Tag Archives: Wood Decking

How Long Does a Wood Deck Last

There are many wood choices to build a new deck with and some will last longer than others and offer less maintenance.

When it comes to a deck built with wood most homeowners think of pressure treated pine. It’s the most cost effective wood option and is readily available in most local building supply stores.

Pressure Treated Wood Decking

Pressure Treated Wood Deck

Softwoods like Pressure Treated Pine can be susceptible to rot, decay, mold, mildew and insect attack.

These woods require an application of a water sealer every year or sometimes every other year. This helps keep the water out of the wood grain which can accelerate rot.

A good water sealer should keep the water pooled on the surface and prevent it from penetrating the wood. Once the water stops pooling on the surface you should reapply more water sealer.

Pooled water on finished deck

Treated pine can also give you splinters and slivers in your feet. This can be reduced by keeping up on the maintenance.

You can sand and pressure wash a pressure treated wood deck which can help you restore your deck surface.

Below is a picture of a 10 year old pressure treated deck that was sanded and is getting a new stain and water sealer applied.

This is a lot of work but if the homeowner keeps up this maintenance he should be able to get another 10 years or more out of their deck.

10 Year Old Pressure Treated Wood Deck

The average life expectancy for a pressure treated wood deck is 15 – 20 years. Many will see something more like 10 – 15 years.

It really depends on how good you keep up with the maintenance each year as well as if your deck is constantly exposed to water and doesn’t get a lot of sun exposure to dry the deck out.

If you’re a busy homeowner and think you might not be able to keep up with the maintenance then a deck built with pressure treated will most likely have a shorter lifespan.

Cedar Wood Decking

Ground Level Cedar Wood Deck

The next most common wood decking option is Cedar. Cedar is another softwood but cedar does offer some natural resistance to rot and decay.

Cedar will eventually rot and decay as time goes on and just like pressure treated it requires a water sealer to prolong the life of the wood.

If maintained yearly you could expect a life expectancy of 20 – 25 years. Again this all depends on the wear and tear the deck sees as well as the annual maintenance.

Redwood Decking

Redwood Deck

Decks built with Redwood will require the same maintenance as Cedar and Pressure Treated Pine to help extend the lifespan of the wood.

Redwood is a softwood that offers some natural resistance to rot and decay. One very important thing to consider though is old growth Redwood was considered very durable to rot and decay.

Nowadays the majority of what you see for sale is younger secondary growth Redwood which is still considered moderately durable to rot and decay but not as much as the old growth material.

Hardwood Decking

Most people are not aware there are hardwood species proven to last up to 75 years or more with very little maintenance. Some of the species are over 3 times harder than Oak.

The decking species we recommend for most outdoor applications are:

These South American hardwoods are sustainably harvested and have proven to last up to 75 years with very low maintenance.

These species are naturally resistant to rot, decay, mold, mildew, splinter, class A rating against flame spread, resistant to wood boring insects, naturally slip resistant and not hot to walk on bare foot.

All of these qualities make them excellent for decks, fences, siding, benches and many other outdoor projects.

The only maintenance that’s required is cleaning the dirt and debris off the surface which is required by all decking manufacturers (especially composites).

Pollen, dirt, leaves, rain and other debris will land on all decks so a light power washing is a good idea when needed.

The only other maintenance that many homeowners choose to do is oiling the wood usually once a year. UV rays from the sun will bleach the color out of the wood and turn it grey.

Some homeowners like they grey look so they don’t have to do anything other than an occasional cleaning.

Oiling the wood will keep the beautiful color of the woods and enhance the beautiful grain. Once you see the beauty of these woods most homeowners want to maintain that look.

Do not be confused oiling hardwoods is incredibly easy and it’s not a top coat like water sealers for soft woods that will eventually peel off and leave you with a lot of maintenance.

Additionally with softwoods you really need to get a brush and apply water sealer in all the spacing between your deck boards to try and protect the edges of the boards from rot.

