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What Are the Different Types of Wooden Decks?

All types of wooden decks will be exposed to the elements, so it's important to use screws and other hardware that will resist damage.
Wooden decks will require maintenance such as staining.
Expensive woods are more visually appealing for decks.
Article Details
  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Wooden decks were often made of pine in the past because pine is inexpensive and abundant. It is not, however, the best choice of material for durability and resistance to moisture damage. Other woods have become more common, though the cost associated with the initial purchase of these woods can be higher. Many builders use such woods for wooden decks because they are likely to save the homeowner money in the long run on maintenance costs. Cedar, teak, ipe, bamboo, and even mahogany are typically used, as are composite materials that are not entirely wood at all.

The style and design of wooden decks can vary significantly according to the house to which they are being attached and the homeowner's preferences. Some decks wrap around a corner of the home, while others are much simpler and smaller. Elevated wooden decks are raised on stilts to access a door on the second floor of the home, while ground level decks do not require stilts but instead much shorter feet sunk into concrete. Stepped decks are multi-leveled and will feature steps at one or more location on the deck structure. These can be more difficult to build properly, especially if the ground on which the deck is being built is not reasonably flat.

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The choice of materials is especially important when building wooden decks because the structures will be regularly exposed to the elements and therefore more susceptible to rot and other damage. Aside from the choice of wood, a builder will need to choose the best hardware, such as nails, screws, brackets, hinges, and so on. These items should be made from galvanized steel or other types of durable metals that are treated to resist rust and corrosion. The wood will need to either be pressure-treated to resist rot, or naturally resistant to rot in the first place. Some woods that are naturally resistant to rot and other water damage may still be treated for extra durability.

One of the draws of more expensive woods is the visual appeal. Teak and cedar in particular are naturally beautiful woods that often do not require any chemical treatment for protection against the elements. These two woods tend to be some of the more expensive woods for building wooden decks, though ipe is perhaps the most expensive. This wood is the most resistant to moisture damage, it is durable, and it can even be resistant to fire damage.

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