With spring in full gear and summer around the corner there’s a lot to enjoy when it comes to outdoor living. If you’ve been contemplating adding a deck or replacing a worn out existing deck now is the time. But what most people don’t think about is that a deck is really great for year round use, even in our neck of the woods. (Imagine standing on your deck on a quiet night in late December with a cup of hot chocolate, watching the snow quietly fall. You can see it now, can’t you?). So let’s take a look at the best decking products for your lifestyle.
Decking products have gone through a vast change in the last decade, thanks to technology. There a great number of options. We are going to examine the top three categories of decking products: Pressure Treated Lumber, Cedar (or Redwood) and Composite.
Yes, pressure-treated lumber is still the #1 selling decking product on the market. It’s readily available and extremely affordable. It’s also the strongest of the natural decking products. The majority of PT lumber is pine. It’s treated to resist rot, fungus and wood-boring insects, providing a longer life. An Oscar winner for supporting rolls such as joists, posts and beams, many composite decks utilize PT lumber for a solid structural foundation. The downside is that being a natural product it’s prone to warping and cracking. While its aesthetically customizable to your liking (paint or stain), there is a maintenance factor associated with all natural products to keep them not only looking good, but healthy and strong.
Cedar or Redwood
Both of these rich colored woods are naturally decay and bug resistant with their oils and tannins. They take stain very well, but if left natural, take on a sliver or gray appearance when weathered. They are a favorite of homeowners as they have a delightful fresh scent and a warmth that you can only get from using an all-natural product. As they are soft woods, the design of a cedar deck should be taken into consideration. Heavy traffic and the moving of heavy objects like grills, fire pits or furniture can take its toll. While more expensive than PT lumber, Cedar and Redwood are less expensive than composite decking and are a great choice for Minnesotans as both are plentiful here.
Composite decking is the real deal when it comes to maintenance free outdoor living. It’s 100% weather resistant (great for MN winters), lightweight and never needs to be stained, painted or sealed…ever. While it’s not a natural product, thanks to technology, much of the composite products are made from recycled materials. The re-use of plastics, sawdust and wood chips make it an eco-friendly choice. Since you don’t treat or stain composite products, they’re easily accessible in a multitude of colors, styles and textures (think exterior house siding). Our favorite brand of composite decking is Trex. At Country Creek Builders we use this particular brand in the majority of our deck projects as we’ve found it to be the best product on the market. The downside to composite materials, however, is that they are the most expensive but there are many grades of composite products. Plus, weighing the maintenance costs of PT lumber and cedar against a completely maintenance free product, makes it a great product to consider.
Minnesota winters…and summers…can wreak havoc on any type of deck, so be sure to consult a decking professional to help answer all your questions and to be certain your deck is assembled and installed properly. Contact Country Creek Builders about designing your outdoor living space. We will work with you to choose the best decking products for your lifestyle. Call us at 952-484-9812 or visit our website.