When you own a home and decide to install a deck you are committing to a relationship that you hope will last many happy years. Like any relationship, there can be ups and downs, but a strong relationship is one that is low maintenance, one you can enjoy without expending an exorbitant amount of time, energy, and money...it’s also one of the only types of relationships you want to be able to (smoothly and comfortably) walk all over.
My personal experience with a needy, wooden deck was a tumultuous one that, after many years of trying to make it work, has come to an end. But before we get to the break up (which was a literal one for the deck), let me start at the beginning, when it was new and I was naively optimistic of the potential.
I moved into a new home that had a deck which looked like it needed some TLC after being neglected by the previous owners. It was my first deck and I was willing to put in the time so we could make many good, summer memories together.
I wanted to make sure that I treated this deck right, so I sought out expert advice. The first thing I was advised to do was give the wood a good power wash. While the difference was night and day, the pressure had hurt the wood and created splitting. That meant the next, necessary task was to properly prepare the wood for sanding. Sanding: sounds easy, eh!? Two long days later, I had expended endless amounts of elbow grease using an orbital sander but in return was left with a gorgeous refinished deck... as well as a huge pile of sawdust and discarded sheets of sandpaper.
It looked great! I had put in a lot of effort and was hoping to sit back and enjoy. And I did. For one season. Then, before I could fully enjoy the next warm season there was maintenance to be done.
I stained it, but it didn’t turn out exactly as intended, so there were re-applications year after year. I finally got tired of restaining so I turned to painting the deck, which I also hoped would hide imperfections. I thought that was a great fix, until the snow melted after the first winter and uncovered patches where paint had begun to peel. This area required repainting; and the cycle I thought I had broken by moving from staining to painting had, in fact, continued.
Troubles compounded when boards began to rot, especially along the edges. These required replacement. While chemicals exist to “help” prevent the wood rot, they are very harsh, so harsh that many a contractor refuse to apply them.
Reflecting upon the amount of attention my deck was demanding, I had to reconsider if my love of the look of wood was worth the effort. The wooden deck had become too high maintenance. I was sinking in time and energy, not to mention money, and was never left fully satisfied. I had to consider breaking up with my wooden deck.
And so I decided to get back out on the market and see if there were other, more compatible materials available. Enter Azek highly recommended Dave Bartnik of Deck Masters of Canada.
I’m not one to believe in love at first sight, but Azek Deck Boards caught my eye immediately. They seem to have all the qualities I’m looking for:
- Stain resistant
- Scratch resistant
- Split resistant
- Mold and mildew resistant
- Durable and long lasting
- Impervious to moisture and insects
- Limited lifetime warranty
A list of attractive attributes is one thing, but going in on that alone is like risking a blind date, but with more at stake. That’s one of the reason’s I’m pleased today’s technology has changed the game for the better. Before committing to a new deck, Rosario Ungaro of Toronto Deck Builders provded us with a detailed 3D rendering. Want to see it? View mine, and, if you’re in the market, know that most reputable deck contractors should be able to provide something similar so be sure to ask.
And so, I’m about to embark on building a fresh start. I will be charting the progress and will report back with how the building process went, problems that arose (fingers crossed there are none), and my initial feelings about the new relationship with my, hopefully, low maintenance deck
Tom Cordeiro is casaGURU's chief GURU. He’s always interested in finding out what’s new and what’s going on in the world of homes. If you’d like to connect with him, be his friend and write on his wall.