Red balau decking can significantly transform the aesthetic and commercial value of any property, being one of the high-end exotic wood decking options very popular among architects, professional deck builders and homeowners these days. Also known as Philippine Mahogany and Indonesian Red Balau, this material is a densely grained hardwood known to be more durable than redwood.
Common in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, balau hardwood is extremely hard and has natural properties that make it inherently resistant to rot, decay, infestation, and extreme weather. It is also easier to work with compared to other exotic hardwoods. Let’s take a closer look at red balau and find out why it is highly desired in the decking industry.
Red balau is a tropical hardwood tree that belongs to the Shorea genus that is prevalent in Southeast Asian countries. The trees can grow up to 250 feet tall with a diameter of 6 feet. As tropical trees, they are very resilient in high-moisture environments, which is why they are resistant to decay. It has a fire rating of A, which means it is also highly fire resistant.
Indonesian Red Balau is also valued for its high resistance against wear and tear, being very dense. It is actually denser than teak and has a Janka Hardness Rating of 1,560. The color of its wood is highly dependent on the particular species, but in general, the wood comes out in a dark reddish brown hue. When allowed to weather, the wood will eventually turn into a silver gray patina.
The best quality that red balau has is its strength, which makes it an ideal outdoor decking material. But this exotic wood decking material possesses a lot of characteristics that present advantages:
Because Indonesian Red Balau is very dense, it can be challenging to work with. It is important to let an extensively experienced professional deck builder work on this material so that the proper tools can be used. Sawing this hardwood is a bit difficult, so it is recommended to use carbide-tipped saws. But because the wood is finely grained, it is rather easy to plane and will come out very smooth.
Red balau is very low maintenance; you would only need to apply a stain sealer once a year to bring the rich and luxurious original color back to life. To properly protect the wood, you can use penetrating oil finishes that contain ultraviolet inhibitors. This will greatly reduce fading and mildew infestation, especially for decks that are constantly exposed to the sun and water.
Redwood is a highly desired deck material that is one of the better choices for any homeowner looking to build a high-end deck. Redwood decking can last for many years without losing its richness, elegance and beauty. Its availability is limited, so it has always been considered as a luxurious and prized addition that increases value to any property.
Redwood decks are known for their beautiful straight grain and rich color, while being dimensionally stable and highly resistant to rot and decay. Its heartwood is rich with natural oils that repel wood-boring insects. It has a unique, earthy fragrance, reminiscent of the deep woods from where it comes. When left without a finish, the redwood decking will turn black at the onset, then gradually into a brilliant silver gray.
From the early ’60s to the late ’80s, redwood was a rage in the deck building industry. Hundreds of thousands of homes had redwood decking built. However, the high demand resulted to lower cultivation rates, and this majestic tree saw a great decline in growth. At present, there is a slight increase in redwood production, but it is still considered as a rare commodity in the decking industry, which accounts for its costs.
Redwood is a forest giant also known in different names such as Sequoia, California Redwood and Coast Redwood. It can grow up to 300 feet with a diameter of 12 feet. The heartwood color can be anywhere between light reddish brown to deep reddish brown. The wood has an open-celled structure that has minimal resin or pitch, which enables the wood to retain different types of finishes.
The tree has closed pores and straight grain, although there are occasional redwood trees with curly grain and burly clusters. When used in building decks, redwood is highly stable, which makes it less prone to warping and cupping, compared to other materials such as pressure-treated wood. It also has a low shrinkage rate, so there is minimal splitting and checking.
Redwood decking is very popular among professional deck builders because it is very easy to work with. It drills and cuts easily and it is lightweight. Don’t let its weight fool you, though, because it is very strong and is highly resistant to decay. When properly cared for, a well-maintained redwood deck can last up to 20 plus years.
Because of its beauty, many homeowners and builders use redwood for highly visible areas like stairs, benches, posts and of course, prominent decks.
Here are some more advantages to using redwood for deck building:
When choosing redwood for your decking project, there are several things that must be kept in mind, both by the deck builder and the homeowner. First off, high quality redwood has a deep, reddish brown color to it. It will keep this color when maintained with stain or finish, but when left unstained, the wood color will slowly turn into a grayish silver tone.
