Adding a deck or screened porch to your yard is a wise decision. This investment will increase the value of your home and provide the ideal spot for casual outdoor living only steps away. The very best Northern Virginia deck designs are low maintenance and highly functional, allowing you to relax and enjoy the yard all season long. Composite decking is touted as the ultimate in low maintenance products, but is it right for your home?
Ask yourself a few questions to find out.
How Much Work Am I Willing To Do?
Wood decks are still the most popular and can be built in nearly any design. Treated lumber lasts for decades without the need for staining and cedar has a natural resistance to rot and pests that makes it a great choice. So why not build a wood deck in your yard?
No matter what grade of lumber is installed, exposure to the sun, wind and rain will take its toll. Wood will split, crack and twist over time. It also presents the risk of splinters to bare feet and on railings and banisters. Staining your wood deck helps to protect the lumber and cuts down on the effects of weathering, as well as adding to the overall appearance of the surface.
You will usually need to stain the deck board surface every two years and can go as long as five years between applications on the railing and skirting. Are you willing to put in that amount of work? Your Virginia deck will need to be thoroughly washed down beforehand and stained or painted with a high quality product. It’s a weekend job at the very least and can stretch longer depending on the size of your deck.
Composite decking never needs to be stained, although it should still be washed once a year. The makeup of the product makes it virtually impervious to weathering (you can expect the color to fade over time) and composite products will not splinter, swell, crack or twist. If you dread the thought of staining but want to maintain a smooth, beautiful deck and railing surface, composite may be the only way to go.
How Much Am I Willing To Spend?
As you might expect, composite decking is more expensive that traditional wood decking. This specialty product provides a lifetime of low maintenance performance and has the price tag to reflect that longevity. It can be as much as twice the price of treated lumber, depending on the design and composite product chosen.
Remember that the framing of a composite deck is still done in wood, so the only upgraded costs will be deck boards, railing, stairs, skirting (the finish between the deck and your grass) and fascia (the trim around the edges of the deck frame). Basically any surfaces that you can see from the deck surface should be finished in composite. Posts, beams, joists and stair framing are all done in traditional lumber.
Investing in a composite product for your Northern Virginia deck is a good choice for those who want a low maintenance surface with dependable good looks. Think of the increased cost as an investment in your home and your time – less maintenance means more time to relax and enjoy the backyard.