This is not the case with these hardwood species since some of these species are proven to last up to 75 years without any sealer or chemical treatments.

The oil is simply rolled on with a paint roller after that you wipe up any that did not soak into the wood. These woods are so dense they will only absorb so much oil. It will eventually fade away (usually spring time the following year). Then you just apply more oil.

DIY waterproof front porch

Easy Fix For Porch Leaking Into Basement

Years ago, many homes in the Northeast had front porches built directly over the basement foundation.

The only thing holding back the cold snowy weather and the rain was 1 inch thick tongue and groove pressure treated porch decking that was painted to seal it from the elements and keep the water out.

This is not a good idea. It doesn’t take long for the paint to peel, and seasonal temperature changes will cause expansion and contraction, leaving hairline gaps that break the paint seal on the tongue and groove line.

When bad rain storms hit and the wind blows just right, the covered roof offers little protection and the rain leaks into the basement. During the winter months, blowing snow sits on top of the porch, then on slightly warmer days it melts and leaks into the basement.

The water leaking down saturates the wood between the tongue and groove. The tight space blocks air flow and keeps the wood damp, leading to rot and decay.

fix for leaking porch into basement

This avid DIY guy and property investor in Buffalo, NY was forced to paint the porch every year and clear off snow throughout the winter. This was a lot of maintenance and just not always possible.

When he bought the property, he knew it would all need to be redone. He started searching for solutions to create a water proof porch surface that would not rot and continuously leak into the basement.

He found the only products really made for this solution were special exterior vinyl sheets that could only be purchased and installed by certified installers.

These sheets didn’t even come wide enough to cover his entire porch, which meant seams would need to be thermo-welded with a special heat gun.

Our customer found the average installation cost for these systems was $4,000 – $5,000, and quite frankly he did not like the look of these products. He said they just looked like the cheap flooring sheet goods you put on the interior of your house.

In addition, he was having a hard time trusting the longevity of these products since they haven’t been around that long. He also worried that the seams would eventually fail or tear as shoes caught on on them.

It reminded him of the composite decking products that have had so many product failures and class action lawsuits. To top it all off, as a DIY guy who takes pride in doing quality work himself, paying someone that kind of money to lay down some sheets and essentially melt them together with a heat gun was like rubbing nails down a chalkboard for this home owner.

Here’s the solution our customer came up with: our Ipe deck tiles. They look much better, allowed him to save a lot of money by doing it himself, and kept everything rot-resistant and waterproof.

First he laid a few tiles the length of the porch to see where they would need to be cut:

He decided he wanted to have a continuous 6 inch Ipe board screwed into the outer rim joist and framing the entire porch. This way the tiles could float without any penetrations in the ice and water shield.

Once he accounted for the width of the picture framed border, he cut the tiles to fit and decided to put the cut pieces against the house so there would be full tiles on the outermost edge of the porch.

He fixed a few rotted spots in the original porch by cutting them out and replacing them with one inch thick pressure treated wood, matching the existing material.

Next he laid ice and water shield over the entire porch according to the manufacturer’s requirements, overlapping the ice and water shield appropriately and keeping everything water positive – starting at the outside edge of the porch and overlapping the seams as you work your way toward the house.

Once the entire porch was waterproofed, it was a suitable foundation to float the deck tiles on top of the porch.

One important and obvious note to consider: make sure your front door will clear the tiles when floating on top with the deck tile connectors. In this case our customer had enough room, but he was planning on replacing the old outward-swinging door with an inward-swinging one, so it wouldn’t matter anyway.

We custom milled a 2 x 6 board to match the thickness of our 20 x 20 Ipe deck tiles. This board served as the picture frame for the deck tiles.

He also replaced the old crumbling concrete steps with Ipe decking, white vinyl risers, and vinyl railing.

ipe deck tiles on front porch

DIY waterproof front porch

ipe deck tiles

Our customer is thrilled with the results, and the deck tiles are exceeding his expectations. He said the installation was a breeze since they just snap together with the DeckWise tile connectors.

