It’s still raining in the Portland area, but soon it will be decking season. This year is as good any to build the deck you always wanted. To help you get started, we’ve put together a short guide for you.
Laying Out a Deck
When measuring a deck it is best to lay out the plan on graph paper. Include the height off of the ground and take into consideration the slope of the property if necessary. With these dimensions, a Parr Lumber employee can help you with your deck design. We can even create a material list for you.
Types of Decking
There are two types of decking material: composite and wood. Composite decking is more expensive, but it will last longer. Wood decking looks more natural, but requires more maintenance.
Composite decking is the most modern and popular option for decks. Composite planking is made from wood fiber and recycled plastic fibers. It comes in a variety of colors and textures that mimic real wood, but with considerably fewer maintenance requirements. The smooth makeup of the deck means it will not warp, split, or splinter. Most composite products come with a warranty up to 25 years. The biggest advantage to this product is that it never needs staining or sealing. It will maintain a majority of its color for its lifetime. Simply wash the deck annually for beautiful results. Composite decking is more expensive than a wood deck and can be stained by grease or paint. In addition, the plastic in the product may cause composite decks to expand. Check the installation instructions carefully before framing.
Wood decking offers a traditional natural look. It is beautiful, stable, and depending on the species is naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insects. Redwood, cedar, and fir are the most common species used and can last as long as composite materials if properly cared for. Real wood decks do require annual maintenance. Wood is a very popular option because it is the most affordable product, it is easy to install, and it is attractive. Other exotic hard wood materials such as mahogany, IPE and tigerwood make excellent decks but are significantly more expensive.
Railings greatly influence the overall appearance of a finished deck, but the main purpose for a railing is safety. Railing codes typically require a railing that is 36″ high with balusters spaced no more than 4″ apart. Be sure to check your local codes. By combining different types, lengths, and styles of railings, you can create a system that suits your needs. Similar to decking, railings are available in a variety of materials to compliment the deck. Other deck accessories to consider are privacy screens, post caps, skirts, lighting, and benches.