Alright. Let’s talk decking with Jeanine in South Dakota. How can we help you today?
JEANINE: I’m going to build a new deck, tear my old one down and have a new one built. Wondering what is the best kind of wood to use.
LESLIE: So you’re tearing down the deck from scratch? Starting completely over or are you leaving all of the underside, the supports and just taking off the decking?
JEANINE: Mainly, it’s going all down.
LESLIE: Everything. Are you redesigning, getting a bigger one?
JEANINE: It will be about the same size, which is not that large. It’s only about a 12×10 but the posts that go down into the ground is what is giving.
TOM: So, yeah, so you need to start from scratch and rebuild that structure and then create new footings to hold it up. So, I think the structure is pretty straightforward but when it comes to the decking itself, I think you have a lot of options. If you don’t want to use wood, that can give you a surface that’s going to wear better and it’d be a lot easier on the feet.
LESLIE: That is true. So now, for the decking itself, for the support system, you’re going to have your contractor build everything out of a pressure-treated lumber. All the joist hangers, you want to make sure everything is stainless, everything is weather-resistant and everything is put together very nicely. And at the point where it attaches to your home, you want to make sure that that is really firmly connected to your house, because this is all of the structure that’s going to hold that deck in place and keep it nice and safe.
If you are going outside of any existing spots, you want to make sure that you or your builder call 811. And 811 is going to come out and make your property and tell you where your power lines are, your water lines, everything else that are underneath the ground. So if you’re digging a new hole, you and the builder will not hit anything and cause any damage to the neighborhood or your home.
That said, once the structure is built and everything is square and secure, you can go ahead and – you know, most people will go with a lumber. You don’t have to do that. You can actually go with a composite, which is made from recycled materials. It’s usually plastics and some wood scraps. But it’s structurally stable, it’s very smooth, it does not require practically any maintenance other than a good cleaning at the beginning of every season. You’ll never have to repaint or restain.
And depending on which brand you go with, there’s a product within every price point. And it really does make for a beautiful, durable deck that’s easy on the feet. You’re not going to get splinters, you’re not going to have to worry about bug damage or mold or mildew or any of those things that would damage a traditional wood deck. And a composite really is the way to go.
JEANINE: And that’s a mixture of plastic and wood combination?
TOM: Some of the products, you have some wood fiber in it but they’re mostly composite. So there is absolutely no wear and tear on these. They really stand up incredibly well.
LESLIE: What it is is it’s mostly plastic. Some of them are made from recycled soda bottles or plastic bags. And then some of the products have a hint of wood dust in it. It’s not made from a tremendous amount of wood. It’s just a mixture of materials. That’s why it’s called a “composite.” You don’t have to stain them, you don’t have to paint them. They come with the finish already on them. So you don’t ever have to do that again.