You may have come across terms like hardness and tensile strength while researching your deck options. These refer to the durability, which is an important factor for any deck regardless of size and features. Better durability often means it’s a better investment that will deliver a higher return and more enjoyment.
In this post we’re exploring the numerous factors that can affect the durability of different decking materials.
What Makes a Deck Wood Durable?
This is a common question homeowners have when they begin to consider their deck options. Durability is simply a matter of how tough the wood is – in other words, how it stands up to the elements and human abuse.
Think of hardness like a test for how much force a wood can withstand without giving way. The Janka hardness scale looks at the amount of force (in pounds) that it takes to dent and scratch up wood. Grain direction and thickness are two of the top factors that can affect the hardness measurement.
Because decks are outdoors rot resistance is critical. No material is going to last long outdoors if it can’t hold up to moisture and a lot of sunlight. Rot is one of the main causes of structural problems. It can soften and weaken boards, joints and posts to the point that it’s a serious safety hazard.
Insect resistance is almost as big a factor as rot resistance. Wood boring insects can quickly weaken structures and if left untreated can completely destroy a deck. Some woods are naturally more resistant than others, for example because of the density of hardwoods burrowing is more difficult.
The part of the tree the wood comes from can also factor into how durable a type of wood decking is. For softwood decking options like Cedar and Redwood the higher-grade heartwood will offer significantly more durability because of its rot and insect resistance.
How Composite Wood Decking Comes Into Play
For the last few decades, homeowners have had another durable deck material at their disposal. Composite decking is a man-made material that’s known for its longevity and durability. A combination of plastic (sometimes a recycled variety) and wood fiber is used to create decking that’s much more rot resistant and insect resistant than most woods. It’s also got an impressive longevity at 30 or more years.
The Build Quality of the Deck
No matter what kind of material you use, if the deck isn’t built well it’s not going to give you the durability you expect. Improper construction is a quick way to decrease the durability and create premature wear.
The quality of the construction includes the design as well. Many structures, including decks, are replaced before the end of their lifespan simply because of the aesthetics or usability is less than desirable. You or your contractor should carefully consider how the design possibilities of a certain wood will hold up over time before deciding which material to use.
Maintenance and Upkeep
Some materials need more maintenance than others to keep their integrity intact. Just like poor construction quality, the durability of any material can suffer if it’s not maintained. Composites and hardwoods tend to need less maintenance than softwoods, of course that could bust the budget. Even if you opt for a softwood quarterly and annual care should keep your deck going strong for decades.
Learn About Durable Railing and Building a Strong Business at the Timbertown Austin & Fortress Railing Products Lunch-n-Learn Event
Timbertown Austin and Fortress Railing Products have teamed up to host an informative lunch-n-learn event on Friday, June 20th at Timbertown Austin’s Pflugerville location. The seminar will give deck builders and remodelers the chance to learn about the durable and versatile deck railing options from Fortress Railing Products and take part in the Creating Separation Presentation hosted by Bobby Parks with Peachtree Decks & Porches.
Mr. Park’s has a proven track record in building a business in the construction industry and he’s sharing his insight with professionals that are ready for growth. The presentation will provide insight on ways to create layers of separation and differentiate yourself from other contractors, and it touches on the key elements and simple approaches that work to impact a contractor’s business in a positive way.
It’s guaranteed to be fun and informative, and a delicious lunch will be whipped up by Chef Chano!
Need help deciding which deck material offers you the durability you need at a price that won’t cripple your budget? Give Timbertown Austin a call! Our decking experts are always happy to provide advice on deck material selection.
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_plastic_composite