I'm considering building a deck at my house in spain. The climate
is hot/arid (up to 40 C, about 110 F) during the summer and a short
cold winter with occasional snow, maybe down to -10.
The material I'll use will be pressure treated pine, as alternatives
such as redwood are not available.
The deck will be in direct sunlight from the east and south, it's
shaded by the house to the west.
The size of the deck will be about 5m x 4.5m (18' x 12') and will
have to support about 1 ton: people, furniture etc. but no tub or
other localised "heavy spots". I don't need a barbeque area.
My main concern is the durability of the materials used, primarily
because of the high daytime temperatures and UV exposure. Given
people's experience of decking in similar environments, such as
arizona or NM, is this sensible, or would I be better off going
for a concrete patio - which seems to be the more popular alternative
with my neighbours?
Your views and experiences would be very welcome.
. never trust a man who, when left alone ...... Pete Lynch .
Pete, I live in New Zealand, in the northern part. We don't get the kind of
frosts here, but I dare say our sun is probably stronger, UV wise, than
anything you'll get in Spain.
One thing I can tell you for sure: people avoid building pine decks like the
plague, except maybe for absolutely poor people or those who just don't know
any better. It weathers too much, and it doesn't stay stable when it's out in
the weather like that. At the very least you'll need to put lots of oil based
stain on it, or similar.
If that was me, and pine was really all that was available, I think I'd go for
concrete and put terracotta or slate on it. 22 square meteres, hell that's 2.2
cubes of concrete at 4 inches (and you only need 3, max, and one steel mat
unless you want to park the range rover on it) - cheaper than buying the
firstname dot lastname at gmail fullstop com
I would certainly go with the wood. I live in Houston and while the temp
des not regularily hit 110F in the summer, 100+F is normal. I seriousely
doubt a few more degrees will make a critical difference.
If exposed to direct sunlight wood will fade
A concrete patio ecposed to direct sunlight is going to absorbe and radiate
heat perhaps all night long and would be too hot to stand on bare footed in
Ultimately the wood would be cooler.
I'm near Houston, TX, and have built a couple of wood decks. I used PT
wood (pine), firmly secured at every joist with ring shank nails. I
made sure when I nailed the boards that I put the cup
(potential/probable problems) DOWN. I power wash as necessary to remove
the inevitable mildew and treat with Thompson's and/or an equivalent.
With that kind of installation and treatment I've found a deck can be
good looking after quite a few years, 10-15, at least.
The one I have now is about 500 sq. ft. over my pond/lake (2+ acres, so
which do I call it?) and after 7 years of above care it still looks
There is a difference between a pond and a lake and it grows primarily out
of the source of creation, as with all living things - yes I said living,
but we'll get to that. A lake was made by God; a pond is always man made. As
such you might expect ponds, each being made by different men, to look a lot
different from one to another and to be stocked with different varieties of
plant and animal life from pond to pond, and you'd be right.
Lakes and ponds are permanently wet year round. The main difference between
a lake and a pond is the size. A lake is usually defined as a body of water
large enough to have at least one wind-swept beach; ponds usually are not
large enough for winds to blow across the water and create waves to wash
away the plants that may be trying to take root. A lake is too deep for
rooted plants to grow except near the shore.
The term "lake" or "pond" as part of a waterbody name is arbitrary and not
based on any specific naming convention. In general, lakes tend to be larger
and/or deeper than ponds, but numerous examples exist of "ponds" that are
larger and deeper than "lakes."
On 6/6/2006 10:50 PM Edwin Pawlowski mumbled something about the following:
Wow, according to this one, we have several LARGE ponds.
Just to name a few off the top of my head
Lake Mead (250 sq miles)
Lake Mohave (almost 200 sq miles)
Lake Sidney Lanier (60 sq miles)
Bogue Homa Lake (1200 acres, although it originally didn't have a damn,
it was much smaller before).
About 460 other Army Corp of Engineers lakes plus many others.
and quite a few lakes that aren't much larger than a mud puddle (that
is, if you believe in a Dog).
... my apologies for getting the thread off subject re: lakes/ponds, so
I'll re-answer the originally posted question in case my first attempt
got lost in the shuffle -- bear with me while I repeat. :-)
I have found PT pine deck boards securely fastened to a solid water
contact PT pine sub-structure to be quite durable, even in our Houston-
area hot, humid climate. I do have to pressure wash it periodically
because of mildew and then re-treat with a water sealer.
With that treatment and after 7 years it still looks good.
Since we are getting back on topic. there was mention about a patio instead
of a deck. That would be my first choice. Much less maintenance, no chance
of rodents taking up residence under a low deck. Yes, you do have the heat
sink effect in a hot and sunny climate, but that is the only down side I can
Yes, now I've seen the responses to my question, I'm tending towards
a mixed approach.
Originally I wanted decking rather than stone/concrete as I expected
this would be cooler (less heat) and would also add more texture and
a more "organic" feel to the rather desolate area to the front of the
house - if that doesn't sound too pretentious.
