Friday, March 22nd 2019

Wooden outdoor decks give added value to adjacent buildings!

The word deck originated with ship building, where the ship’s deck forms a floor, covering compartments below the deck. This concept has evolved over time to also mean a flat wooden area attached to a building. Outdoor wooden decks may or may not have an attached partial-roof, but they are almost always elevated off the ground by at least 18 inches.
Wooden outdoor decks may attach to a house, covering steep, rocky areas that would otherwise be unusable. Wooden decks can also be used on commercial buildings, for public outdoor gardens and dining venues. Decking is also used as a boardwalk over sandy beaches for walking and fishing.In the 1900s, decking was made from soft woods like Atlantic White Cedar, Western Red Cedar and Redwood. As the cedar and redwood forests began to decline because of over-logging in the 1960s, pressure treated pine was used for the first time on outdoor decks. Unfortunately, even treated pine is too soft to withstand the hard use of an outdoor deck. Also, many of the chemicals used to treat pine, such as strychnine, are toxic to humans.The search for durable decking materials expanded into tropical forests, creating a demand for teak and mahogany. As beautiful as these woods are, they have become scarce and they are now illegal to import into many countries around the world. Composite wood decking has become popular recently. Made from wood pulp mixed with recycled plastic bottles and plastic bags, composite decking still emits toxic fumes and it attracts mold.

Fortunately, the most viable answer on the horizon seems to be renewable, plentiful bamboo. Bamboo is durable and waterproof with mold repellant properties. It is as hard as traditional hardwoods and it can be used as needed without depleting natural forests. Best of all, bamboo renews itself every five years. The more it is used commercially, the less it will cost individual homeowners over time.

Deck care is essential for the long-term enjoyment of outdoor wood decks. Appropriate care, in the form of good stains and sealers, can prolong the life of the deck almost indefinitely, protecting it from cracks, raised grains, decay and mold. Because every type of wood has its own care needs, it is important to discuss individual deck care with an outdoor deck professional. With minimal care, a wooden deck can add valuable outdoor living space to its adjacent building.

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