Updated: Aug 23
The type of decking and railings
Access to the deck
The choice of decking and railing material
The choice of decking and railing material is often guided by considerations of cost, upkeep and attractiveness. As long as boards are straight, not full of knots and resistant to rot and pests, homeowners can choose wood, treated or composite decking.
Wood Decking Materials:
Woods like cedar and redwood are often a first choice for decking and railings, but they require a lot of maintenance. Real woods must be cleaned, stained (or painted) and sealed every year or two to maintain their beauty and their resistance to weather and insects.
Treated Woods Decking Material or PT
Treated wood is best known for its longevity—but while that benefit is true of all treated woods, attractiveness is not. That’s not a consideration for framing because the framing is usually hidden. But it is a consideration for decking and railings. The more expensive treated woods have fewer knots, straighter grain and a better appearance overall.
Composite Decking Material
The environmentally friendly but generally more expensive alternative to wood and treated wood is composite decking. It combines high density and often recycled plastic with wood; and optional click-and-lock systems can makes installation much easier. Maintenance is extremely low. However, brands differ a lot in quality and in how closely they simulate real wood.
All three products—wood, treated wood and composite—change color and texture over time.
The second choice homeowners face is how to access the deck.
Older homes may give access through a regular back door or through a sliding door while newer homes are more likely to feature French doors. Any change to deck access may involve changes to trim, siding and flashing.
The third choice is whether and how to provide overhead protection.
Because the North Shore of Boston generally has temperate summers, extreme heat and glare are not as prevalent as they would be in, say, Florida, Arizona or Southern California. But overhead protection can make the deck usable on rainy spring and fall days or those few days of very high temperatures in the summer.
WORKS by Jesse DeBenedictis helps homeowners make the right choices for the budget, timeline and lifestyle. The photo shows framing underway for a WORKS project in Manchester, Massachusetts. The two-unit townhouse had not been updated since 1968, over four decades ago. Call us when you are ready to build or replace your deck.