Decking 101: Lumber and Lumber Alternatives

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A deck is the favorite hangout and entertainment spot of any home no matter where you are located, but this can be especially true for a lake home. In the past many types of treated lumber have been used for decking, but today the most commonly used product is green lumber. Green lumber is a good option for decking materials but there are a few more selections to choose from when deciding on decking material. There are a few newer products available on the market today that are more sustainable and can last a lifetime.

man cutting treated lumber for a deckPressure Treated Lumber
This is the cheapest alternative when it comes to choosing a long lasting decking material. This pressure treated lumber is the same type of lumber that was used on some of the earlier decks. Instead of being treated with a liquid solution it goes through a process where the treatment is cooked into the lumber while under pressure. This works much like a big pressure cooker. Pressure treated decks are great for high moisture locations. This pressure treated lumber is not only long lasting but it is resistant to rot and insect damage. A pressure treated decks still needs to be washed and treated with a preservative sealer. With the proper maintenance a pressure treated deck will last up to 30 years.

Redwood and Cedar Wood
Redwood and cedar decks are naturally insect, rot, and fire resistant. Cedar does not have to have the yearly spray treatment that a pressure treated deck requires. Redwood and cedar lumber will also provide a unique color and finish. The natural color and finish of the wood can be enhanced with a sealer or it can be stained with a variety of colors that are available from local hardware stores. Some companies and contractors that use cedar or redwood will offer lifetime warranties on their decks.

Wood and Plastic Composite
Wood and plastic composite will also give you a long lasting alternative. These materials are made in the same style and look as real wood. Wood and plastic composites are available to you in a wide variety of premade colors. This material can also be cleaned with soap and water and will always hold the color for a long lasting great look. Many manufacturers of these products offer a 25 year warranty on their product.

Rubber Composite
As the name states, this lumber alternative is made of recycled rubber. This material is also long lasting and will almost always come with at least a 25 year manufacturers warranty. It is also not as commonly available as the other options, so it may cost more to use this material. It is also not recommended for very cold climates in which the weather frequently falls below zero degrees (F).

No matter what material are used to build, a deck is certain to add value to your lake home. When it comes to lake homes an elaborate deck can even be a key selling point when it comes time to put the home on the market. Check with your local contractor to see what options are available, or if you are looking for a DIY project you can check with your local hardware store.

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