The Cost of Owning a Wood Deck

Ethan Hagan from One Project Closer discusses the benefits of composite decking and how homeowners can get more enjoyment from low-maintenance outdoor living spaces.

Homeowners dream of a deck that they can use to relax and entertain, but they often don't consider the cost of ownership. Wood decks require regular maintenance including weatherproofing, stripping and cleaning. Even so, wood decks are prone to fading, splintering and warping. Composite decks carry a higher initial cost but provide tremendous inherent value. With a composite deck, you'll never have to stain, sand or strip the boards. You eliminate the need for caustic chemicals or expensive maintenance programs. In short, your deck requires less work and lasts longer.

Fred's pine deck

Fred is a homeowner like many of you. He made his dream a reality when he had a 60' deck installed along the length of his house. What he didn't account for was the time and expense to maintain his deck. In two years, he's spent approximately $850 dollars and over 50 man-hours trying to keep his deck looking like new. But even after stripping, cleaning, brightening and applying weatherproofer, Fred's deck was difficult to maintain. Many homeowners do not realize the commitment that a wood deck requires. Regular maintenance is laborious and time-consuming, but it's important to protect your deck from the elements and foot traffic.

Considering that Fred's pine deck turned orange after applying a premium weatherproofer and that he choose to strip the deck less than two years later, it's obvious he did not have a good experience. Click here to read his full Premium Deck Weatherproofer Review.


Composite Decking Demystified

Benefits of Composite

I attended a talk by Bobby Parks at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) conference. The talk was titled, Make Your Customers Happy by Charging More and the crux of the talk was that installers should only use the highest quality materials because customers are happier with the results in the long run. Bobby revealed that he is a big proponent of composite decking, specifically capstocks. He really values the low-maintenance and durability. During the Q & A portion of his talk, many contractors shared that they require the purchase of a maintenance program with every wood deck they install. The reason being, they want to protect their reputation because word-of-mouth referrals are vital to their business.

After Fred's experience with a wood deck he states that "our next deck is definitely going to be composite". Homeowners quickly tire of sealing their decks with products that just don't stack up to the foot traffic and abuse from mother nature. Like Fred, wood decks convince many homeowners that composite decking is the better choice. For an idea of the minimal upkeep composite decking requires, check out Fiberon's Top 10 Composite Decking Care and Maintenance Tips. I'll take that over a wood deck any day.

Read more from Ethan at One Project Closer here!


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