Choosing Outdoor Decking
LESLIE: Elaine in Hawaii, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?ELAINE: Oh, yes. Thank you. Aloha. I have three – well, we call them lanais but they’re outdoor decks on the second story of my house; made out of wood.TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. OK.ELAINE: And the railings all around them are totally rotted.TOM: Ooh, that’s dangerous.ELAINE: The floor part, however, we covered with ceramic tile several years ago, so that’s OK. So my questions are two. Number one – is there a good product to replace that with? And number two – they’re kind of held up by these wooden beams underneath. Are they going to rot, too, or do we worry about that?TOM: Well, first of all, whenever you have a second-story deck and decay or rot, you’ve got a problem because if you get too much weight you’re going to get a collapse. So you need to have that inspected first by an expert to make sure that there’s no hidden decay that’s going to cause this to fall apart and you to fall down.In terms of the railing replacement, we would recommend you use composite material for that. There’s lots of composite railing systems that are out there, they’re gorgeous, they’re almost zero maintenance and you won’t have to worry about ever replacing them again.LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and the good news is if your 4×4 posts – which are generally what’s used as the verticals on your railing and then they’re covered – if your posts are in good shape, you can get these decking materials, these composites for the railing, that’ll just slide right over the posts and then sort of snap together. It screws together really easily.Look at a website called FiberonDecking.com. That’s F-i-b-e-r-o-nDecking.com. They have a beautiful railing system and several different styles; totally affordable; very, very low maintenance and perfect for the weather in Hawaii.ELAINE: Oh, that’s great. Thank you. And who would be this expert? What kind of person would be the expert to call?TOM: You can have a contractor that does decking work do the inspection – perhaps maybe the same pro that you consider to use for the railing work; or you could have an independent professional home inspector come out and take a look at it. Either way, make sure you have somebody that knows what they’re doing. Check the structure of the deck because we don’t want anything to happen to you, Elaine. OK?ELAINE: Oh, my gosh. Very good. Oh, mahalo. Thank you so much.LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Our pleasure.TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re very welcome, Elaine. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.