MOUNDSVILLE - The number of composite products available for use in the construction of outdoor decks is increasing, according to Mike Wilson, manager at 84 Lumber Co. in Moundsville.
"Last year, the composite products were becoming more popular. This year there are more colors, more variety and a wider price range to choose from," he said. "People want maintenance-free houses now. They don't want to be bothered with painting or staining. People want to enjoy their free time."
He added, "The new deck products are low maintenance. The cost may be higher up front, but manufacturers stress people will get their money back over the long term because they don't have the upkeep."
Photo by Art Limann
Mike Wilson, manager at 84 Lumber Co. in Moundsville, displays a sample of new products that are becoming more popular with deck builders because of their realistic look and durability.
Composite products offer additional strength that resist scratches and are safe from splinters. Some are antibacterial, and resist mold mildew and grease stains. They are also easier to maintain and clean.
In addition to a wide variety of colors, they also come in woodgrain finishes, and textures that don't wear out.
Wilson noted new decks can be customized on a computer in 24 hours. This is a free service offered by 84 Lumber and other companies.
Options abound for homeowners wanting to expand living area or add a deck to their home. Shape, size and materials all can be customized. Attached, free standing and multi-level deck packages are also available.
He suggests before starting, deck builders should check for underground cables by calling Miss Utility at 811. He also recommends anyone wanting to build a deck should have a design plan in mind then check local zoning codes and restrictions to see if it meets local standards and get needed permits.
"Folks should take measurements and talk to building inspectors to see what's required," he said. "For example, how deep do post holes need to be dug to get past frost lines?"
In the local area, the frost line is typically 36 inches.
According to Wilson, the possibilities with building a new deck are limitless. They range from on-ground styles, like patios with no rails, to multi-level decks with a wide variety of rails. They can be straight, diagonal or herringbone.
Lower cost pressure-treated lumber products, for decks, are still available as well. They can be used in contact with the ground, and water, without rotting or decaying like non-treated lumber. They also are resistant to wood eating organisms and inhibit water absorption, which minimizes warping, twisting and cracking. Some also come with lifetime limited warranties against termites and fungal decay for most residential applications.
The surface of pressure-treated wood does, however, need to be protected from the effects of sun and weather.
"These are more environmentally friendly now than they have been in the past," Wilson said.
A clear sealer or water repellent should be applied to all exposed wood to help prevent cracking. "These can be applied with a garden sprayer," he explained.
'Old decks should be cleaned annually to help keep a good appearance. Water-based and oil based stain can also be used on treated lumber to retard drying."