Using Trex vs pressure-treated pine decking material means making several considerations. How much do you want to spend? Are you building a pool deck or a balcony deck? Maybe you would like a small patio deck or a large deck for your business. No matter what you are building your deck for, there are a few obvious (and not so obvious) considerations you need to make regarding functionality, longevity and other important factors.
If you use Trex as opposed to pressure-treated pine to build your deck, how long will it last? Is the extra cost involved in your up-front Trex investment worth it, or should you spend less initially for a pressure-treated pine deck? Which deck material requires more maintenance and money over time? Is one type of material better for the environment, and what do you need to know about fire rating and weather-resistance?
While the hard facts and statistics about building a deck are certainly important, there is an emotions-based question you need to ask yourself first, and that is …
Whether you want a patio deck, pool surround or balcony deck, you have certain expectations. Some folks build a backyard deck to entertain. They need their deck to provide reliable functionality that will allow them to host parties and create wonderful memories for years or decades. What you want from a pool deck is excellent water-resistance and a deck that won’t get too hot for your friends and family entering and exiting the pool.
If you are making a deck to showcase your skills as a backyard barbecue expert, you need quick and easy clean-up and stain-resistance. All these considerations mean you should know exactly what you want your deck to do. How will you be using your deck? For instance, pressure-treated decking can be used for a pool or hot tub surround, while Trex works fine in both of those applications also. Comparing a Trex vs pressure-treated pine deck begins with knowing what type of experience you are trying to create. Then you can begin an initial and long-term cost comparison.
Trex is the name of a composite deck material. It is also the name of the manufacturer that makes this combination of wood fibers and recycled plastic. A Trex deck will run about $26 to $36 per square foot to build, and that includes labor and materials. Pressure-treated decking will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $14 to $20 per square foot installed. As you can see, this makes treated lumber a rather attractive financial choice over Trex.
Your home was not a “one and done” purchase, and your deck isn’t either. You have to set aside money for ongoing maintenance and upkeep or your home will suffer from neglect. The same is true with your deck. Since the materials are very different, comparing Trex vs pressure-treated pine will show significant cost differences for annual and long-term maintenance.
A Trex deck can last longer than a pressure-treated deck but will require annual cleaning. A pressure treated pine deck will also require cleaning and also a good weather sealant every 1-5 years depending on the brand of stain / weather sealant used. This means the composite construction of Trex allows for much less maintenance and upkeep than treated lumber. You can expect to spend more time, elbow grease and money taking care of your pressure-treated pine deck.
Trex does not require staining or painting. Once your Trex decking gets acclimated to your environment, the resulting color will stay the same without any painting, finishing or staining.
Pressure Treated Pine (aka PTP) lumber has a much lower up-front installation cost than Trex, but will require more effort and money to maintain over time.
Some homeowners will build a basic pressure-treated deck before they list their home for sale. The low cost addition gives the home a higher perceived value than without the deck. If you are climbing the corporate ladder and don’t expect to be in your current home for more than a few years, a pressure-treated pine deck might make the most financial sense.
A PTP deck can look great with regular maintenance and upkeep for a several years, while costing less to build than a Trex deck. Treated decks are perfect for DIY homeowners that like spending their free time on home improvement projects. Why pay more for a Trex deck if you look forward to staining or sealing your deck every year or five and cleaning it frequently?
On the other hand, the durable Trex decking products carry 25 year warranties. In many cases these decks last more than 25 or 30 years. You can expect 10 to 25 years good use from a pressure-treated deck, depending on how regularly you maintain the deck and what your local climate and environment is like. The entire Trex vs pressure-treated pine deck cost comparison can be broken down for you by consulting an experienced deck builder. Call a deck builder with decades of experience making beautiful, durable decks in your area for a free, in-depth construction and maintenance cost breakdown.
The functionality and wonderful memories you get from your deck will depend largely on durability. You want decking material that is going to be unattractive to hungry bugs. Knowing the deck you build will effectively resist the effects of sun, rain and other aspects of weather is also important. You certainly don’t want a fire hazard on your hand. Both types have a man made resistance to bugs.
When a deck is built at ground level it would be best to use (ground contact) PTP but for longevity of either, then air flow (air space underneath deck) is recommended to keep them aired out and dry. Just as important is to have proper drainage underneath, meaning no standing water.
Trex decking material carries a Class C fire rating. This is the minimal fire rating suggested by independent consumer safety organization Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for use in building products in and around the home. This is also known as a Class III fire-resistance rating. Many of the materials used to build your home carry this exact same fire rating.
Pressure-treated pine contains chemicals and preservatives which protect your deck against rot and decay. This pressurized treatment also resists fungi, termites and other wood-chomping bugs. Pressure-treated southern yellow pine also carries a class C fire rating. But you can spend more for Dricon FRT wood or there are a number of types of fire retardant that can be applied to slow fire spread rating.
As we just mentioned, pressure treated southern yellow pine (PTP) has a chemical used in the pressurization process that it is resistant to termites and other bugs or insects that bore into wood. Trex decking materials also carry an insect resistant label, and their combination of recycled plastic materials and wood fibers make them unappealing to the crawly creatures that eat wood.
