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It is deck season, and with the variety of deck materials and accessories available, I highly recommend you do some research and pick the products that work best for your home and lifestyle if a new deck is on your to-do list.
While wood decks still are popular for homeowners who want to save money upfront, the need to strip and stain the wood every year or two has driven many people to choose low maintenance composite and PVC products. With the popularity of composite and PVC decks increasing, chances are you are looking at some options by manufacturers like Azek ( azek.com), Timber Tech ( timbertech.com) and Trex ( trex.com).
But if you are looking for any new innovations in deck materials from these or other manufacturers, that won’t be the case this year.
Larry Oehmke, store manager for John’s Lumber, (586) 791-1200, (johnslumber.com) said the product lines for composite and PVC deck products haven’t changed much in the last few years, so homeowners are choosing based on personal preferences
“When people are looking at composite decks, I tell them the warranties from the major manufacturers are very similar, so they should pick one brand over another based on style and color options that match their home, “he said.
Oehmke said it is the deck accessories that has really seen an increase in innovation and options over the past few years and is a way for homeowners to add some accents to the basic deck boards.
“We are seeing a lot more deck lighting and railing options available today, and people are mixing and matching these accessories to fit their style and needs,” he said.
Oehmke said the options in deck railings have really expanded, and there are a range of colors, finishes and styles to choose from to match and enhance any composite or PVC deck.
He said railings with thin or see-through balusters that don’t block the view of the yard or lake are especially popular, such as those available from Deckorators (deckorators.com) with clear glass.
Jeff Frye, sales manager for Dillman and Upton, (248) 651-9411, ( dillmanupton.com), said the aluminum railing system from Westbury is popular and features smaller posts and thinner vertical cable that allows for a better view.
“The Westbury aluminum rail system is another great option in deck railings and goes up easy for do-it-yourselfers,” Frye said. “It is around $52 a lineal foot compared to the Timbertech or Azek rails which are $58 a lineal foot, so it is very price competitive as well.”
In addition to a variety of railing choices, there are also more options in built-in deck lighting from Azek, Trex and Timbertech that include under rail, post and stair lighting options to make entertaining on your new deck at night more enjoyable.
One thing that is new in the world of deck materials is the transition toward pressure treated lumber for use in ground contact applications.
“The building code changed in April and now you have to use special pressure treated lumber for anything that touches the ground, such as the deck’s supporting posts and stringers, so we have upgraded all our deck lumber to meet this standard,” Oehmke said.
This specially treated lumber for use in ground contact applications gives the lumber greater strength and durability and protects against fungal decay, rot and termites, a vital improvement over standard pressure treated lumber.
You can prevent nail pops and screw heads from appearing on your deck with the EB-TY Premium Hidden Deck-Fastening System from Simpson Strong-Tie ( strongtie.com). Combining a stainless steel plate with an angled pre-drilling tool and screws with black painted heads, EB-TY allows tighter board spacing and a cleaner finished look.
While the basics of deck materials hasn’t changed much over the past few years, added accessories will make it even more important for you to do your homework and visit a building supply store before you decide which materials and style fits your need and budget.
Note: This article was accurate at the date of publication. However, information contained in it may have changed.
If you plan to use the information contained herein for any purpose, verification of its continued accuracy is your responsibility.