A professional deck builder will know that proper redwood decking installation is needed to ensure that the decking lasts for many years. Redwood is relatively soft, and can be brittle, so it is best to drill holes at the ends of the boards prior to using nails so as to avoid splitting the wood.
The redwood decking should also be installed using galvanized nails, stainless steel, hot dipped galvanized screws or high-quality hidden fasteners. Electroplated fasteners and headed nails should be avoided because they will cause staining.
A redwood deck is, without a doubt, luxurious and beautiful, so it needs to be well-built and maintained properly so that it will last for decades. To protect it from the harsh elements, extend its life span and keep its beautiful color, always use finishing products that contain water repellants and UV inhibitors.
You are in the right place if you are looking for the ultimate resource on ipe decking. Here, you will find first-rate and well-researched information about one of the world’s best decking material, ipe.
But why should you know more about it?
In this unstable economy where unemployment and foreclosures are rampant and the future is still uncertain, “staycation” is quickly becoming not only a favorite word, but a lifestyle choice for many people who opt to stay in their homes for entertaining and vacations.
Many homeowners are spending less on vacations that require traveling but are spending more on upgrading their homes for a more practical re-evaluation of their lifestyles. These days, we see more homes with porches and decks, and educated homeowners are investing on high quality products like ipe decking for living space expansion that last longer instead of choosing low-quality materials for a quick fix.
And they are right, too. Your backyard can be turned into a relaxing oasis where you and your family can make unforgettable memories for many years to come.
There are many options available for patio material and outdoor decking, but the most preferred material by discerning homeowners is ipe decking. Considered as a “ironwood,” ipe is a top choice because of its innumerable outstanding properties.
With an A fire rating—same as steel and concrete—ipe also has a Janka Hardness of 3,600, which means that it is fireproof, extremely tough and durable.
It does not require any chemical treatment because it is very dense and rich with natural oils that makes it resistant to common wood problems such as rot, fungus, mold and boring insects.
You don’t get just 25 years from ipe. With proper care and maintenance, ipe can last 50 years to a century. You can;t find any other decking material that has the same properties such as ipe.
Also known as ironwood, ipe is a tropical hardwood native to Central and South America that grows up to 150 feet within 30 to 35 years. It is commonly used for home and boat decks, furniture, boardwalks, docks, and piers.
In this definitive guide, we explore the unique properties of ipe, including being awarded the highest decay resistant rating of High 50+ Years.
Ipe also has a friction co-efficiency that is more than the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, making one of the safest decking options for being slip-resistant even when wet.
Above all these characteristics, the fact that makes ipe really stand out is its natural, warm and rich beauty that spells luxury and class. It starts out with an olive brown to reddish deep tones, and when left untreated it ages to a beautiful patina of silver grey.
Aside from the benefits explored in our article here, ipe is well-known for being resilient against even the toughest weather, just like what we have in Texas. Your decking will be exposed to the elements all year round, so you should choose a material like ipe that does not warp or crack. You shouldn’t have to replace something you don’t have to, right?
It’s no surprise that ipe is the material used for the Atlantic City boardwalk, the Disney World boardwalk, and the Coney Island boardwalk. There are quite a number of California marinas that use nothing but ipe, such as San Diego’s Shelter Island Marina and San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Just imagine the thousands that stomp on those boardwalks every day for years, and the harsh elements that batter those marinas.
And did you know that ipe was used in the building of the Panama Canal?
When you invest on a wooden decking, you would want it to last for decades so you won’t have to replace it repeatedly. So it just makes sense to go for the leading material that is proven to be durable, long-lasting and beautiful such as ipe decking. You don’t invest just to have a headache.
On top of that, you will enjoy your luxurious ipe decking knowing that you are using a responsibly harvested green product certified by the FSC. This means that the forests are kept renewable using sustainable yield forestry practices and selective harvesting that retains the value of the forest.
In the Texas counties of Dallas, Rockwall and Collin, Dallas Deck Craft is the “staycation” expert and the go-to professional builder who knows ipe decking. We know ipe decking like the back of our hands, and we use our skilled hands to make sure that your deck will be the ultimate oasis you have always dreamed of.
