Your Massachusetts home’s wood deck has two types of posts- rail posts and support posts. The rail posts are used to anchor the railings and balusters, while the support posts, as the name implies, hold up your entire structure. But the wood that comprises your posts, which is usually pressure-treated pine or cedar, takes an annual beating from damaging forces including wind, moisture, sunlight and wood-boring insects.
After about 10 years, and no matter how well you maintain them, your wood posts can start fading, splitting and rotting. One of the easiest ways to improve your deck’s aesthetics and longevity is by changing out the posts and post materials. At Seal-a-Deck, we install a wide variety of long-lasting deck post materials, including these.
The most affordable decking material that we install is pressure-treated pine. In addition to being budget-friendly, pine also gives you a natural wood look that’s timeless. Most older decks in Massachusetts are made from pine, which does require an annual washing and re-sealing to protect it from the elements. Pine posts should last for at least 10 to 15 years, and they do contain toxic chemicals because of the pressure-treating process.
The second most common deck posts we see are cedar, which has a beautiful reddish hue and is easy to work with. Although pricier than pine, Cedar is still a very cost-effective decking material because it’s naturally water, insect and mold resistant. However, it does require an annual cleaning, and resealing every 2 years, to maintain those protective qualities. Cedar is also a softer wood than pine, which makes it more susceptible to dents and scratches. When maintained properly, cedar deck posts will last about 15 years.
This is a luxurious-looking hardwood with tight graining that’s scratch and insect resistant. More expensive than cedar or pine, mahogany also resists moisture very well, which makes it an ideal deck post material if you live near the ocean. Mahogany does need to be washed and resealed with a good penetrating oil every 18 months and can last 20 to 25 years when taken care of.
Harvested from tropical rainforests, Ipe is an exotic-looking, extremely dense hardwood that’s known for its rich graining patterns. It’s one of the heaviest and most expensive post material we install, but the return-on-investment is high because Ipe’s natural density resists fire, bugs, moisture, and scratches. It does need to be washed and resealed every couple of years, and Ipe posts should give you 25+ years of longevity when properly maintained.
These materials are very eco-friendly because they come from recycled materials like plastics and wood chips, and don’t need to be resealed or stained for continuous protection like other materials. Composites can’t quite mimic the natural coloring and textures found in natural woods, but newer versions are getting closer by the year. It is a good idea to power-wash composite materials annually, and they can slightly shrink or swell in response to temperature fluctuations. Overall, composite posts are very durable and should last for 25 years or more.
If you’re looking for a deck post material that will hold up well in all weather conditions and not take up much time caring for, PVC is your answer. The products we install are made from recycled materials and come with limited lifetime warranties for your peace-of-mind. PVC is also resistant to bugs, moisture, mold, cracking, warping and splintering. The negatives with PVC posts are their higher upfront costs and the fact they can’t deliver the same look as natural wood.
In addition to changing out your old post material for one of those listed above, there are other exciting ways to spruce up the look of your deck posts by adding:
• Post sleeves in various materials, styles, and colors
• Decorative post caps, which also protect the post ends from the elements
• Accent posts
• Metal posts or metal post sleeves
For additional creative deck post ideas, please visit our website at: www.sealadeck.com.
At Seal-a-Deck, we love helping homeowners breathe new life into their summer get-togethers with our affordable and reliable deck repairs. Since 2003, we’ve been assisting clients in Massachusetts with our full menu of eco-conscious deck services, including check-ups, repairs, redecking projects, and new deck constructions. To book a deck check-up with the deck aficionados at Seal-a-Deck today, call 978-538-7325. Or, get a repair estimate within minutes by using our convenient Instant Quote feature now!