top of page

What Decking?

The biggest decision to make when building a new deck is what decking material to use. There are many different materials made by many different manufactures. I have used and installed many and have developed an opinion on them. I have even been accredited as a certified installer for a few different brands. So here it goes my thoughts and opinions on the many types of decking available in western Canada today.

-Pressure Treated, the most economical, the least expensive decking you can put down, beside straight untreated spruce. It comes in green or brown now. It requires maintenance within the first three years and every 2-3 years after that. It is soft and medium to large dogs will scratch it up. When it comes to trimming and the over all fit and finish of pressure treated wood, it looks great while its new(wet/moisture content is high). Pressure treated wood dries out and shrinks, a lot, when i build a pressure treated deck i run the boards tight to each other. once dry sometimes you end up with a 1/4" gap.

- Cedar, red or yellow, smells good, especially when cutting 4x4's for railing. Cedar is beautiful, soft, and dry, meaning it fit and finishes well. Miters stay tight, trim holds true. Not a whole lot more than pressure treated. Requires maintenance every 2-3 years. Messmers is an amazing product to use I've gotten 4 years out of a deck surface before it needed to be re oiled. Cedar is soft though, and big dogs are hard on its surface. It scratches really easy.

- Douglas Fir, Very nice hard softwood. This stuff hold onto fasteners like crazy, its grain structure shrinks and if you've ever tried to pull a nail out of a stud in a older house you know what I mean. It takes oil and coatings well, I like Australian timber oil and Sansin. I've built many fir decks and the most important thing I have gathered when coating a deck surface is make sure its clean and dry, fir seems to harden up in the sun and if its dirty your coating will flake off, this is annoying because then you have to sand. You want a product on your deck that fades and re coats easily. Fir finishes nice, but has a tendency to warp depending on sawmill that cut lumber. Fir is strong and is my preferred framing material.

- Topical Hardwoods, ****BEAUTIFUL, DEEP RED MAHOGANY, this material is one of my favorites and combines beautifully with anything. It is hard, straight and beautiful. Should be considered for every project! It can even be maintenance free, if you choose not to oil it, it turns to have a silver patina. This is the only wood the City of Calgary uses in its outdoor projects because of how arduous it is. This decking product is awesome!

- Trex, the best composite capstock decking you can buy. If your into the Trex/plastic look, Trex is the best. There are many but Trex outperforms and lasts and doesn't crack. Its a composite so its heavy compared to Straight PVC decks. Trex is good 3 sides, and has a off color core, so learning how to work with it to finish a deck properly is tricky. A huge stepping stone to finishing Trex is "Cortex". The biggest downside to Trex is the expansion and contraction of a Vinyl based material, in Alberta we can go from -40 to +40. This decking grows and shrinks so much so that when i was building custom stairs one day, i cut all my treads in the morning and they didn't fit after sitting in the sun. The other downside "TREX IS SLIPPERY" especially with frost on it. And its expensive but so are all the maintenance free decking products. They offer several different level of Trex so you can save some bucks by going with Trex select over Trex's Premium lineup. Also........ It looks like plastic. You cant use spray bug spray or sunscreen on it. Miters have gaps. Hot on feet in sun.

-Dura Deck/ Vinyl, they have their place. I do not install them. If your doing a Dura Deck, Armor deck, Vinyl Sheet deck. Grade your framing properly and use thick plywood. I have repaired many, and 1/2" plywood is not enough. Make sure you get your railing post done properly, even better attach your railing to Facia. And if you have posts supporting your roof, never fall behind on the caulking around them, especially if they where not flashed with vinyl properly. Also don't use a metal bladed snow shovel.

-PVC, Fiberon is the best, then AZEK. Its plastic. Many brands crack...... Slippery when wet or frosty or icy. Cortex and Camo work good with PVC for fasteners. it is plastic and looks like plastic. Finishing a deck it tricky and time consuming because of the off color core, some brands are good 4 sides. Hot on feet in sun and no bug spray or sunscreen, it eats the surface if it comes in a metal can.

-Aluminum, never built one but want to, aluminum decks are a interesting product. I would imagine very hot on the feet in the sun. They are cool because they can be waterproof, meaning if you have a walk out basement with a deck above you can use Aluminum interlock decking to water proof below, instead of Trex Rain Escapes. Cool colors and Textures. I would like to see how long the colors/coatings last.

-Stone, Porcelain, combine Porcelain 24"x48" tiles with hardwood and concrete and this will be one of the most beautiful decks. It is anti slip even when frosty, it doesn't look like plastic, its rich and has great character. It is one of my favorite decking products and I hope to use a lot of it. It takes a lot of skill to plan and layout and cut and handle. Many styles and sizes. In my opinion one of the best deck surfaces going. Very beautiful, rich, tough, strong, anti slip decks.

The best deck is a combination of materials, Stone Decking, Aluminum or Glass Railing, Hardwood accents, and concrete counter tops.

7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Partially Guided or directed creativity

I've never been the contractor who likes a duplicate another builders work. I enjoy being creative. I can be guided by pictures and drawings of what what a client of mine desires but to be truthful

Maybe you don't need a big deck

Maybe you do. Optimizing your outdoor space is important. Having one large deck hosting an abundance of square feet can feel large, but after considering the amount of unused space, maybe a bunch of

Don't wait till you want things built to call!!

Scheduling is important. When I first started my business I heard two established reputable contractors talking over the contracting desk at a local supplier. They were talking about people always w


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page