Everything you need to know about wood and low maintenance decking before you build your project.
Choosing wood or low maintenance materials (such as TimberTech or AZEK) for your deck is a matter of personal preference. Before making your decision, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.
How much are you planning to invest in your deck or outdoor living space?
How long do you plan to live in your current home?
How much maintenance or upkeep are you comfortable with?
How do you plan to use the space and how can that affect your deck boards?
Combine the value that new outdoor living projects retain with the enjoyment that families receive and a new backyard project becomes a very attractive investments.
The 2009 – 2010 Cost vs Value Report by Remodeling Magazine is out. Again Decks have held strong when considering their return on investment in the Chicago area. Amongst several common home improvement projects wooden deck additions ranked 3rd highest with an 80.6% return. This is based upon an average deck price of $10,675 in 2009 dollars. Composite decks also offer a strong return but do not hold up quite as well, at a 71% return. The difference is due to the higher initial cost for the project at an average of $15,619. Check out the full report at Remodeling Magazine. Combine the value that new outdoor living projects retain with the enjoyment that families receive and a new backyard project becomes a very attractive investments.
Often we can replace the decking, trim, and/or the rails but keep the existing structure. The top three issues I look at are signs of structural rot, the deck to house connection (especially the flashing), and the soundness of the concrete footings. Redecks are an option that provides significant savings.
Will that deck make it through another summer? As the snow melts, hopefully soon, thousands of decks throughout the Chicago suburbs will be revealed. The wear and tear from another season of sun, rain, freeze, and snow will show itself. What options does a home owner have? If the deck boards are beyond normal maintenance, pressure washing and staining, it’s time to consider new material. Does that mean a new deck? Not necessarily, often we can replace the decking, trim, and/or the rails but keep the existing structure. Have the structure evaluated by a professional deck builder or qualified contractor to insure the structure is safe and worth saving. Poor structure with new surface material is a bad investment. Having said this, it is very common that the structure can offer many more years of support for your deck. The top three issues I look at are signs of structural rot, the deck to house connection (especially the flashing), and the soundness of the concrete footings. Of course, we also review the structural plan for the deck. Healthy material won’t compensate for poor design.
Assuming the structure is sound, perhaps with minor structural repairs, there are many options to rehab and reuse your deck space. The decking can be replaced with new wood, low maintenance deck boards (such as TimberTech or Azek), or even “stone like” tile options. With in these choices exists a multitude of natural as well as synthetic materials. The pros and cons of these choices are best left for another blog. Okay, several blogs. The key is that a deck rehab, or redeck, is a very viable option. Redecks are an option that provides significant savings.
These rehab’s can involve replacement of decking only or any combination of surface components. We have done many combinations of deck rehab, including several that involved shape changes, adding screen rooms, or integration of a paver patio. As always we start by asking questions to understand the homeowner’s priorities. Once we have a clear picture we will offer recommendations. Ultimately, we will build what the client wants assuming, it’s safe and legal. However, there are a couple issues that really make sense for most deck rehab’s. First, if you are planning to replace the decking on the stairs, it’s best to replace all elements of the stairs. I don’t reuse strangers. Second, reuse of non structural materials from the old deck is not worth the effort. Using new material is so much faster for carpenters that it’s less expensive then reusing old materials. Not to mention that I have never met a carpenter who is happy working with old material. Remember, the carpenter is a craftsmen and their happiness will directly affect the results of your project. Happy carpenters equal a successful project; that sounds like another future blog topic.
A deck rehab is often the perfect solution. Whether you simply need deck boards replaced or wish to recreate your outdoor living space(s), using the existing foundation can give savings. It can give savings of both money and time for your project.