| I am having a deck built over a full exposure, about 600 sq. ft,
| roughly 40x16, with some clipped corners and a staircase. I have some
| questions.. I can go with cedar, composite, or ipe, and I've been
| weighing the pros/cons of each.. I'm trying to figure out how much
| maintenance each requires.. It's being built on the north side of a
| 2-story Wisconsin house, so it'll get plenty of snow and rain, large
| seasonal temperature changes, etc.
| The composite is NO maintenance, but it looks kinda cheesy IMO, so
| unless they can find a really good looking sample for me, I'm not going
| for it.. I've seen about 6 composite samples, I'm sure there's many
| more out there. Any recommendations on a really good looking
If you want no upkeep, this is the way to go. There is some good looking stuff out there (amazing what they are doing with old milk jugs) if you know where to go - think BORG - but it cost about 3 times what cedar would.
| I hear cedar is cheap but requires a 'lot' of maintenance. What
| exactly is a 'lot'? Will I be spending an afternoon, or a full
| weekend, or even longer sealing it up? Once a year, or every few? I
| think cedar is out, ipe looks better, and if I have to spend the time
| on maintenance anyway, might as well look primo.....
If you go cedar be sure to do all the stuff that is hidden in green wood as it will last as long as cedar and costs about 1/3 less. With a North face any stain or sealer you apply will last 3-5 years. My South face deck could only go 1.5 years and I used the best stain/cover I could find.
| I think ipe is my #1 pick so far, unless I hear horror stories... If I
| go with ipe, same q's, how often do you need to seal it? How much does
| sealant cost, and how long does it take to apply?
Most of the refinishes I did took a day. Those which took more also had a 60 grit sanding.
If you are interested look here http://www.penofin.com /
and this one is definitive http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr113/fplgtr113.htm
| My main question on Ipe/cedar - If I leave it unsealed, it will turn
| silver/grey. If it does, can I stain/seal it and get the original
| color back again? How long does it take for a new deck to turn
There is no such thing as a good sealer or stain cover. They all wear out and have to be replaced from 1 - 5 years depending upon orientation, exposure, and traffic. No matter what you use, do not believe the ads about Thompson's Water Seal.
I gave up on trying to keep the "original color" of my cedar deck and let it go grey to match the house. It took 3 years for the stain and stuff to wear off naturally and I spent another 2 days sanding the deck to get the remnants off. The whole deck will be a fine shade of silver grey by spring.
| Thanks for any opinions/feedback,