Deck Contractors Boston often get questions from customers about how long a deck they’re building will last. Most deck construction is something that usually takes place in the spring and summer, so when fall comes around it’s natural to wonder what the lifespan of your new deck is going to be. Decking materials have come a long way from pressure-treated lumber decks of yesteryear, and a properly built deck should last for decades if maintained properly.
What Deck Materials Last Longest?
Pressure-treated wood has been the traditional choice for decks in this area for many years because it was affordable and easy to find at most home improvement stores. Over time, though, the chemicals used to treat the wood can leech out into anything standing near it (people, pets, soil, etc.), and it’s not as visually appealing as other decking materials. Deck builders Boston and Boston Deck Contractors suggest using cedar or redwood lumber instead of pressure-treated wood because those two species resist rot naturally.
Composite or plastic lumber is another option for people who want the look of traditional wooden decks without the hassle of regularly treating them with oil to prevent decay. The rigid nature of composite boards limits their use to flat surfaces only (they won’t bend around corners), but they come in many different colors and will last between 25-30 years before needing replacement.
If you don’t mind investing a little more money upfront, your best bet for getting decades out of your deck construction project might be to use ipe hardwood decking. This exotic wood comes from South America and has a Janka rating (a hardness rating system) of 3500 or more, which is significantly higher than cedar at 1300-1400. Deckbuilding pros say that the surface will wear down over time, but it will take decades before you need to think about replacing it.
How Can Deck Owners Extend Deck Life?
There are many things that homeowners can do during the life of their deck that can help ensure its longevity. First and foremost, regular cleaning is essential for any type of deck material to prevent the build-up of grime and other contaminants on the surface. You should also make sure to power wash or pressure wash your deck regularly (at least once a year) to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and other things that do well in moist environments. Deck Contractors Boston say that you should seal your deck with stain or water repellent every two years to protect the surface from UV rays which will break down any type of material over time.
If you go with pressure-treated wood or composite lumber for your deck during construction, we always say that it’s important to keep it properly maintained each year so the chemicals used to treat it don’t leech out into the surrounding areas. For this reason, they recommend using an oil-based chemical rather than a water-based one because oil penetrates deeper into the wood fibers. To top off your maintenance routine, power wash your deck each year to remove any dirt or grime that has built up on the surface over time.
If you do all of these things, your deck should last for decades and provide you with countless hours of enjoyment. Contact us today for a quote on your deck.