The picture above is at the end of the first winter in Buffalo (you can see the snow pile in the back at the curb). The deck tiles still look amazing and he still can’t believe how much money he saved opposed to those ugly vinyl sheet products.

He needed 65 of our 20 x 20 Ipe deck tiles, which cost him just over $1,000. He purchased the railings from a local building supply store for around $700, and he got the Ipe deck boards, DeckWise tile connectors, and vinyl products for his risers and skirting. In the end, he completed the project for around $2,000.

Everyone in the neighborhood has complimented the new look – even the pizza delivery guy!

You can purchase deck tiles directly from us and we’ll ship them to your house or job site. No job is too big or too small.

about us

Get Ready for Decking Season with AdvantageLumber.com

Spring is sweeping across the country, and before long you’ll be enjoying balmy summer evenings in your backyard. Now’s the time to upgrade your outdoor living space.

Home improvement spending across the U.S. has risen dramatically. Since the 2008 financial collapse, the industry has been on a steady recovery, and Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies predicts this growth will continue through 2014. Already, home improvement spending is estimated at $144.7 billion, up from $127 billion this time last year. That kind of cash brings outdoor renovations in line with bathroom and kitchen remodeling. It seems everyone agrees: the time to build the deck of your dreams is now, and AdvantageLumber.com is ready to help.

Continue reading

The Future of Decking…Is it Man-Made?

Plastic decking

Plastic decking made to look like weathered wood.

I have seen the future of decking….and it is not plastic.

From looking over many of the exhibits at the International Builders Show in Orlando, FL, it was apparent there are a ton of composite decking companies there. There were the familiar names and a bunch from overseas countries like China. Despite the elaborate displays and fancy marketing materials, I can’t tell you how many times I overheard people going up to various reps and asking the same questions:

  • How does this compare to real hardwood like Ipe?
  • I heard about recalls due to mold, peeling and cracking? Why is your stuff different?
  • What chemicals do you use to ensure this stuff doesn’t fade like you claim?

Clearly, people have been doing their homework on these decking materials. With the shaky record composites have, it’s understandable that people are growing more skeptical about the claims of low maintenance.

Faded wood decking

Left to mature gracefully, this ipe deck hasn't checked, split, or warped.

Each time, I overheard rep after rep stumbling through the exact same answers. Saying that a product is “just better” because it’s recycled isn’t a real answer. Similarly, saying that you can’t disclose what chemicals are used within the plastic just doesn’t fly especially when you remember all the news of recalls and tainting that are currently plaguing many foreign made building products. However, the most glaring problem about these options is the plain and simple fact that composite and PVC decking looks plastic. There’s no mistaking it.

Despite the many attempts to mimic the look of authentic wood decking one thing is clear, you can’t fool the eye. And, if you’re going to claim that your product improves on mother nature, you better be sure it can handle whatever mother nature throws at it! As you can see from the picture about, that ipe deck lining the beach has been in place for years. It withstands the daily pressures of sun, rain, daily traffic, wind, sand, and every conceivable element you can think of. As you can see, it’s been holding up nicely. Contrast that with the composite decking reviews you read online and the pictures to back it up. Given the past performance of composite decking, the future doesn’t look too promising.

Have you replaced your composite deck? Are you considering building a new deck in the future? What are you looking for out of a deck material? Tell us your thoughts below…

Top 5 Reasons Why Wood Patios are Naturally Beautiful & Dependable

Wood Patio

This wood patio made of ipe decking will last well over 100 years.

When you spend money to renovate and improve your home’s exterior by building a patio, what is on your short list of needs?

  1. A dependable patio building material?
  2. An eco-friendly wood?
  3. Wood that you won’t have to replace every few years?
  4. How about something that looks really, really good?
  5. Choosing the best wood patio material at the best price?