The comment about snakes & scorpions made me think, especialy as the
deck would be close to the entrance. Last time I was at the house I
found a baby scorpion inside and I know there are snakes in the area.
What I'll probably end up doing is laying a patio with a pergola over
the top and a few climbing plants trained over it to provide shade. I
can still keep most of the organic look with this and some wooden
railings around the perimeter.
Finally, sorry John but I've never been to Salamanca so I doubt that
I've met your friend.
thanks for the useful and constructive comments
. never trust a man who, when left alone ...... Pete Lynch .
Should look great- opt for brick or stone, and it'll give you an
organic look, especially if you find some that have been tumbled a bit
and have some variation in color and size. Harder to lay than
standardized pavers, but nicer to look at in the end. Concrete can
always be painted as well, though I wouldn't trust it to hold up for
the long term.
>The size of the deck will be about 5m x 4.5m (18' x 12') and will
>have to support about 1 ton: people, furniture etc. but no tub or
>other localised "heavy spots". I don't need a barbeque area.
>My main concern is the durability of the materials used, primarily
>because of the high daytime temperatures and UV exposure. Given
>people's experience of decking in similar environments, such as
>arizona or NM, is this sensible, or would I be better off going
>for a concrete patio - which seems to be the more popular alternative
>with my neighbours?
Different horses for different courses.
Having built a concrete patio, it would be the way I'd go.
I used wood to built a sun roof over the concrete patio.
Made for great BBQ's BTW.
There is a product we use here in New Mexico called Trex. It is a
composite of wood and platics that bears up in our high heat and UV
areas. My deck is concrete and I do not worry about heat retention as
we have extremely low humidity so the temperature drops very quickly at
night. Also, during the day, it is much too hot to sit out in sum
without shade. In the shade the concrete is cool.
See is you can locate a supplier of Trex or similar product. What are
your neighbors using on their decks?
Don't they have nice cedar in Spain? Or is Spanish Cedar only that in
Unless you just really want a wooden deck, they've got no real
advantages over patios- especially when it comes to maintenance. If
you don't like the concrete option, loose laid bricks or pavers look
nice and last indefinately in most conditions. A quick search one
Google should return any number of article on how to install them, if
you don't already know, and depending on how much work you're willing
to do yourself, they can be very inexpensive.
I put in mine this last weekend (9' x 13') and the whole deal cost $15
+ gasoline. To get it that cheap was a ton of work- I removed a
100-yr old chimney one brick at a time with a brick set and a hammer,
carefully removing the mortar as I went and took it home. The bricks
were my payment for the work- which was a fair deal, as "antique"
pavers go for a premium in most markets. Then excavated the area for
the patio with a shovel, paid $15 for a yard of gravel and a ton of
sand, shoveled all that stuff into the excavation manually, screeted
the sand and laid the bricks. Took about 3 long days for the brick
reclamation and one and a half for the patio, but it would have cost
me at least a couple grand to have someone else do it. Figure about
twice as much time for the size you've got in mind- unless you have a
Concrete will cost whatever it costs- there isn't much room for
dickering there, and it's generally not a do-it-yourself job like a
deck or paver patio is for most people. Making the forms is easy, but
finishing the poured slab is an art most folks (including myself) are
not very adept at, and a big hunk of concrete is not easy to remove if
you're not happy with the results. The only real concern with the
material is that it is bland, and may crack if it is not installed
correctly- make sure you check out the contractor beforehand, as some
are much better than others, and price is not always a good indicator
Spanish Cedar is, IIRC, a species of Mahogany and not related to any
North American cedar at all.
"We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and
bring something to kill"
Even better for weather resistance then, isn't it? I guess I was
wondering why there wasn't anything but PT pine around, especially
with the relative proximity of Africa (relative compared to the US,
Then again, I know very little about Spain- other than it looks like a
nice place to live.
Having lived in southern Arizona for 40 years and lived with both,
I'll share some hands on experience. A wood deck is cooler in the
summer as Leon says but it needs a lot of maintenance. No finish,
surface film or oil, lasted more than 1 year due to the intense UV.
In the summer the kids were always playing on it and using the water
hose. The constant wet vs. hyper-dry cycles caused the pine to
deteriorate in just a few years. The underside was the perfect home
for many snakes, spiders, and scorpions.
Concrete on the other hand needs almost zero maintenance, an
occasional blast with the water hose does just fine. It also has no gaps
to catch and hold debris. Yes, it will get damn hot in the direct summer
sun (160+ degrees depending on its' color) but it cools rapidly when
flooded with water. If your climate is humid, like Houston, this will
be less effective than in an arid climate. Concrete can be texturized
to imitate rock or brick if you don't like the normal plain surface.
I've seen concrete patios which are 30+ years old that look like
they were poured a few years ago.
Whichever way you decide to go, remember that shade is your friend.
Trees, awnings, overhead trellis, or anything that blocks the sun will
increase your enjoyment of your patio/deck.
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