Although not every home has one, decks have become a popular addition to a house. Modern decks require minimal care, but they still need occasional attention. Decking materials include pressure-treated wood, redwood, cedar, composite materials, plastic materials and aluminum materials. Each has steps you can take to prolong its life.
PRESSURE-TREATED WOOD: This type of wood will last between 15-18 years if maintained. Every other year, clean and seal it with water-repellant. If splinters develop, you will need to sand it before resealing. With this wood, a board may occasionally warp or pop up. Simply screw it back in place or replace that board if necessary.
REDWOOD: The highest grade (called heartwood) of this decking has a life of 20- 30 years. Lower grades are pressure-treated and have varying lifespans. Maintenance is similar to pressure-treated wood, but less frequent.
CEDAR: Cedar decking will last for about 20 years. It will resist warping, insects and rot, as the grain is tighter than other woods. Like redwood it requires minimal maintenance.
COMPOSITE MATERIALS: Composite is a combination of plastic and wood. Although it is low-maintenance, it does need some care. Color will fade and it can stain if something is spilled on it. In addition, mold and mildew may develop. Use a warm, soapy water and a bristle brush to remove the mold or mildew.
PLASTIC DECKING: This material is like composite, but contains no wood. Plastic needs little maintenance. In extreme temperatures, plastic may become brittle (in cold) or may expand and contract (in temperature fluctuations), but this is generally not problematic.
ALUMINUM DECKING: Aluminum lasts a lifetime and is VERY low maintenance and easy to clean with warm, soapy water.
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