Wood Deck Build and Repair

Wood or timber "decking" can be used in a number of ways - as part of garden landscaping, to extend living areas of houses, and as an alternative to stone based features such as patios. Swann General Contracting has extensive experience building and repairing decks.

Decks are made from treated lumber, composite lumber, composite material, Aluminum, Western red cedar, teak, mahogany, ipê and other hardwoods and recycled planks made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polystyrene (PS) and PET plastic as well as mixed plastics and wood fiber (often called "composite" lumber). Artificial decking products are often called "wood-plastic composites". These days, WPC's have more widely known by different brand like Trex, Azek,Ecornboard etc.

Historically, the softwoods used for decking were logged from old growth forests. These include Atlantic white cedar, redwood and Western red cedar (redcedar). Atlantic City built the first coastal boardwalk in the United States, originally constructed of Atlantic white cedar. However, it was not long before the commercial logging of this tree and clearing of cedar swamps in New Jersey caused a decline in the availability of decking. Atlantic City and New York City both switched to Western red cedar. By the 1960s, Western red cedar from the US was declining due to over-logging. More expensive Western red cedar was available from western Canada (British Columbia) but by then, pressure treated pine had become available.

But even with chemical treatments (such as chromated copper arsenate or CCA), pine decking is not as durable as cedars in an outdoor environment. Thus, many municipalities and homeowners are turning to hardwoods. Decks are often built from pressure treated wood. Pressure treated wood is long lasting and holds up to wet and icey weather conditions. Pressure treated wood however is treated with chemicals which have been known to be toxic. Slivers received from pressure treated wood most generally become infected. Pressure treated saw dust also contains toxins such as strychnine, also often used as rat poison. These toxins, when inhaled, can require hospitalization for both acute and chronic exposures.

Generally, hardwoods used for decking come from tropical forests. Much of the logging taking place to produce these woods, especially teak, mahogany and ipê, is occurring illegally, as outlined in numerous reports by environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Rainforest Relief.[1][2][3] US tropical wood imports are rising, partly due to the demand for decking.

Due to environmental concerns, composite decking (a mixture of two materials, typically wood pulp and recycled material such as plastic bottles or plastic bags) have appeared on the market. Proponents of composite decking have touted this as a much needed development as this helps to curb logging of trees for new decks. However composite decking has been found to contain harmful chemicals, cannot be refurbished, and despite claims from decking companies, the composite deck still attracts molding.

Residential decks may contain spaces for BBQing, dining and seating. BBQ areas ideally should be situated near the patio door while out of the way from general foot traffic. Dining spaces will include patio tables, for a typical 6 person outdoor patio table building an area of 12' x 16' is ideal. If deck space permits including a seating area for outdoor couches and benches makes a great addition to any deck.