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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    11

    Default Building a new deck

    I am about to build my 1st deck. A simple 8' wide x 20' long attached to the solid cement foundation of the house. I have read all the articles, watched all the videos. But one lagging question remains...pressure treated lumber vs regular pine. I noticed some of the articles and instructions are sponsored by treated lumber companies and of course they recommend all PT lumber.

    My lumber supplier and building inspector say why use PT except for any lumber that is within 6 inches of the ground. The majority of my deck will be 24" above ground with the exception of 4 support posts which will sit on cement.

    The deck is in the mountains of So. California, extremly dry climate, snow is mild. Any suggestions, do I really need PT lumber on the beams, joists, ect or just the posts and stair stringers that in close proximity to ground?
    Last edited by Planeman; 07-30-2011 at 10:52 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: Building a new deck

    technically all lumber within 16" of grade has to be pressure treated. the framing material should most definitely be pressure treated as this is the backbone to your exterior living space. the if wood stays at a higher moisture content than 19% for more than 2 weeks it begins to rot.

    if you want to skip pt lumber do it with the decking, this can be coated with linseed oil to give it some weather resistance. i have built decks this way where the homeowner had small children that would be on the deck, they didnt want their children in contact with the chemicals

    whats your reasoning for not using pt, is it cost or avoiding the chemicals that go into ACQ
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,180

    Default Re: Building a new deck

    Completely true! Just use redwood for the whole thing! As long as it's not ground-contact. Ipe is also very satisfactory for decking.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Building a new deck

    Cost is the main driver. I had specified all PT lumber in my bill of material to the lumber yard. The estimator at the yard is the one who suggested standard lumber, primed and painted as opposed to PT which is about twice the cost. I am using a composite material for the decking and railing, so no natural wood will above the framing anyway.

    I was just wondering what the general guidlines were by those who build decks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: Building a new deck

    pressure treated for the framing is the cheapest, if you go with redwood, cedar or any other naturally rot resistant wood your looking at double the cost of pt.

    now with the decking, its just about double for cedar. however your thinking about composite, thats pretty much all i have done for the last 2 1/2 years and its 3x the cost, throw in the additional cost of color matched stainless steel screws and your looking at a big chunk of change. also with composite there are different types, some are solid but some are hollow which will require trim caps on the ends of exposed boards at teh end of the deck which is more money... composite decking also requires more attention to detail when it comes time to install it, it has to be gapped a specific amount to allow it to expand in the summer months
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,598

    Default Re: Building a new deck

    In my opinion use PT for the framing and REDWOOD for the top deck and railings.

    I would avoid using composite.

    You might find lower lumber prices at Lowes or HD for choice lumber. Lumber yards are more expensive in most cases.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Building a new deck

    Thanks for the information. I was looking at composite, Trex or Azek based on the long term maintenance. This is a weekend cabin and I didn't want to worry about it after install. I found a great price on some leftover Trex on Craigslist, more than I need, half the retail price.

    I just see a lot of redwood decks in the area and they really look like crap after a few years. Everybody loves them when new, but nobody is willing to keep them up and do the required regular sanding and finishing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: Building a new deck

    be wary of trex decking, they have been having issues with it for staining problems. if this is for a cabin theres a good chance you will have a fair amount of leaves and such falling on it and sitting. this can stain the deck quite easily if its left for some time. this has been well documented. so you may want to rethink it
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: Building a new deck

    At our old house the previous owners had installed a composite decking. It was a tongue and grooze type, so no gaps between boards. It had poor drainage (minimal gaps between boards, which wasn't helped by inadequate footers for the deck supports)

    But worst of all the composte always has a dirty look to it. I think it tended ot attract mildew. My wife had it pressure washed once before I moved in with her, and 2 years later it looked dingy again. The only positive I could say is no splinters. But defnitely not worth 3X the price.

    We tore it out (it was <10 years old) and replaced it with a poured concrete slab.
    1925 Two-Story Stucco Beaux Arts Neoclassical

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    64

    Thumbs up Re: Building a new deck

    Just a suggestion - if you ever get tired of concrete look or if it get stains etc... you can put a layer of thin interlock brick right on top - looks great and doesn't require any preparation just glue the border row down not the incide ones.

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