There are so many types of decks on the market today, it can be confusing to say the least. That’s why at Paradisaic we believe it is important to educate customers on the choices available to them.
When choosing materials for your deck it is important to consider the use your deck will take. Remember while an average 12 x 14 deck floor in PT lumber may be in the range of $4200, against a more expensive material like capped composite at $8200; the PT deck won’t need replacement for approximately 15-20 years but aesthetically will need upkeep and maintenance while the composite will last 25+ years while holding its looks. The floor of the deck is what takes the wear, so accessories such as gazebos or pergolas can be constructed from PT or cedar which is less expensive, easy to stain/seal and complements the look of a composite floor. Your Paradisaic rep will be able to give you detailed explanations about all the materials available and help you decide on what is best for your particular situation.
When you hear that decking is low maintenance, it generally refers to composite decks. Within composite decks there can be a great range of quality and price, and these products have improved dramatically in recent years so are a popular choice for decking.
Each decking type has its own pros and cons…here’s a brief review of the options available starting with the least expensive. Your Paradisaic consultant can give you further information on the benefits of each of them.
A combination of spruce, pine and fir woods commonly referred to as SPF or dimensional lumber. Its main advantage is that it is inexpensive and if treated with a sealant will last up to 15 years. The disadvantage to SPF is over time it dries and develops cracks or splinters. Untreated SPF will turn a greyish silver over time, and so should be treated with a sealer a minimum of every couple years.
A step up from SPF, cedar provides an attractive look. We use Western Red Cedar which has a warm red hue and a straight grain which provides a rich look when stained. The advantage of cedar is that it naturally resists rot and insects, even when untreated, older lumber being even more rot resistant. When used close to a wet area cedar can be susceptible to rot and should be treated yearly with a sealer. The disadvantage to cedar is the higher cost although throughout its lifespan it ages better than SPF.
Curved Decking is a wonderful new option that lends itself to a number of applications. The smooth flowing curves add interest and sophistication to the look of your deck, and no sharp edges for the kids to run into! Additionally, curved decking makes the best and most economical use of space as it can work around existing structures. Creating curved elements is challenging customized work and Paradisaic is pleased to have the skill and experience to specialize in this area.
Non-capped composite is the next in line from a cost perspective. In general, composite is a combination of wood flour or sawdust mixed with plastic and then extruded into planks, textured and coloured. There are definite quality levels within the composite world, and at the higher end of the scale the composite mixture goes all the way to the surface of the board as opposed to being in the core. Since there is still raw wood exposed to the elements in composites, minor stains, mould and fading can occur.
Capped composites – these are the top end of the composite world. They are usually the same wood and plastic mixture inside but they also have a polymer shell around the outside of the board. Trex provides a much higher fade times – around the 30-40 year range; and the ones we favour have a 25 year warranty. The surfaces are available in more options for texture and colour; they mimic wood much better and even come in exotic hardwood looks. Inside the capped composite there are also various grades based primarily on composition. We favour Trex and Timbertech brands because they use maple wood flour in their mix which is a very dense hardwood and therefore more resistant to rot. Some companies are pioneers in this area and are now coupling their mix with the addition of an anti-rot solution and a polymer coating that extends all the way around the board, we think this is the best option within this category
The final and top-end choice, this pure plastic material is the most expensive but offers better density, is scratch resistant and considered ultra low maintenance. While not as resistant to fading or as composite this material is susceptible to staining with suntan lotion or bug spray
We also work with exotic woods, IPE being one of the most popular. Also known as Lapcheo or Brazilian Walnut, it offers a huge advantage in that it resists rot, mould, decay and insects without treatment. Also IPE has an A1 fire rating meaning that it is not combustible – a huge nod to safety. It has a smooth surface that doesn’t splinter and if used with a sealer will last for 50+ years, eventually turning a silvery patina. It is extremely dense, hard and very strong.
Gazebos are generally free standing structures in the yard with a roof and open windows; traditionally octagons or squares, they can be created in many shapes and designs to suit your space. They are ideal for providing a quite shady space to curl up with a book and a cool glass of lemonade and can also be enclosed with screening to eliminate the aggravation of bugs.
Pergolas or arbours are open projecting eves, often built against existing structures and constructed of posts usually with a slatted roof. They make ideal passageways from one area to another or an ideal area for a private spa. Their open design make them ideal for climbing plants and vines.