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Know What Decking Materials You Need Before You Start Your DIY Project

By Monte Boddecker Subscribe to RSS | March 30th 2012 | Views:

For a successful deck project, it is essential to have all the right materials, tools and equipment available. Whether you are using published plans or have designed the deck yourself, make a list of everything you need, down to the smallest screw, then purchase, borrow or rent every item on the list. For a deck, the most important decision to make is your choice of decking materials.

Several types of deck material are popular with do-it-yourself deck builders. These include both natural and man-made products that provide a range in both cost and appearance.

Pressure-treated lumber is generally the least expensive decking, and it’s readily available throughout the U.S. In treating the wood, chemicals that do not endanger humans or pets are applied under pressure to protect the lumber from insects, rot and fungi. Pressure-treated lumber is easy for DIYers to cut and fasten with nails or screws.

Native redwood and red cedar are also popular choices for decking. These natural woods provide chemical-free lumber that is resistant to rot and insects. Look for grades that are composed of primarily heartwood, the interior wood of the tree, for greater resistance. Redwood and cedar may be up to three times as expensive as pressure-treated lumber, depending on where you live.

Man-made deck materials include composites, which are made from wood fibers and recycled plastics, and plastic lumber, which may include both recycled and new plastics. These low-maintenance products can be cut and installed by a do-it-yourselfer using ordinary construction tools. However, they do not provide the strength required for joists and other supports.

Tropical hardwoods also provide excellent decking. However, these beautiful but extremely hard and dense woods are difficult to cut and drill, making them a less successful choice for a do-it-yourself project.

After you have decided on the types of deck material you are going to use when constructing your deck, you will also need to purchase the joists and posts that support the deck. In most cases, you can use the same type of lumber you have chosen for the decking. Follow your plan’s instructions, consult your local building codes, or get advice from an experienced deck builder if you aren’t sure what you need.

Make sure you purchase appropriate materials for railings and stairways as well.

The various types of decking material may have different requirements for the hardware you will need for your project. Bolts, screws and nails all need to be compatible with the decking material. Your choice in decking materials influences every other decision you make for your deck project.

Monte Boddecker - About Author:
Montes Boddecker found a great place to get building materials in Winchester for all his projects, large or small. With Winchester, Fredericksburg, Chantilly construction supplies and more locations, ProBuild has the materials you need to get the job done right.

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