb water.
All of these excellent natural properties make Ipe wood our number one recommendation for not only decks but many outdoor projects such as outdoor wood benches.
Similar to Ipe Cumaru wood is nearly identical in terms of properties and durability. The main difference is the color color ranges from a golden tan to a reddish brown.
You can still expect all the same excellent properties as Ipe.
This excellent wood is also low maintenance, resistant to wood boring insects and naturally resistant to rot and decay without chemicals.
One other benefit to using Cumaru is the price can be upwards of 40 percent cheaper compared to the price of Ipe wood. You can view the current Cumaru wood prices here: Cumaru Wood Prices
Tigerwood Exterior Lumber
This beautiful wood also comes from South America and is incredibly durable and beautiful. You can expect a 30+ year lifespan with Tigerwood.
Similar to the other woods we listed above Tigerwood is also resistant to wood boring insects, mold and mildew and does not splinter. This is another excellent low maintenance exterior wood material that works great for benches, decks, fences, siding and more.
Also known as Brazilian Ash this incredible exterior hardwood is one of the finest quality hardwoods that features a fine-grain that is light yellow to a warm golden hue.
Garapa is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect attack and offers a 30+ year lifespan. Garapa’s proven exterior durability make it an excellent choice for outdoor benches, decks and more.
We have over 100 containers of Hardwood Decking currently on the water! We have a huge inventory of premium grade Ipe, Tigerwood, Cumaru, and other hardwood decking materials both inhouse and enroute.
Over 9,000 board feet of Gigantic Parota live edge table slabs are in our kiln being cooked! Kiln drying kills any hidden insects/larvae, hardens the wood cells, and stabilizes the wood. These monsters measure from about 30 inches wide up to about 5 foot wide! They make amazing countertops, conference tables, dining tables, desks, etc. Call our Florida sawmill to get first pickings once these bad boys are done. 941-388-9299
Walnut, Walnut Everywhere! Seriously, it has taken over our Florida milling department for a few days as we surface inventory of some of the most amazing Walnut we have ever seen. Bookmatched Flitches? YES!, Three or Four foot wide figure Crotches? YES! Dark Chocolate Color? YES! These are selling faster than we can load them onto our slab website and we have a 8,000 board foot pile of slabs to surface yet. Keep checking www.WoodSlabs.com or give our Slab department a call with your size requirements and we can find the perfect pieces for your project before someone else scoops these up.
Hardwood decking, siding, deck tiles, live edge slabs and more! Shipped direct to your home or job site worldwide.
What’s on the Mill? Sawyer Dan and his team have been busy slicing up some very cool Australian Beefwood Slabs. Australian Beefwood is a very dense hardwood that makes great Bar tops, desk, tables, etc. This species was first planted near our Florida sawmill in the 1860’s and has now become invasive. Its narrow needle-like leaves are very acidic, and it grows in clusters which kills native species of trees and plants. When growing along sandy beaches the exposed roots can trap and kill endangered sea turtles. This invasive tree will now live out a more peaceful second life as amazing furniture.
Ipe is not an abbreviation. Rather, it’s the common name of Tabebuia serratifolia, a tropical hardwood lumber specie. The correct pronunciation is “EE-pay”. Other common names for ipe include Brazilian walnut and ironwood.
The ipe tree is native to South America. However, it also grows throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, southern Florida, and other tropical regions.
Ipe wood is extremely dense, making it one of the most durable woods in the world. It’s also a beautiful wood, boasting a rich, dark brown color. As a result, ipe is highly sought after for high-end exterior woodworking projects. It’s a popular material for decks, siding, fences, and outdoor furniture.
AdvantageLumber.com carries the largest inventory of ipe lumber in North America. We mill ipe into decking, siding, interior flooring, live-edge slabs, and cabinet-grade lumber.