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Tips for Planning the Perfect Deck

29 December 2018

Our team answers homeowner questions every weekend on WCCO 830 AM from 9:00 am-10:00 am.  Have your most pressing home improvement questions answered by calling 651-989-9226 or texting 81807.  Here’s must-know information from our in-house deck specialist, Luke Panek, shared on 12.29.18. 

Wooden Decking

When it comes to decking material, it’s rare to find a homeowner opting for cedar over a maintenance-free deck.  Cedar is a delicate material that requires routine sanding and staining to keep it looking its best.  An alternative option in the realm of wood is green treated wood.  The most common trees used for this are Southern Yellow or Ponderosa Pine.  The downside is that when treated with preservatives, the wood swells to have a moisture content of 70%-80%, making the boards water logged.  The boards are then bundled into stacks over approximately 200 and then placed on an indoor shelf while still saturated.  When it is brought outdoors during the warmer months, the material quickly dries out.  As a result the deck boards shrink and crack.  However, the boards themselves are durable and there is minimal concern of rot or decay.  In recent years, kiln drying treated wood has become commonplace.  This process removes the moisture from the wood after it’s been treated slowly in a kiln at regulated temperatures in order to curtail the warping of deck boards, though staining will be needed to address wood’s natural tendency to weather.wood deck

Composite Deck Building

Composite deck designs may cost more upfront, but the savings on upkeep and the longer lifespan, make them a sound investment.  Many of the homeowners we work with gravitate towards Zuri® Premium Decking because it imitates the aesthetics of exotic wood and reigns supreme in the category of durability because of its acrylic surface.  This attribute is important because once a synthetic deck is damaged, gouges and scuff marks cannot be sanded out, as they can with wooden decks.  A minor drawback of Zuri® is that it is time consuming to install because of the trimming components around the edge of the deck that are trickier to place.  However, the upside of the trimming components is the premiere look they have which enhances curb appeal.

Get the Full Story on Zuri® Decking:

Deck Footings

One of the most popular deck footings offered in today’s marketplace is Diamond Pier.  To visualize this system, picture a tripod that is used for professional photography.  In this case, the “camera, would be a diamond shaped piece of concrete about the size of a basketball.  That has pre-mortised holes in it that the tripod legs pass through.  Placed in the earth, the top of the “camera tripod” is the only visible element.  Deck posts are then set on top of that.  First developed in Florida, it was designed for swampy terrain because the wide grasp of the system that allowed it to distribute weight through the tripod concept.  Diamond Pier deck footings also excel at maintaining their stronghold through the freeze and thaw cycle Midwestern soil encounters as the seasons change.

diamond pier

Deck Railings

When selecting a deck rail system, it’s often to the benefit of the homeowner to look beyond what the deck manufacturer offers.  Many times, the railing they offer is flimsy because they come as part of a boxed kit and must have the ability to easily ship.  Durability should be the primary attribute of a deck railing system.  Homeowners that have a high satisfaction rate with their deck railings are those that are welded, one piece, panels.  Not only are they more robust, but their finishes hold up longer.  This approach also foregoes the necessity of staining.  Glass panel railings are another low maintenance option.  However, they are less popular than metal options because of the routine cleaning they require due to how fast outdoor glass can be dirtied.  However, glass panel railings are unparalleled in their ability to offer unobstructed views.

Listen to the Entire Show Here: 

Browse Our Composite Deck Building Projects:


Allen’s & Deb’s Zuri® Decking Project


Adam & Staci’s Window, Siding, & Decking Project in Roberts, WI


Joy’s Blaine, MN Composite Decking Project

Why We're the Premier Twin Cities Deck Builders: