Barbecue season has arrived! It’s time to get outdoors for some al fresco dining and summer evenings spent sipping ice cold lager or perfectly chilled chardonnay. With all this outdoor living in mind, we think a deck is the perfect addition to a log home, allowing you to create an enjoyable outdoor room. Although wood decks have always been the most popular choice for decking material, recently composite materials have become popular. In this post, we will discuss common choices for decking material and how to decide which is right for your new log home.
Pressure Treated Lumber
Pressure treated lumber is the most common choice for decking material, with about three-quarters of new decks using this wood for construction. Southern Yellow Pine is typically milled for this application and then chemically treated to resist insects and rot. It is the cheapest deck material available, with 2×6 planks running at or under a dollar per linear foot. Although it is the cheapest option, it also requires the most maintenance since the lumber is prone to cracking and warping if neglected. The finished deck should be power washed every year and wood preservatives should be reapplied every couple years.
The most commonly used domestic natural lumber products for decking are redwood and western red cedar. Since both of these products are harvested in the Western United States, they tend to be cheapest there; prices for 2×6 boards are as low as $2 per square foot in the west but increase as you move east. Although they are more expensive than treated lumber, these woods have a rich color and are naturally resistant to insects and rot without added chemicals. These decks should also be power washed yearly, and resealed every four years or so.
Imported tropical hardwoods are also a common choice for decking. Ipe is the most common wood used for decking with 1×6 boards running around $4 per linear foot. The wood is naturally a deep red color but will weather to a silver color over time. (We highlighted Ipe in our post about flooring options for log homes.) Again, a preservative should be applied to the deck every four years. Since most tropical wood is harvested illegally and unsustainably, make sure to only buy wood that is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
Composite decking is the fastest growing segment of decking materials. This type of decking can be made from plastic alone (typically PETE or PVC) or a blend of plastic and wood fibers to promote a more natural appearance. These materials cost around $3 per linear foot, but are very low maintenance compared to wood products. They never have to be refinished like wood decks and although they will eventually weather, composite decks will have lifespans of around 50 years.
We hope that we’ve gotten you excited to the summer season at hand. If you’d like any more information on any of the log home we’ve pictured here, or if you’d like to learn more about designing a new log home, please contact Real Log Homes to get started. Happy grilling!