Pressure treated deck

I am in the process of designing a deck for my house in the spring. It will be a somewhat complicated design, aka expensive. I would love to use cedar deck boards, but as they are more than twice the cost of pressure treated so that is an unlikely option. As a landscaper by trade, I have seen many b eautiful decks made of cedar, teak and composite products. I have also seen too many decks that I am sure looked stunning when the homeowner wrote the check to the carpenter, but now are a thoroughly depressing shade of gray with boards so warped, checked and splintered, with nails sticking up so ta ll they could snag a gliding bird flying by, that they more closely resembl e an ancient torture device, rather than a deck...the dreaded pressure trea ted deck. I would very much like to avoid this happening at my house. Thus my question....can I build a deck with pressure treated deck boards that do es not look like a monster attached to my house in 5 years? What is the opt imal maintenance schedule and routine to keep the boards structurally sound and aesthetically inviting?
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Forgot one thing...knowing that there will be some at least annual maintenance to a pressure treated deck (yes, I've done some research), would I be doing myself a great dis-service by using untreated deck boards?
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I do many decks. Mostly the decks are client choice tops. I always use pressure treat underpinning. Screws are best for decking attachment. All wood is affected by sun, rain, snow, moisture, and debris. If a person wants to avoid the problems associated with using a wood decking, then I go plastic or composite. Many decks fail since they are not washed, and or oiled. I use redwood here in northern Calif. since it is the wood of choice for many. I use other wood decking's too. Which is best is all in the eye of the beholder. Like Vinyl siding, many like it since it is low maintenance. Although many like the warmth, and look of wood. You probably ask one of the most difficult questions concerning decks. look on my web page....johnloomisconstruction.com I have many decks that I built and can talk further with you if you like. john
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I am in the process of designing a deck for my house in the spring. It will be a somewhat complicated design, aka expensive. I would love to use cedar deck boards, but as they are more than twice the cost of pressure treated so that is an unlikely option. As a landscaper by trade, I have seen many beautiful decks made of cedar, teak and composite products. I have also seen too many decks that I am sure looked stunning when the homeowner wrote the check to the carpenter, but now are a thoroughly depressing shade of gray with boards so warped, checked and splintered, with nails sticking up so tall they could snag a gliding bird flying by, that they more closely resemble an ancient torture device, rather than a deck...the dreaded pressure treated deck. I would very much like to avoid this happening at my house. Thus my question....can I build a deck with pressure treated deck boards that does not look like a monster attached to my house in 5 years? What is the optimal maintenance schedule and routine to keep the boards structurally sound and aesthetically inviting?
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Hi John, For the purposes of this discussion, I would list my options as pressur e treated or cedar as these are generally the only readily available wood o ptions and I do not care for the look of composite or plastic decking board s, at least not in this application. It is my understanding, from the resea rch that I have done that either application, pt or cedar, will require som e annual maintenance and thus the added expense of cedar may not be worth i t in the long run. My take on what I have read is that if left completely a lone, with no upkeep, the pt will likely last longer? Since I don't plan on taking this approach, how much maintenance, realistically, should I expect on pressure treated decking and can I, with this maintenance, keep it look ing pleasing and fresh? What is the best option for treating the surface? C an I use a paint or colored stain and expect it to hold up to moderate foot traffic?
Kevin
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I usually use redwood and have used cedar also. It is a nice wood, and will last if installed correctly. Using PT under for joist and post and girder is a good idea. Screws in decking are best. I would avoid paint. I would use a oil stain or oil base sealer. Paint tends to trap moisture and thus cause rot. I have taken apart many a fences that were painted, and the interior is rotten since the moisture stayed inside the wood and was encapsulated. the sun come out and steam heats the picket. Wide deck board spacing is important. Avoiding "sandwiching of boards is important" I worked with a forensic architect, and learned many things as to why buildings fail, and that included decks. He was quite obstinate about allowing wood to be "in air' and avoid too much contact to other pieces. I know this is hard to describe. It is basically not sandwiching materials.
Pressure washing decks is a good idea, since it clean out debris. Oiling once in a while after pressure washing is good too. The wood can still breath, and the pours get filled with oil. Too much oil is not good. It will come out in the heat of the day. I could go on. john
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Hi John, For the purposes of this discussion, I would list my options as pressure treated or cedar as these are generally the only readily available wood options and I do not care for the look of composite or plastic decking boards, at least not in this application. It is my understanding, from the research that I have done that either application, pt or cedar, will require some annual maintenance and thus the added expense of cedar may not be worth it in the long run. My take on what I have read is that if left completely alone, with no upkeep, the pt will likely last longer? Since I don't plan on taking this approach, how much maintenance, realistically, should I expect on pressure treated decking and can I, with this maintenance, keep it looking pleasing and fresh? What is the best option for treating the surface? Can I use a paint or colored stain and expect it to hold up to moderate foot traffic?
Kevin
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Despite only being a few hundred miles north of you, Redwood is nearly unheard of around here. I did find a batch about 20 years ago for the deck on our old mobile home. It held up well for over 13 years with bi-annual maintenance, then I used the redwood lumber for a variety of woodworking projects when we dismantled it to move the mobile home out.
For the deck on our house, I use pressure treated wood rated for ground contact for the underlying structure. Then I used cedar deck boards attached with stainless steel screws. I made the mistake of using a Behr oil stain when we first installed it. Horrible product. Thankfully, one of the advantages of going with cedar is that I could strip it and sand it smooth again (don't try that with pressure treated). This time around I used Sikkens "Teak" colored stain, which went on much nicer and should hold up much better. It did wreak of oil for a few days though. :)
When I built a small deck for my in-laws, I also used ground contact PT for the structure. However, their deck sits out in direct sunlight all day, with no gutters to protect from constant roof run off, and I knew they would not do any maintenance (they were in their 70's). I chose composite decking for their application and it turned out really well. About two years later the wood railing needs some maintenance, but the deck itself looks like the day I installed it. Also, it has some texture which helps keep it from getting slippery for seniors coming and going.
Composite costs a little more than cedar, but if you factor in the costs of maintenance and restaining, it's probably comes out about the same. Of course, while it can look really nice, it's still plastic. :)
Anthony Watson Mountain Software www.mountain-software.com/about.htm
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I live in a different part of the country than John. so any wood other than PT is cost prohibitive for most folks. I do agree that screws are the best fastener for the deck boards. If you decide to use screws, invest in an impact driver, much better than a conventional screw gun.


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Yes, torque drive and impact driver....the only way to fly. And love the pre-drill on the screws. john
"Tom Cular" wrote in message

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