Find out how to build a deck in salty sea air that will be easy to clean and last for years. Building a deck near the ocean might raise concerns about maintenance. You want a low-maintenance deck, but you also want it to be sturdy.
LESLIE: Sarah in New York needs an opinion on a concrete patio near the ocean.
Alright, Sarah, my opinion is: I hate you. I want to be on that patio, too. (Leslie, Tom and Sarah chuckle)
SARAH: Oh. I don’t know what we’d do without you guys. You’re certainly welcome to come to the patio but …
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, thanks so much.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thanks!
SARAH: … the reason I called is we live in an older waterfront community in New York
SARAH: … and everybody has these decks off of the second floor and they’re made out of, I guess, steel or iron and cement. And we’ve been here five years – never had to seal it, never had to paint it, never had to do anything – and even though it’s not as attractive as wood might be, we’ve overcome that with lots of flower boxes.
SARAH: But now we’re moving to a newer waterfront community and I’m trying to figure out is this a greener way to do a deck. Is it practical compared to the engineered wood; some things you’ve mentioned? What’s your opinion?
TOM: OK. And you’re thinking about building one or there’s …
TOM: … one there already?
SARAH: No. We’re thinking of building either/or; the wood or the cement.
TOM: I don’t know how you would build the cement as an after-project; in other words, after the building has already been up. Generally, if there’s going to be a concrete patio, it’s done at the time the building is constructed because the support for that goes well underneath the ...
LESLIE: That second level.
TOM: … second floor structure itself. So you probably are going to be thinking about doing a deck and if you’re going to do a deck – especially being out there by the ocean – what we would suggest is that you use pressure-treated lumber for the structure and then composites for the decking surface  itself.
TOM: The combination of those two will give you something that’s extremely structurally sturdy but something that’s very, very low maintenance.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And if you go with a composite , number one, you’re going to get the low maintenance factor. Because you are near the high salt content of the air, lots of moisture, any sort of regular lumber that you might put up there is just going to require a lot of maintenance, number one, to make it look good …
LESLIE: … but to make it last a long time and that’s going to be pretty much a yearly chore that you’re going to have to tackle every springtime and that can be sort of tedious. So if you go with a composite, Fiberon makes one. They have an exotic series that looks like – that even it looks like that grey, weathered, beachy wood or mahogany. So that’s that Tropics line. There are several different levels to their line. They all are beautiful; they’re very durable. The website is FiberonDecking.com . They’re the best, in my opinion; super-durable, very easy to clean. Tom and I were at the Builders Show and we saw one of their newer products and we took like a Sharpie marker and wrote on top of the surface …
LESLIE: … and we were able to just wipe it away.
SARAH: Oh, great. Uh-huh.
LESLIE: So it really has a lot of thought into it to make it durable and easily cleanable, which I think is something that you’ve got sort of a high priority for.
SARAH: Yeah, yeah.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, that new type of decking is called Horizon Decking with PermaTech. That’s the coating on it that makes it so super-maintenance-free.
Sarah, we hope that helps you out. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
SARAH: (overlapping voices) Thanks so much. OK.
LESLIE: And enjoy your new house. We’ll be over at sunset. (Tom chuckles)