Are you building or replacing a deck this spring?
Do you find yourself asking the following questions:
Is a deck the right hardscape choice for me?
What material should I use for my deck? Wood, composite, or something else?
Which decks are easiest to clean and maintain?
Sparkleyard Outdoor Maids has the answers.
First, when choosing a hardscape surface it is important to consider how it will be used, how much traffic is expected, the flora and fauna above and around the area, and proximity to a pool or other water feature. Along with decks, other hardscape choices to consider include stone, brick and concrete.
Today, we're talking about decks, what to look for when choosing the right material for your home, and the proper steps for deck cleaning and how to maintain your brand new (or gently used!) deck. In the future, we will blog about the other options, pinky swear!
A deck is an outdoor platform made of planks of wood or wood-like materials. Generally a small gap is present between the individual planks on a deck built for home use.
Decks of various materials such as wood, PVC, and other composites are built using essentially the same construction methods, but with slight modification depending on materials. Each material has its own pros and cons which we will cover below.
Planning Your Deck
When planning size, make sure to account for outdoor furniture, pets, children, and weather conditions. In Los Angeles it is common to find umbrellas and heating lamps on decks, as well as coverings both above the deck (awnings) and on the deck surface (outdoor rugs.)
Other factors such as if you have a dog or other pets, what type of plants will be near the deck (especially above, sap always drips down), and proximity to a pool or other water feature determine which material is best for you.
There are three major material categories for decks: Wood, PVC, and Composite. Installation methods are similar, and it is always advised to hire a professional, so deciding on a material is the most important decision, both aesthetically and performance wise.
Wood decks are the most common, and prices including installation vary, often expressed in price per square foot ($/sq. ft.). Wood decks can be stained and painted in many ways, offering a unique look to complement your outdoor furniture. Lowe's has a particularly good selection of stains.
Pros: a warm, natural look; mid-range cost; classic feel matches many landscaping and decorating styles
Cons: ongoing expense and hassle of staining, painting and oiling; oil has a smell which some people find unpleasant; wood can rot if not properly maintained; natural stains like sap and animal droppings can be difficult to remove.
The type of wood used in your deck changes the cost, and includes:
Pressure treated lumber, Firs ($15-$25/sq. ft)
Cedar and redwood ($25+/sq. ft.)
Teak ($30+/sq. ft.).
Hardwoods are beautiful, expensive and can be high-maintenance if you want them to keep their brown coloring (see photo), though many people choose to let their teak or ipe deck weather naturally to a silver grey finish for a more casual effect. Water that is left on these woods will leave marks as it dries, so it's generally not the best choice by a pool.
Sparkleyard Outdoor Maids cleans hardwood decks by applying a biodegradable cleaner, lightly scrubbing, and rinsing clean. The deck is then squeegeed to remove as much water as possible, and hand dried for the best finish.
PVC (Poly-vinyl Chloride)
PVC decks are composed of plastic materials with no organic content that is resistant to wear and rot. PVC tends to be white, but color variations have become popular since the mid-2000s. PVC doesn't require staining or sealing and isn't affected by rot the same way wood decks are, but can get hotter to the touch in direct sunlight.
Pros: Cheaper per sq. ft. than wood and composite; easy cleaning; rot and insect resistant
Cons: not as customizable as other materials; inferior quality to wood and composite decking
In conclusion: PVC decks are the budget choice, cost the least per sq. ft. compared to wood and composite decks, but can fade over time and are poor temperature regulators.
Sparkleyard Outdoor Maids cleans PVC decks, patios, railings, and other furniture and by applying a biodegradable cleaner, scrubbing lightly with a bristle brush, and pressure wash or hose rinse clean. (We have other products available if there is discoloration from paint, oil, or moss). The deck is squeegeed and hand dried with towels.
Composite decks combine the best of both wood and PVC using recycled materials, but cost more than either of the other two per sq. ft. Composite decks are easy to clean, low maintenance, and incredibly sturdy. Leading brand names include Trex, TimberTech, CorrectDeck, and Veranda.
Pros: High Quality materials look like wood, but clean like PVC; sustainable solution using recycled materials.
Cons: More expensive ($30-45/sq. ft.); must be cleaned by hand, never pressure wash a composite deck, results will be uneven and your warranty will be voided!
In conclusion composite decks are the easiest to maintain, combine the best of both wood and PVC decks, but cost more per square foot.
Sparkleyard Outdoor Maids cleans composite decks by applying a biodegradable cleaner, scrubbing lightly with a bristled brush, and gently rinsing clean.. The deck is squeegeed and hand dried with towels.
Now that your deck is done, why not do some grilling?
Sparkleyard Outdoor Maids offers deck cleaning services in Los Angeles for all the types of decks mentioned here.
Please contact us today to learn how we can help you!