Hines Building Supply

Building A Deck? Think Beyond Wood

May 10, 2017

Imagine spending a cool summer night out on the back deck with family and friends. Sharing memories and laughter over a bottle of wine or a cold beer. Or maybe it’s early afternoon, just before the big game starts, and you’re working the grill. Whatever your intentions for building a deck, we want to help you construct it the best possible way.

When building decks, people often construct wooden decks. Wood is sustainable and has a natural, timeless beauty to it and since it has been around since building began, it is the default option for decking in most people’s minds. But here, we’ll explain why you should think beyond wood. At Hines Supply, we specialize in building supply materials, so we’ll tell you exactly what you need to know to build a quality deck that will stand the test of time.

The most common alternative to natural wood is composite decking. Unlike natural wood, which can split, crack, or change color and requires frequent maintenance, composite decking is weather and stain and termite resistant and won’t splinter or rot. It generally lasts longer than natural wood, as well. So what is composite decking, exactly? Composite decking is a lumber alternative made from recycled plastic and recycled wood fiber. As the fastest growing alternative for wood decks on the market, there are several composite decking options available.

Two of the most popular brands of composite decking are Trex and TimberTech decking are made from 95% recycled materials. The newer generation, high-performance composite decking options are an improvement over previous generations and feature “shell technology”. The shell wraps around the composite board to create what is known as ‘capped’ decking. This shell, or cap helps protect it from the elements and prevent fading, staining, scratching, and mold. Both Trex and TimberTech include a 25-year limited residential warranty to protect your investment and Timbertech actually extends their limited warranty to 30 years for fading and staining.

Speaking of investment, the downside of composite decking is that it is more expensive upfront than natural wood. However, due to lower maintenance costs over time and the longevity of the material, composites end up being a great value in the long run.

Another option beyond composite decking is PVC decking. Azek, who are the makers of TimberTech, make a great PVC decking product that can be quickly and easily installed and, like composites, does not require annual sealing or staining. Another advantage of Azek is that it leads the industry with its warranty, offering a 30-year limited residential warranty that covers termite and rot damage, fading and staining, and material defects. Cellular PVC products are recyclable after their useful life, however, they are made mostly from virgin (un-recycled) plastic. PVC is superior in terms of scratch resistance, as well as mold and mildew resistance, but one issue to be aware of is that it can be more slippery than composites and wood and in the sun it can get hot underfoot, particularly in darker colors.

Once you’ve selected your decking materials, you may think you’re all set. But not just yet. You still need to select a type of railing. You’ll want to opt for something that complements the overall style of your home. In addition to composite decking, there are also composite railing options available. However, you do not need to choose the same, or even a similar material for your railings that you used on your deck and, like your decking material, there are many different options. Using a different building material for your railing can work well to give your deck a contrasting look.

Glass is a good choice of material if you want something that will give you an unobstructed view. InvisiRail offers clear, frosted, or etched glass options that come in 20 different panel sizes. If you’re looking for something more traditional, however, opting for a different color choice will provide a contrasting look as well. Consider a white vinyl railing, for instance. Vinyl railings are low maintenance and offer cost-effective options.

Metal railings such as wrought iron or aluminum are also excellent options. Aluminum railings are weather-resistant and low maintenance. Aluminum is also generally less expensive than other types of metal, but doesn’t offer the timeless look of wrought iron that some people covet. Both are very strong and durable and come in a variety of styles, which leads us into our next point.

Once you’ve selected the type of material you want to use for your railing, you’ll need to consider what style of railing will work best for your home. When choosing a railing style, you should think of your deck as an extension of your home. Think about the architectural design of your house and what would best complement that style. TimberTech’s RadianceRail comes in six different colors, offers an array of materials, and has customizable options so you can choose the style best suited to you.

Are you ready to start building your deck? Have an idea of where to start or still trying to figure it out? At Hines Supply, building materials are our specialty. We’ll help you decide what works best for your home. Summer’s right around the corner and we want you to spend it relaxing on your new deck. From start to finish, we’ll help you get all the materials you need so you can spend your summer grilling on your deck and talking about the big game.