Deck Materials We Use
Based upon your aesthetic, maintenance and budget goals, we can install these different types of deck materials:
If you’re looking for a way to combine longevity and economy, pressure-treated Southern Yellow Pine is a great choice for a wood deck. Pine is easy to stain, holds up well to normal wear-and-tear, and is chemically treated to resist rot, fungus and wood-boring bugs. But not all pine boards are created equal, as cheaper varieties have more knots, uneven graining patterns, and a tendency to twist and shrink because of moisture-retention. For that reason, at Seal-a-Deck we only use pine decking that’s graded at “choice” or above.
However, any grade of pine can still crack, warp and split. To prolong your pine deck’s life and appearance routine maintenance is required, starting with an annual power-washing. You should also apply a stain or wood preservative to pine every two to three years to ensure its look and longevity. Overall, a pressure-treated pine deck should last for decades when properly maintained.
If you really like the rich, warm look of natural wood, cedar is an affordable option. Cedar slowly absorbs moisture, which helps keep the boards from twisting and warping like cheaper materials. A cedar deck should last up to 20 years, but that lifespan can get shortened when used on ground-level or heavily shaded decks that dry out slowly. For it to retain its beautiful color, you should wash and reseal cedar at least every two years with a clear, water-repellent wood preservative.
But even when doing so, cedar decks that are over 10 years old tend to start showing signs of weathering. Cedar is also a softer wood that can splinter or dent when heavy objects, like patio furniture or grills, are dragged across its surface. Because of its appearance, longevity, and price, overall cedar remains a smart deck investment.
Historically used for home furniture and cabinetry, mahogany is a hardwood that’s become popular for wood decks because of its knot-free appearance, rich hues, and tight grain. Known for its unique coloration, mahogany varies from a reddish or pinkish brown to a deeper shade of brown. If left unfinished, mahogany will naturally darken. To protect its original coloring from weathering, the wood should be sealed with a good penetrating oil within two weeks of installation, and then every 12 to 18 months afterward.
Although it’s a bit pricier than other natural wood decking materials, homeowners we’ve worked with love mahogany because it looks luxurious doesn’t splinter, and naturally resists wood rot. Properly maintained, a mahogany deck can last for 25 years and still look and perform great!
Raised on plantations in South America, Ipe is a beautiful natural hardwood known for its tropical grain variations and exotic appearance. Because of its fine texture and interlocking grain, Ipe is also very structurally strong and resistant to fire, scratches, termites, and decay. Another important feature of this wood, especially for homeowners near the ocean, is that it stays slip-resistant even when exposed to moisture. And, if you like to walk around barefoot on your deck all summer long, Ipe won’t absorb heat from the sun’s rays!
Ipe boards are known for their deep rich brown coloring, with pieces that oftentimes have red and amber hues woven within. If you want your Ipe deck to retain a darker appearance, we recommend sealing it every year with a good penetrating wood oil. Because Ipe’s so durable, you can also simply allow it to age, resulting in a silvery gray weathered look. And although it’s the most expensive wood we install, an Ipe deck should easily last for 25 years or more.
Best Deck Materials to Use When Pests Are a Concern
If you’re in the market for a deck that’s really low-maintenance, a wood-plastic composite deck may be just what the doctor ordered. Made primarily of wood fibers and recycled plastic, a composite deck virtually eliminates the annual sanding, staining, and touch-ups that come with 100% wood products. And, as a low-maintenance alternative to all-natural wood, composites still deliver much of the same beauty, color and graining patterns. A composite deck will also hold up very well to the various weather conditions found in New England!
However, composite decks are not totally maintenance-free, and a good power-washing is still recommended every year. This mainly helps prevent mold and mildew, especially in shady, damp regions of your deck. Composite materials are also more expensive and heavier than most natural woods, and some products can start decaying because of their wood component. To give you a higher return-on-investment, at Seal-a-Deck we only work with high-quality composites that are backed by a 25-year warranty.
PVC (polyvinylchloride) is another extremely durable and virtually maintenance-free material we install. It’s also very moisture and fade-resistant, and PVC won’t rot, split or warp even in areas prone to heavy rainfall or high humidity. Although PVC is highly resistant to scratches, stains, and mold, it can still show signs of wear-and-tear over the life of the product. And even though manufacturers have done a nice job of capturing the beauty, colors and graining patterns found in natural wood, PVC still can’t match the aesthetics of a wood deck built with something like Ipe or mahogany.
A PVC deck should still be power-washed every spring to remove dust, dirt and other airborne pollutants. As the most expensive material we install at Seal-a-Deck, a PVC deck typically delivers an exceptional return-on-investment for most homeowners because of its unequaled durability, ease-of-maintenance, and the fact most PVC products come with 50-year to lifetime warranties!
2 Low-Maintenance Deck Materials That Also Look Great
For more information about our deck construction services in Massachusetts, or to schedule a deck check-up or free estimate, call Seal-a-Deck today at 978−538−7325!