The Definitive Guide to Abaco Decking - Dallas Deck Craft
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The Definitive Guide to Abaco Decking

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The Benefits of Abaco Decking

Abaco decking is rich, beautiful and tough, a tropical hardwood material very popular among professional decking contractors and homeowners. It has been compared to other hardwood superstars like ipe because of its characteristics. It is both dense and very strong, with a natural resistance to rot, abrasion and dent. It has a warm red-brown tone, and a very smooth feel to it. It is ideal for outdoor decking because it can withstand extreme weather conditions.

With all the hype associated with Abaco decking, does it live up to its claims? Should you use it for you next decking project? Let’s take a closer look.

Abaco Decking: A Closer Look

Abaco is a hardwood decking material trademarked by Universal Forest Products which is typically marketed with a 25-year warranty. It is very dense at 60 lbs per cubic feet. Its Janka Hardness Rating is 3,190 lbs which is comparable to ipe’s 3,680 lbs rating. It is available in a European-style finish wherein one side has a smooth surface while the other has milling or ribbing which provides elegance, extra slip resistance and texture.

Abaco decking is also available in traditional and grooved boards. The grooved option has slotted slides that make installation easier using hidden fasteners. These fasteners allow proper spacing, natural contraction and expansion. Abaco is also competitively priced when compared to ipe decking and garapa decking.

Benefits of Using Abaco Decking

As a tropical hardwood, Abaco has the desired hardness and density  that makes it ideal for outdoor decks in areas where extreme weather conditions are experienced, such as in Rockwall, Texas. Some of the advantages of using this kind of decking material are the following:

  • It is kiln-dried so Abaco offers more stability than its air-dried counterparts
  • Supply is reliable from pre-approved mills
  • It has a reversible surface. One side has a smooth finish, while the other has an elegant, European-style moulding
  • The ribbing or moulding makes the deck cooler in hot weather
  • Very durable, hard and strong
  • Rot and termite resistant
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Tight-grained and fine-textured
  • The ribbing on the other side relieves stress from the board and helps reduce cupping and twisting
  • Without a stain or finishing, the material will weather out to a beautiful silver patina
  • Grooved for installation of hidden fasteners
  • Can come with matching railing kits
  • Has a Class A fire-rating, same as metal, which means it is highly fire-resistant
  • FSC certified
  • Has a 25-year manufacturer warranty

How to Work with Abaco Decking

Although it can be difficult and challenging to work with a decking material like Abaco because of its hardness and density, a professional deck builder who has years of experience should be able to help you with your deck installation.

It is extremely dense, so special drill bits are required for pre-drilling. High-quality carbide saw blades are also necessary for cutting. Compared to cedar deck installations, Abaco decking installations can take up to three times longer.

It is impossible to hand nail or even use pneumatic nail guns into Abaco, which is why stainless steel fasteners are used. Your choice of fasteners is also important, because you would need your fasteners to last as long as the decking material. The correct type of hidden clips should be used, and it is not recommended to use under-mount bracket systems. Hidden clips also allow for faster installation, and the surface will look cleaner compared to when the product is screwed down.

To get the best out of your Abaco decking, choose to have the fasteners plugged. This process involves countersinking the fasteners deeply from the wood surface and then gluing a plug of the same size into the hole to conceal the fastener. This can be labor-intensive and time consuming, and can only be done by a highly experienced deck builder, but it will be worth it because the finish will turn out to be very beautiful and fluid.

Your home deserves the best, and choosing Abaco decking will not only enhance its beauty, but its value as well. It is strong, beautiful and long-lasting, which is no wonder why builders and discerning homeowners alike put Abaco on top of their list.