Those are pretty reasonable requests. There are many wood and composite patio materials in the market which say that they answer all those questions. However, since you’ve done your research, you already know that composite materials have way too many issues (let alone recalls) to even be a viable choice. This leaves solid hard wood decking. As a patio material a patio made of hardwood is going to provide you with: Continue reading

Decking Reviews – Compare Composite & Wood Deck Materials

Ipe wood decking
Genuine wood decking creates a sanctuary you won’t soon forget.

If you found this blog post searching for “Decking Reviews”, congratulations! You’re right to do your research. You might have even read some negative feedback or heard a lot of marketing hype from both hardwood and composite decking companies. Hopefully, this post clears the confusion about which direction to go in and what material to choose for your specific project.

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “You get what you pay for” then you understand that when people cut corners, focus on buying cheap materials, and fall for that marketing hype, disappointment, regret, and frustration set in. We’ve received a ton of phone calls from people who were tricked into buying “Tropical” materials that composite decking companies sell. We’ve even received calls from people who bought their decking from a different supplier only to be disappointed to find that their material was not premium grade, or was handled incorrectly.

Many of the problems you might hear when it comes to hardwood decking could have and should have been prevented.

  • Was an end grain sealant used to protect the boards from drying out too quickly and checking?
  • Were the boards allowed to properly acclimate to the surrounding climate for the recommended 3-5 days?
  • If using dense materials like cumaru or ipe, were the deck boards pre-drilled prior to fastening?
  • Seeking the advice of the company who supplied the material is also highly recommended.
  • Also it helps to chose to work with a reputable contractor in your area who understands multiple materials and how best to install them.

With regards to composite decking materials, we strongly advise against them for many practical reasons:

  1. It’s more expensive than real wood decking
  2. The benefits (or lack thereof) don’t justify the high cost
  3. There are too many composite recalls and lawsuits and general complaints to count
  4. Mold, mildew, decomposition, and discoloration are common complaints
  5. Composite deck boards cannot be recycled by a majority of local recycling plants

Let’s be honest, if composite decking were so great, we’d be selling it. However, with these facts in mind, we can’t in all good faith, offer products we know to be inferior to genuine hardwood.

Ultimately, what you need to consider is not how the material will look 1-2 years after it’s installed, but what the material will look like and be able to handle in 10-15 years…that’s the benchmark.

Discover more about real wood decking from AdvantageLumber.com

Is Wood Decking Right for You?

There’s a ton of misleading information out there about the best decking on the market. It’s getting harder and harder to decipher the truth from mere marketing and fancy packaging.

Hardwood Decking featuring

Hardwoods like Ipe are grabbing the attention of homeowners and designers throughout the world.

It’s because of this confusion that people are turning back to materials that are proven to stand the test of time. Hardwood decking is, once again, rising in overall popularity and can be seen in many of today’s finest green building projects.

“But, wait just one second! You’re a hardwood decking company! Why should I believe you, over the composite decking that is made of recycled materials? Isn’t that more eco-friendly?”

I hear what you’re saying. However, if you read through this blog, you’ll discover that there are some pretty practical reasons why we sell both domestic and exotic deck materials and stray from composites, PVC and other chemically altered wood materials.

If you do research into “composite decking recalls” you’ll see that there have been a ton of problems related to this relatively new product. The main problem stems from these companies over promising and under delivering.

Hardwood decking on the other hand? It’s been thoroughly tested and scientifically proven to last. There’s a reason why many of the world’s finest resorts, hotels, and boardwalks feature hardwoods like ipe, cumaru, tigerwood, and garapa. They last, look good, and can take a pounding if necessary.

Look, no one expects you to call us right now to order a pallet of ipe decking. But if you’re someone who appreciates the finer things in life, it simply makes no sense to settle for what is on the label instead of taking a good hard look at what’s in the box.

When you’re ready to buy exotic hardwood that is proven to meet your expectations, check out Advantage Lumber and buy wood decking online. You can shop for hardwood at your convenience, or you can call us directly and order over the phone. Either way, you’ll be working with hardwood decking that will add value to your home and your quality of life.