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sticknstring

Building a new deck

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Hey guys-

My fiance & I are planning on putting a deck on our home this spring and I'm curious as to what materials would be recommended. It'll be a high elevation deck with stairway. Are pressure treated, cedar, & redwood still the popular lumber choices? I've heard good things about the composite flooring options out there. Are these becoming the trend if budget allows? Not having to stain every few years would be nice but I don't mind getting out and working on my tan if it's going to break the bank. If you've got any insight or suggestions, I'd sure appreciate any advice you could offer.

Thanks,

stick

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I've sold for a living, and built quite a few decks over the past few summers as side work for freinds & family. Anything from small to big, from square to octagon, treated to composite. here's what i've learned from my experience:

A good rule of thumb for pricing, using a treated frame on all; take your treated decking/railing price, and for cedar times two, for composite times 3. That will get you close without having to get 3 different estimates.

Composite decking has come along way in the past few years, but in my opinion it wouldnt go on my deck. it fades, warps, expands and contracts and after awhile doesnt look very good. It can be very hot in the summer (bare feet).

Treated has the green color, and can be stained to look like cedar, however you will never get a true cedar look from it, and if using it for railing it has a tendancy to dry out and move in funny ways, twist/warp when using as balusters or posts, any peice that isnt screwed or fastened down every so often.

My reccomendation would be to go with cedar decking, and a metal/aluminum railing. The worst and most time consuming part of staining is the railing, doing the deck is easy. By having the metal/aluminum railing you avoid having to stain it, and it stays looking nice and doesnt fade. Stainind the cedar decking once a year or every other with a good stain will keep your deck looking new year after year, and you cant do that with a composite. This isnt the most expensive option, but isnt the cheapest.

S i k k e n s or S u p e r d e c k makes good stain that will last 2 years or so, and the nicest looking/ easy to put together Aluminum railing I have come across is Minnesota Vinyl & Aluminum Systems out of Shakopee,MN. Mathew Hall in St. Cloud is a local dealer.

Hope that helps!

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I chose to install Timber Tech (Tropical Walnut) on the top of treated framing. I used the hidden fastener system, so I do not see any screw on the deck surface. Also the tropical walnut has some really neat color and character to it. It was expensive the first time around, but it should be the last one. All I have to do is wash it off with a hose to get the dust off. It is a dark color, and it is in the sun all day, and I haven't notice much for fading yet either (2 years old). I have a plastic shovel I use to get the snow off in the winter and that has not scratched it at all.

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Green treated for all the frame work and cedar for decking and rails. I have a 20 x 20 foot deck on 16" center and it is going on 14 years. I do stain the decking every year and railings every other year. Power wash it and keep it clean and it will look like new for a very long time.. Hate the Composite decking and have passed on jobs for people who wanted it done. For all the above reasons in crothmeier post.

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make sure you sketch your deck plan and get a permit. I did a tear down and a rebuild and everything was different. Old deck had 4 x 4 and new code was 6x6. Footers only went a couple of feet down and then became like 4 ft with a min 1 ft diameter. Getting a permit will help you know the cost. When I lived in Blaine only one composite was by code and that was Trex. There are a bunch now but in order to get your true cost you will need to know the codes

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Thanks for all the insight fellas. I think it's safe to rule out the composite decking at this point. We'll come up with a design using cedar decking and get a permit pulled. Anyone know how much extra it would be to use arched drop beams and beefed up support posts like in this example?

b166c8dc-f63e-43c8-99c7-049e2a1e226bdeck

952ae178-00fd-462a-8f9e-8c74e66ad60bdeck

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I disagree with you guys on the composite. I have used it on my decks. Its not cheap. But use cedar frame hidden fasten system. Mine have never warped or faded much. I have had green treated and cedar decks that boards have warped twisted and popped loose from "screws". There are many different types out there you do have to watch what you get. The cost is upfront, but if you dont have anything better to do every year two weekends a year go with a cedar deck. Two weekends? 1st go to rental store rent pressure washer, pressure wash, drive back to rental store return unit, and then let deck dry for a week. 2nd cover anything you dont want stain on, go to store buy the best stain money can buy, and spend the rest of the day staining the railing and drinking beer, by the time you get done with railing your to drunk and tired of staining to do the deck part. The next day stain rest of deck with hangover. Cleanup mess and kick back in a lawn chair out in the yard and have a cold while you watch your stain dry, reflect on how much fun you had and guess what YOU GET TO DO IT AGAIN SAME TIME NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!!! Let us know on how your weekends were, Ill post my fishing report from those two weekends. Just food for thought good luck on your project. Whatever you choose hope you enjoy your deck.

