Considering a new Deck? 

08

AUGUST, 2019

Wow!  We have rebuilt a lot of decks in Spokane this year!  It seems to be the year….or maybe the decks are just starting to wear out.  There are many decisions to be made

  • Do you just want to rebuild the same deck (now is the time to change things up if you didn’t like the original design)
  • Wood or composite?
    • Composite ‘might’ be more expensive…but it might not
      • How much is your time worth? Wood has to be kept up.
    • Do you want a new rail system?
      • Composite is nice…..
      • Aluminum is nicer!

Do you do this yourself?  Do you have the skill?  Contractor’s are expensive, but how much is your time worth?  Some of the common pitfalls are that people think just slapping on a coat of paint will make it all look better. And it does…..for awhile!  Paint chips and wears.  We, personally, do not like painted decks.  But, we will do whatever is asked of us after we have given our opinion.  If painting is the choice, we do recommend painting with a product that is designed to handle the weather exposure and the foot traffic.  There are specialty coatings on the market designed for decks and concrete floors.  First, assess the situation. Second, prepare the area properly.  And last, choose the right product for the job.  It is very important that the contractor prepare their customer with real-world expectations.  Point out the issues and advise them which products will and will not work.

The Inland Northwest has unique weather challenges when it comes to decks and patios.  The cold and dust can wreak havoc on wood decks.  Most painters understand that if you are going to resurface a wood deck it should be stained, not painted.  Sometimes it is difficult to convince a customer of this. Paint peels and flakes.  However, you have to deal with the situation you are presented with.  You need to be pro-active.  It’s all in the preparation. A coating is only as good as the substrate it’s put on.  You want the wood as bare as possible. This is typically achieved by pressure washing.  Many homeowners believe that they have to sand repeatedly to achieve this.  Most contractors have bigger, more powerful commercial equipment and can achieve this result through pressure washing.  This process typically removes the flaking, peeling paint.  It will likely raise the grain and there may be some splinters.  This is usually solved by walking on it.

“The Inland Northwest has unique weather challenges when it comes to decks and patios.  The cold and dust can wreak havoc on wood decks.  Most painters understand that if you are going to resurface a wood deck it should be stained, not painted.  “

Composite decks are another option if you are rebuilding.  They are ‘sometimes’ more expensive initially. But, you have to take into consideration that the maintenance, or lack thereof, is a huge time saver.  I could write another complete article on composite decking choices.  There are many out there.  Some of the top brands and the ones we use a lot in this area are Trex and Fiberon.  Both have their low and high price points and their good, better and best qualities.  Do your research and know what you want and know what your contractor is quoting you, especially if you are comparing their bid to another.  One contractor may be cheaper, but is he giving your bid based on good or ‘best’ quality materials. Another thing to take into consideration and we have seen a lot of in Spokane, is contractors not using ‘pressure-treated’ lumber for the framing.  Even a composite deck has wood framing.  Pressure-treated simply means that the wood is injected with chemicals to help it last longer and it is designed for the outdoors and to come into contact with the ground and not rot (as quickly).  Cedar is another, much more expensive option.

And then, there are rail systems…….again a maintenance nightmare!  This is where you lean while having your cup of coffee or to watch the kids play.  You certainly don’t want to get a sliver, right!  We love aluminum rail systems!  They are so pretty now.  These are not the aluminum rails of the past like you saw in the trailer park!  These are nice, powder coated, virtually maintenance free assemblies.  They come in many styles and some have lighting ‘in’ the rail system for that awesome night-time experience. 

So, to finish this up, it isn’t hard to tell which direction I lean.  Composite and aluminum.  My second choice (especially for a covered deck that is not exposed to the weather) would be cedar.

All of this to say, if you do it right the first time you will have more time to enjoy your deck and spend less time working on it.

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