If you choose pressure-treated pine or Trex decking materials, both will resist insect infestation and rot. However, there is a point that needs to be made here. You will need to diligently seal your pressure-treated deck every years in order to help the wood retain insect resistance. This maintenance factor is not needed with Trex decking products.
A Trex deck is resistant to fading. We mentioned earlier that your Trex deck requires no ongoing staining, painting or finishing to hold its color. If you are in an extremely sunny and hot environment, you may notice gradual fading after 10 or 15 years with Trex materials. In many cases there is no significant change in coloration over the lifetime of the deck.The exterior coating (capped) of Trex decking materials repels water.
Pressure-treated pine will definitely fade over time. You can delay this affect with a regular coat of weather sealant / stain that also repels water. Concerning weather conditions such as rain or snow, Trex is going to hold up better over time than pressure-treated decking materials. In the short-term, your deck will look great and function properly during normal exposure to weather whichever of these two decking materials you choose to use.
It is probably safe to make the assumption that you want your deck to look good. No one wants to build an addition onto their house or in their backyard that looks trashy or downright ugly. When deciding on Trex vs pressure-treated pine as a deck building material, how your deck looks is not going to vary much for the first couple of years.
The difference happens down the line. The process which combines recycled plastics and wood fibers into the composite decking material (Trex) is a more costly procedure than simply pressure treating southern yellow pine. The process makes for a sturdy and long-lasting deck material that may not lose its color for 15 or 20 years.
The same is not true for pressure-treated wood. The appearance of PT pine deck materials will reflect how diligently you stain and seal your deck. If you don’t spend time on maintenance and upkeep with a pressure-treated pine deck, it is going to reflect that negligence. The benefit of a Trex deck is that once you choose a color and build your deck, you are going to get the same look and appearance for years and years without staining or sealing.
This isn’t to say that pressure-treated decks can’t be beautiful. Some people choose a natural wood over composite decking material because the beauty of nature really comes out when that wood is stained and sealed. It requires more upkeep and elbow grease to keep a pressure-treated deck looking good than it does with a Trex deck, but many homeowners don’t mind the extra annual maintenance.
This means your financial cost for the periodic maintenance of your pressure-treated deck will be greater than with a Trex deck, but your upfront building cost is much more attractive. You shouldn’t forget that a Trex deck will change slightly in its color and shade the first 2 to 3 months after installation. This happens because the decking material has to get used to your environment, but the change is gradual in nature. After that, the color shouldn’t fade for several years, and even then only gradually.
The safety of your deck comes down to a number of factors. If people are acting irresponsible and running on a wet pool deck, they may fall and become injured. This is in most cases not the fault of the decking material, but rather the person who was injured. Pressure-treated yellow pine and Trex are rot and decay resistant for a number of years. This means the likelihood of someone stepping through your rotted deck floor or falling because a railing gave way is not likely to happen.
The yellow pine which is used for many pressure-treated decks has a natural texture which makes it resistant to slipping. You can choose Trex products with textured finishes that make them highly resistant to slipping as well. As far as all-around safety goes, a Trex deck is a much more hands-off maintenance choice than pressure-treated decking. With either choice, you are responsible for sweeping and cleaning your deck and keeping it free of debris which could act as safety hazards.
For general safety concerns, you will be happy with pressure-treated wood or Trex decking materials.
Trex decking materials are made up of 95% sawdust, recycled wood fibers and plastic materials. This keeps waste products out of landfills. It should also be noted that the Trex company has formed a partnership with the US Forest Stewardship Council. This guarantees your Trex deck was built with no materials that came from an endangered rain forest.
Caring for a PTP deck requires staining and/or painting every year or two. This means it is up to you to handle, store and dispose of these chemicals correctly so you don’t negatively impact the environment. Trex does not require a weather sealant or staining.
Comparing Trex vs pressure-treated pine reveals that a PTP deck that can last as long as a Trex deck but this can also mean that more yellow pine trees must be grown and harvested for you to replace individual decking materials like balusters and deck boards, or if you want to replace your entire deck. Most pressure-treated lumber is EPA approved, and both Trex and pressure-treated deck materials are environmentally friendly when disposed of properly.
To get a more accurate comparison of both for your application contact a seasoned pro for a no obligation quote.
So you are considering a new deck but not sure if you should go with ipe or Trex? In this article we will point out the qualities and differences so that it can help with your decision. When comparing ipe against Trex decking, cost may be the first thing that comes to mind. Even if you have a large budget you don’t want to overpay for your deck. Good looks is certainly a consideration, and durability comes into question as well. Of course, you should understand maintenance responsibilities and costs for your deck project, and remember that cost is not just an upfront issue. There may be financial costs attached to long-term maintenance.
While you certainly want to consider all of these factors, there is a big question you should answer first before you weigh the pros and cons of ipe (pronounced EE-pay) and Trex decks. Regardless of your budget, the size of the deck you are looking for and any other aspect of this project, you need to ask yourself the following question.