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That deck is a beauty. I don't care for the metal railings but other than that, it's pretty sharp. We've got a porch on the front that I had to pressure wash, scrub, & stain so I know all about the process. It takes 2 days. No big deal. I won't rule out the composites yet, but from the way is sounds, we won't be able to afford it anyhow. Save some extra coin for gutters instead. Any thoughts on ballpark price on something like this?

e5298e56-a124-45e1-89dd-04d63731f19cP_S0

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Bak2MN - I dont believe it is code in most areas to use cedar as Structural members, such as beams, joists, ect I would double check on that. . .

Cedar has less of a structural load rating than the fir/pine used for trtd lumber. I've always used treated for framing. Less expensive, stronger, and doestn require staining or painting.

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I had a new deck isntalled last summer and had treated decking. I was told to let it weather for at least a couple of months before staining/sealing it. So this spring I have to do this. Question I have is how to I get the ink stamps off of the wood? I thought that they might just fade over winter but they have not.

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Sand them off. It is good idea to wait to stain treated in order to let it dry out completely. When the wood is treated it is not dried compeltely back out before sending to the consumer, which will not allow the stain to soak in properly or evenly, and in the end will give you blotchy results.

If you sand the ink marks off, let sit for awhile after so you dont get the "new wood - weathered wood" look. it'll show up through your stain.

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I went the cheap route and used all green treat. Then I found a good quality solid color stain. It's more like a paint. I actually like the matched look of the siding versus the orange wood look, but that is just my taste.

It weathered very well and lasted approx 3 or 4 years. I just power washed and restained it again this past year and should be good for another 4.

A little more work, but very reasonable price. I also decided to lay patio blocks down and put a screen porch underneath.

The big box stores provide a lot of tools to help you plan and buy your needed material. I was able to do this project totally by myself. The beams were a little tough hoisting up there on the posts, but I was able to do it without killing myself.

Image001-1.jpg

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If you look closely, I put a product called "Under Deck" below the deck. It moves all the rain to the front where I have a gutter moving it all out to the side.

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If you look closely, I put a product called "Under Deck" below the deck. It moves all the rain to the front where I have a gutter moving it all out to the side.
What knid of material is underdeck? Does it install before deck?can it be installed after deck is in place?

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a little spendy tho!

yeah it is, but the money I saved using the green treat above and not cedar or composite saved me plenty. I also was impressed with the "Screen Tight" product I used for the porch.

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Lots of good info here. We just built place, and planned to do all green treated, but builder highly recommended cedar over treated due to it not warping and twisting as much. I didn't want to have to stain, but would have to regardless of what we used, I came to find out. I liked how it ended up, and it will be the only maintenance I have to do, so it won't be that bad I guess...

DTRO, can you share any more info about the screen product and any info about putting it up? I like your screened in area, and we want to do that eventually.

Here is ours - it was finished after it got too cold to stain/seal, so I will do that first thing this spring. Ours is 24x12, with 12x12 being under the gable roof "porch". We plan to screen that area in and leave the other 12x12 open to sun, etc. I plan to use that product sticknstring/Dtro mentioned for at least under the covered porch. I am just wondering how it would hold up on the open side, in winter with melt runoff coming from the roof and through the deck to the rain catcher.

I also plan to use as clear a stain as I can get, and S i k k e ns is what I have been recommended by many people. I wish I could just leave it smile but I know that is not possible. Here is my deck:

aIMG_0259_resized.jpg

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The screen product is called screen tight. Like other things you pay a bit more for it, but it makes it so easy to install. Basically you screw PVC srips to each support, roll screen over and introduce rubber spline into PVC strips to tighten and secure. The you pound a PVC cap over the strips. Super easy. I have had very little stretching over about 5 years.

I didn't need to, but I added cross supports to keep the screen tighter and also as a drink holder. smile

Here's a picture from the inside. The hardest part of the whole project was excavating the 20x12 area for the pavers. That a lot more dirt than it appears.

screenporch2.jpg

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