Did you hear the story about the two Dallas neighbors that used pressure-treated decking to create an outdoor living experience for their families? You are gonna want to hear this, especially if you’re planning on building a deck to take advantage of the beautiful Dallas, TX weather.
Bob and Tim live next door to each other. They have a lot of similarities. They are both popular in the neighborhood, have a lot of common friends, and have been working in Rockwall and Collin counties for years.
But there are a lot of differences between these two men as well.
For instance, Bob is the kind of guy who dives into a home improvement project without doing much research. He just wants to get the thing finished. So that is what he did when he built his backyard deck.
Tim is smarter than that. He knows that outdoor decks can return pretty much all of its cost in improved home value, if the right materials are chosen, and a pro handles the job. And he wants to provide his friends and family with a wonderful outdoor living experience for years, with minimal “pain in the neck” maintenance.
So before Tim rushed out and bought pressure-treated decking material from the nearby big-box retailer, he did his homework. And what he found out was this:
There are different types of pressure-treated woods. If you spend a little more money and get your hands on some choice, premium or select pressure-treated boards, you get straighter grain, fewer knots and a better quality product.
These better boards are usually kiln-dried. Both before and after being pressured treated. That means your deck has a much lower chance of warping. These better boards often come with a limited lifetime warranty as well.
But where can Tim get his hands on these premium pressure-treated decking boards? They are not always available to Joe Homeowner. Well, Tim called the folks at Dallas Deck Craft. The seasoned deck builder there was impressed with Tim’s knowledge about the difference between pressure-treated materials.
After a friendly and professional quote, Tim found that he was going to spend more money on building his dream deck than his next-door neighbor Bob. However, the deck professional from Dallas Deck Craft explained that over time he would actually be spending less money.
Not to mention, he would not be breaking his back every couple of years staining his deck and replacing warped, shrunken and twisted boards. By doing a little more homework than Bob, and spending a little more money, Tim now has a hassle-free, low-to-no maintenance outdoor living experience that will look great and provide his family with wonderful memories for years.
Let’s fast forward 5 years.
Tim and his wife are relaxing on their still beautiful backyard deck. A soft summer breeze carries the scent of hamburgers and steaks from Tim’s grill, and the sounds of his grandchildren laughing and splashing around in his pool brings a lot of joy to his heart. He has not had to raise a finger to maintain his gorgeous deck in anyway, and that makes him smile.
Life is good.
Now let’s look across the fence and see how Bob’s doing. Not so good. Bob could be enjoying a wonderful Dallas summer day, just like Tim and his family are. But since he tried to save a little money by building his deck himself, and choosing pressure-treated decking material from the nearby home improvement store, he is working on his “sure doesn’t look anywhere as nice as Tim’s” deck, again.
Sweating and cursing profusely, pulling painful splinters from his hands and whacking his thumb as often as a nail, he sure didn’t sign up for this when he built his deck 5 years ago. Yeah, he saved some money up front. And he made sure that Tim knew it too.
But after today’s trip to the same old home improvement store where he bought his inferior pressure-treated decking materials, he figures he has spent about the same amount of money as his smarter neighbor. Not to mention sweat equity with the unhappy bonus of more than a few backaches and battle scars came with it.
And Tim is over there enjoying his deck, not working on it. Lesson learned.
Don’t be a Bob. Be a Tim, creating wonderful memories on your professionally built outdoor living experience. You have invested a lot of time and money into your home. Does it really make sense to pinch pennies and use inferior pressure-treated decking? Of course it doesn’t.
Give us a call today at 214-384-4267, and we here at DallasDeckCraft.com will come out and provide a deck quote. Yyou can pick our brains, and we will provide 35 years of deck building experience in Collin, Rockwall and Dallas without charging you a penny. You may just find that spending more for some select, premium pressure-treated decking makes a lot of sense. You will also end up loving your deck, rather than resenting it and working on it.
Redwood decks look absolutely gorgeous. That marvelously rich, red, deep color naturally evolves into a soft gray/red blend over time. You just can’t beat the look, as opposed to simple pressure-treated wood, composite and most other decking materials.
But like anything else, there are pluses and negatives to redwood. As far as a Redwood Deck goes, keep the following information in mind if you are considering this gorgeous, long-lasting and durable hardwood for your next decking project.
