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Over the past thirty years we have been focusing our sights on stronger, longer lasting and more durable deck products. Although we still construct a full line of products made with real woods such as Redwood, Cedar and hardwoods. Our clients are finding themselves with less free time on the weekends and too many obligations with the time they do have to be spending their discretionary time sealing and staining the outdoor living space; they increasingly request products that require much less time and maintenance with greater durability.

Many new composite materials, solid plastics, vinyl coverings and even fiberglass products have recently flooded the market and have some very lofty promises to limit or even eliminate the normal maintenance problems. It has been our experience that a cap-stock mixed composite material can provide the longevity, durability and can limit the maintenance, while staying in a reasonables cost range. More expensive PVC coated composites can offer stain, fade and mold resistance that makes life easy and your deck will look much more beautiful with multiple coloration.

Allow us to share the positive and negative aspects from our perspective of the most popular choices in today's retail decking and railing markets.

TimberTech, EverGrain, Trex and Fiberon materials top the list.

These companies offer multiple levels of materials in a wide variety of colors and textures. They will differ in quality, shape, color, density and longevity, and although each product has it's own limitations, each one of these products does have an optimal application. Allow one of our representatives to help you determine which product type and color blend will work best for your deck or patio project. Having first hand knowledge and experience with benefits and draw backs of each system, we can give you advise on a Company and product type that will encompass all that your family requires and that will look nice as well.

Cedar - has been widely used in the United States in various applications for hundreds of years and is certainly growing in popularity in today's decking and structural landscaping markets. Cedar is milled for so many different applications and textures making it the most versatile wood used in America. Rough cuts are produced for fencing, siding, facing and trims. Timbers of all sizes are cut for both structural and architectural uses such as roofs, shade arbors, pergolas and gazebos. Smooth cuts of Cedar are so beautiful because of their grain and knot configuration and are milled for many decking and railing applications. They can be cut, routed and milled easily on the job site to fit any purpose. The strength of its grain allows it to be used in almost all structural uses. Cedars softness allows it to age well in very dry climates like Colorado, paints well and resists the normal cracking of denser woods, and dries very quickly in wet climates. Cedar has a very pleasing natural aroma and has a natural resistance to rot and decay. Cedar will oxidize and gray if not treated properly and will mildew or even get burned by the sun if it is over sealed. In Colorado's dry climate, Cedar needs to be sealed yearly or bi-yearly to maintain its natural beauty or should be primed before being painted.

Redwood - has been American's primary choice for decking products in the past, but is quickly losing its charm and popularity because of its rising cost and high maintenance. It has a natural lasting beauty in its grain and knot configuration, mixed colors of Construction Common, B-grades and Heart grades. The nature of Heart Redwood allows it to be very resistant to decay and can be used for many applications in the most humid of environments. In more arid environments like ours, it will tend to crack, split and raise its grain when not protected properly. The changing laws and management of the Redwood forests in the United States has greatly increased the cost and also limited the availability of products. Redwood should be sealed every year in the early fall. Redwood should not be used in painting applications, for it bleeds it's natural color because of immature growth and clear cutting issues.

Hardwoods - such as Mahogany, Ipe, Brazilian Redwood, Tiger Wood and Cypress have been widely used in the construction of decks and other landscape structures for many years in other countries, but have just recently been gaining in popularity in our area. The true beauty and consistency to a real hardwood product is very attractive to the consumer in this market. The durability and longevity are clearly acknowledgments of the hardness and extreme density of hardwood trees. The strength of a drying board of this density often requires a stainless steel screw (costly) application to hold it firmly in place and will also require high grade steel or titanium drill bits to bore pilot holes. The hardwoods require more intricate and involved construction applications, and in turn requires a more experienced, seasoned and talented carpenter. The additional labor involved with this type of construction can be as much as double the normal time and can cost between double and triple the normal fees. In our climate, normal oil based sealants may take several additional days to soak into a hardwood product and specific ones may require a Teak Wood Oil sealant.

The opinions expressed here are those of Denver Decks and more specifically of Philip R. Tussing, the owner and your "Deck Answer Man". Note: The consumer should always thoroughly investigate a product before choosing to purchase a material or product for use in their construction project. It would also be prudent to test every opinion in order to determine its factual nature.

We have determined that products such as first and second generation composites, vinyl, solid plastics and fiberglass decking materials have too great a financial or health risk, or some type of liability we are not willing to undertake. The Deck market is always changing to meet further requirements.


Contact your Deck Answer Man

at (303) 730-9642.

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