Wooden Deck Installation & Repairs
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Probably the most difficult decision to make when building a deck is what type of decking to use. All three choices—5/4 x 6-in. radius-edged cedar, pressure-treated and composite decking—share similarities. They’re all rot resistant to varying degrees, require 16-in. joist spacing for proper support, bleach out to a silvery gray, and can all be cut and installed using conventional tools and fasteners.
If the natural look of wood is tops on your list, use cedar. The heartwood of the tree (the deeper colored red part, not the white sap part) is rot resistant. Cedar doesn’t readily absorb moisture— and, since moisture is what creates twisting and splitting, cedar decking tends to lie flat and straight
If economy and longevity are your bag, go with pressure-treated wood. It’s stain-able, hard enough to resist abuse, and many brands carry a lifetime (though limited) warranty. But beware, not all treated woods are created equal.
If near-zero maintenance is your goal, buy composite decking. Most is made from recycled plastic and wood chips or sawdust. It’s more expensive than cedar, but once it’s down, it won’t rot, splinter or twist.