The takeaway here? Redwood decks cost more money to build than basic pressure-treated decks. And you will have to retreat your deck every few years. Also, if the redwood selected by your deck builder comes from the wrong part of the tree, you could be paying more for lower quality redwood material.
But since redwood is so easy to build, you save on labor costs. And when you team up with a reputable and respected decking contractor, you benefit from the longer life and higher quality product that using the “right” part of the redwood tree delivers.
If you decide to go cheap and use pressure-treated wood, you are going to be retreating your deck anyway. You may as well choose redwood, spend less money over time, and enjoy the gorgeous, deep red color that just cannot be matched with more expensive, composite woods and hardwoods.
If you still have questions about the pros and cons of redwood decks, take a couple of minutes right now and give DallasDeckCraft.com a call at 214-384-4267. We will come out to your house and provide you with a deck quote at a time which is convenient for you. You benefit from our 35 years of building outdoor living experiences in the Dallas, Texas Metropolitan area, and we would love to add you to our long list of satisfied clients.
Have you considered composite decking before but disregarded the option because you did not know enough about it? Have you wondered how is it made and what is it made of?
You are in the right place! Here your questions regarding composite decks will be answered, and more. Composite decking has been around for decades, but there still seems a lack of familiarity with it. So let’s start off with the basics and look at the material a little closer.
Composite decking is a pseudo-wood product created from a mixture of recycled plastics and wood fibers. Color pigments and protective additives are incorporated into the mixture to form a traditional wood-like deck board but with added resilience that requires less maintenance than other decking materials.
There are several polymers used in manufacturing composite decking such as polyvinyl chloride, high-density or low-density polyethylene, and polypropylene.
Wood flour is then added to stabilize the plastics and also protect it from ultraviolet rays that may damage the plastics. Choose a brand that uses finely ground wood fiber as the consistency allows for a more uniformed look throughout the deck.
Most new generation composite decking products are manufactured using “extrusion,” a forming process wherein the melted mixture of wood and plastic are forced through an opening or a mold to produce boards that have consistent shape and size. It’s just like putty pushed through a mold.
Another popular manufacturing method used for modern composite decking is “compression molding.” The melted plastic and wood materials are placed in molds which are then compressed in extreme pressure and heat levels so that a strong physical bond is created.
The pressure squeezes out air pockets that might weaken the product and a highly compressed board is created.
We have a comparative review that discusses the benefits of composite decking vs. wood decking. But let’s talk about some of the benefits of composite decks when used for outdoor living.
Because of its density, composite decking has a high resistance to decay and rot caused by constant or prolonged exposure to the elements, especially moisture. And because there is less moisture in the boards the possibility of mildew, bacteria and insects are also reduced.
Composite deck boards are made to be resistant against stain such as food and beverage stains. You won’t have to worry about mustard, barbecue sauce, coffee and wine seeping through your decking. Cleanup is also easy. Because it is resistant to stains, the life and beauty of your deck is preserved.
You won’t have to spend more just to have a long-lasting deck. Composite decking does not need stain, sealers or paint, so expenses for maintenance is greatly reduced. You just need to keep it clean by sweeping or mopping, remove stains with composite deck cleaners available commercially, and hose it off twice a year for general cleaning.
Many composite decking brands offer boards in a wide range of colors to complement any home. You won’t need to paint or stain the product because the boards already come in different beautiful colors to choose from.
Ten years ago, there were only about 10 choices when it comes to types and composite decking colors. But as the industry has grown over the last few years, more and more choices have become available. In fact, there are now over 50 composite decking products in the market.
Knowing more about any product before you buy will greatly help in making an informed decision, and will significantly reduce stress and future regrets.
Sometimes we miss buying what’s best for us because we lack knowledge of it. So don’t be afraid to explore and don’t avoid composite decking just because you are not familiar with it.
Read on and find out more about the ins and outs of this product and get your information first-hand from Dallas Deck Craft, the decking experts serving the Texas counties of Dallas, Collin and Rockwall since 1980.
With more than 30 years of deck building experience, we share valuable insights that will help you with your deck building needs, not only on composite decking, but on many other decking materials as well.
If you’re still considering what kind of material to build your outdoor deck with, chances are you’ve encountered pressure treated wood, or also called Wolmanized pine as a potential option.
As one of the most commonly used materials in outdoor construction projects, pressure-treated wood has an excellent track record as a long lasting, affordable material, making it a deck builder favorite. Pressure-treated pine is commonly used for outdoor decking.
But what is it? What does “pressure treated” mean? Is it right for you? Let’s explore this common building material and find out.
Pressure-treated wood is any kind of wood which has been saturated in a mixture of chemical preservatives. The wood is placed inside a closed tank along with the preservatives, and then the air is sucked out creating a vacuum which forces the preservatives into the wood.
These preservatives are specially designed to protect the wood from pests (such as termites), rot, and wood fungi.
It is important to note that pressure-treated wood still needs to be treated with a weather sealant, as the chemical preservatives generally won’t fare well against weather and aging.
Most of the concerns regarding the safety of the chemical preservatives used to create pressure-treated wood stem from old manufacturing processes which are no longer used.
For many years, chromated copper arsenate (CCA) was the de-facto preservative used in pressure-treated wood—which caught the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency in the early 2000s.
Even though there was some degree of controversy as to how dangerous the use of CCA was if the wood was properly maintained, it has since been banned in residential use, prompting the lumber industry to use safer and more environmentally-friendly preservatives in the creation of pressure-treated wood.
It’s important to remember that if you hear that pressure-treated wood is somehow unsafe, the source is likely using poor or outdated information, as pressure-treated wood using CCA as the preservative hasn’t been sold for residential purposes for at least a decade; it is, however, still used in a variety of industrial applications, which homeowners should be aware of when purchasing pressure-treated wood for their residential projects.
Pressure-treated wood has been a long-time favorite for deck construction because of its affordable pricing, durability, and how long the wood will last when properly sealed and maintained. When compared to other common woods used in deck construction, pressure treated wood remains a common choice because of its pricing without sacrificing functionality—compared to, say, redwood, pressure-treated wood can cost 30 to 40% less while still retaining all of the benefits of redwood and/or other woods which are well known to be durable.
This comparatively low price bracket means that pressure-treated wood might be a great choice if your deck project is a particularly large one; the savings will add up with every square foot.
Pressure-treated wood is one of the most commonly used materials used in outdoor construction—and there’s plenty of good reasons for that. The longevity as well as the durability make it the perfect framing material regardless of what type of material you choose for your outdoor decking needs. While the pros certainly outweigh the cons in most situations, here’s a brief overview of both.
If you’ve decided to have a wood deck installed in your backyard, chances are you’ve been surprised at just how many different options there are for the type of wood decking you can use.
Recent years have seen some positive developments in the quality of a composite deck and a plastic deck—but are they really better than the real thing?
To give you an idea of what we’ll be comparing against, let’s take a few minutes and discuss some of the more common types of wood decks used in residential projects.
Popular on the west coast but used country-wide, redwood is known for its longevity and beauty.
Although when it comes in contact with moisture or even concrete it can create a deteriorating process so it is recommended to use pressure-treated material for framing and support. If properly maintained by keeping a good weather sealant/stain it can last for many years.
Cedar is standard species used for many kinds of decking and construction projects. It has many of the same characteristics Redwood and as such needs the pressure-treated pine for the framing as well as the weather sealant.
Ipe, tigerwood decking and red balau woods, from the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Brazil, have become popular in recent years due to their extreme durability and density and are a great choice for a deck.
The tropical hardwoods probably have the best longevity of all woods. With the heavy density weather sealant is not required unless you don’t mind reapplying about every six months. Relatively affordable considering these types of wood are imported.
Probably one of the most affordable, this type of wood has been treated with a chemical preservative to stave off rot, fungi, and pests and therefore has a great longevity.
You must maintain a good weather sealant/stain applied as needed to keep the appearance up on a pressure-treated deck. It also helps to minimize warping as well as checking.
There was once a time when any serious homeowner or contractor would shy away from composite decking—however, composite decking has made substantial improvements over the past few years, resulting in less fungal buildup, much slower decomposition, more longevity as well as a reduction in price.
Composite wood is made up of wood particles and plastic. The plastic is usually polyethylene, and may or may not be recycled, depending on the manufacturer. Certain brands of composite deck boards are hollow and therefore understandably cheaper but are generally not as strong or sturdy as solid composite boards.
Another consideration is that composite wood can get quite hot if the temperature outdoor gets high enough—as it does here in Dallas, Texas due to the plastic components of the material retaining heat. This heat can be lessened to some degree by the color of the composite wood.
The lighter the wood color the less heat it will retain. It’s still doubtful that anyone would want to walk around barefoot on a composite deck in the middle of August.
Composite decking performs quite well in very humid areas, of which there are a few in our region. The plastic isn’t quite as prone to the absorption of moisture as 100% wooden decking which can possibly lead to a longer lifespan.
Plastic decking has been touted as being low or maintenance free—however, this isn’t necessarily true. As both composite and plastic decking will require a good cleaning at least once a year in order to prevent color fading.
Technically the deck would likely remain functional, but it sure wouldn’t be pretty if left unmaintained. Recent technology in the formula used for plastic or otherwise known as PVC has minimized the effects the sun can have on this material.
The cost of decking, either wood or composite varies quite a bit depending on the quality, brand, grade and type, but it’s safe to say that in most cases, composite materials are not necessarily cheaper than “real” woods. In the low to middle end of the spectrum, composite woods might be a little higher.
To give you an example of the price variances, a pressure-treated wood deck might cost as little as $10 per square foot, whereas a very high-end composite deck could run upwards of $40 per square foot. Ultimately, which material you choose for your decking will depend on preference and budget.
More and more homeowners are choosing to have their outdoor decks constructed with exotic, tropical, imported woods. This isn’t just a stylistic choice either—in many cases, these woods offer a lot of functional benefits in addition to a unique, aesthetically appealing look.
Two such woods are ipe and red balau. Let’s explore each wood and discuss why you might want to use one or the other for your outdoor wood deck.
Ipe (pronounced “Ee-pay”) has become quite popular in the past ten or so years, and for good reason. It’s a tropical hardwood from the rainforests of Brazil, and ipe decks have garnered so much attention stateside as a result of its beautiful appearance and extreme functionality.
The wood is very, very dense, and therefore it can last much longer than standard wood types when properly treated.
To give you an idea of how incredibly hard ipe wood decking is, the pieces will often come pre-grooved for hidden fasteners before your contractor installs the deck. While technically an exaggeration, the wood has often been compared to steel and called ironwood.
There are some other benefits of having an ipe deck to consider as well:
Red balau, comes from the tropical rainforests in Malaysia and is another very dense wood that’s become popular in recent years due to its extreme durability and attractive price.
Red balau is often compared to teak with the exception that balau is much cheaper and much more durable. Balau is often used in projects which require wood to be resistant to water, like bridges or watercraft ramps and boat docks.
Since red balau is a naturally oily wood, it must be properly sealed with oil, otherwise it can dry out and/or absorb spills quite easily. Modern sealants do a good job of protecting the wood but when the wood density it needs to be reapplied often. Red balau decking construction is a great option for homeowners looking to extend their living to the outdoors.
Also like ipe, properly sealed balau is highly resistant to scratching and scuffing. The density of the wood also helps prevent infestations from wood pests, weather damage, and mold.
Decking made of balau also offers homeowners a considerable range of appearance options, as the color of the wood can range from a pale off white to a dark brown, depending on species. The grain is generally coarse and beautiful when finished.
Even though ipe and red balau woods are both imported and shipped in from Brazil and Southeast Asia, respectively these woods are surprisingly affordable. Homeowners looking to improve the value of their property with an affordable investment should be aware that installing an outdoor wood deck is one of the most cost effective ways of raising a home’s value, not to mention it provides an added extension to the outdoors.
High density woods are becoming more popular for their longevity, strength, and comparatively low-maintenance needs. Replacing properly treated ipe or balau as a result of pests or weather damage is practically unheard of.
Whether you decide to go with ipe or balau for your outdoor decking project is largely a matter of preference and current wood pricing. Either of these fine imported tropical woods will serve as an excellent long-term investment into the value of your home.