Are you looking to build a pool deck? Choosing the right type of decking material can help you provide a slip-free surface that keeps your swimming friends and family members safe. Bare feet are synonymous with a swimming pool experience, so you want to select a type of wood or composite that doesn’t get too hot in the blazing sun.
Perhaps you are building a deck as a retreat. You want a place you can go to get away from the hustle and bustle of your busy life. Maybe you enjoy entertaining. You love playing the host, and you want to design a decking area where you can create great memories with your loved ones. Of course, if you fancy yourself a 5-star outdoor chef, you can use your deck to display your backyard grilling skills.
Think long and hard about what experience you want your deck to provide for you. Once you know the physical and emotional needs you expect your outdoor deck to give you, you can move on to other ipe versus Trex considerations.
For instance, Trex can get hotter to the touch than ipe, so it might not be the best choice for a pool surround. On the other hand, Trex can be a little less expensive upfront than ipe and it is available in colors not found in natural woods. To continue your decking comparison, let’s talk money.
Whatever type of deck you build, it is going to require maintenance. You have an upfront cost for construction that includes parts and labor. Once your dream deck is created it may be a beauty to behold, but that beauty depends on you if it is going to last. This means that even with the most durable, weather-resistant, hands-off deck is going to come with maintenance considerations.
Maintenance means money. Cleaning products and stains have financial costs, and so does elbow grease. If you are going to be the one maintaining your beautiful deck, you have to consider how much your time is worth. This means knowing what you should expect as an upfront construction cost. Average annual maintenance cost is also important before you decide on ipe over Trex, or vice versa.
Ipe is a “real wood” created by Mother Nature and it is incredibly dense. If you prefer to let it patina to a beautiful gray then it doesn’t have to be stained or sealed. Have you ever seen teak wood used on a boat? It will also weather out if not oiled.
On the other hand if you would like to retain the beautiful natural colors then you would need to have it oiled on an annual basis. Ipe is so tightly constructed by nature that stains, sealers and oil cannot penetrate past the outer layer of the wood very well.
Your initial cost for ipe decking materials will most likely be higher than those of Trex products. This is in part because it is imported from Central and South America. Also there is only so much ipe in the world. It has to be grown and responsibly harvested.
Trex is a manufactured product that combines recycled plastic and wood. This makes it a little less expensive. Composite decking materials are not as strong as ipe (aka ironwood), so it requires a little more attention to the framework when installing.
On an annual maintenance basis, a 12′ x 20′ ipe deck may carry an average annual maintenance cost of $480 for cleaning and oiling, while the same size Trex deck can set you back $240 or more per year on average for cleaning cost.
Ipe is a natural hardwood that is found mainly in Brazil. Trex is a composite decking material made from mostly recycled wood and plastic. Incidentally, Trex is also the name of the company that manufactures this decking product. Due to their physical makeup, ipe and Trex respond differently to Father Time, exposure to sunlight and other factors.
Ipe lasts forever. Not really, but it sure seems that way. Ipe decking has been used at Disneyworld and on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey because it lasts so long. Its low-maintenance, high-density resistance to pounding feet and weather compared to other deck types is why you can expect 25 to 50 years of longevity on most ipe products. Some ipe decks can last 50 to 75 years or longer when they are taken care of.
That’s right… your ipe deck may outlive you!
This is not to say that Trex materials don’t last. They certainly do. Trex backs their decking products with a 25 year warranty. If you take care of your Trex deck, you can expect it to look great and provide wonderful memories for 25 to 30 years.
Comparing ipe vs Trex means understanding how hard they are. The oddly named Janka scale measures how hard different natural woods are. Named after Austrian Gabriel Janka, it is often used to compare how hard decking materials are, thereby giving you an idea of how resistant they are to wear and weather.
The Janka hardness rating for ipe is 3,680, which is 8 times harder than that of a California redwood tree. Trex decking materials are not nearly as hard as ipe. This does not mean they aren’t durable, as is evidenced by the accompanying 25 year warranty. Trex does not carry a Janka rating, but it should be fine for your backyard deck.
You want to choose a hardness level like that of ipe or some other dense hardwood if you are going to have extremely high levels of traffic and wear, like in the Disneyland and Atlantic City Boardwalk examples from earlier. For a residential application, you can expect years of beauty and durability from either ipe or Trex decking products.
A fire rating comparison of decking products shows that Trex decking materials are recommended as safe for residential applications. Many of the products in your home, including the building materials that were used to build your home, carry the Class C fire rating of Trex decking products. Also referred to as a Class III rating, this classification comes from Underwriters Laboratories, an unbiased and independent consumer safety organization.
Ipe woods have earned a Class A (Class I) fire rating. This means they are also safe and acceptable for residential applications such as building your deck. Because this wood is so dense and tightly packed, it is much harder for it to catch fire with a very low fire spread time when compared to other natural woods and composite decking products. And for this reason ipe is accepted for most commercial applications.
A comparison of ipe vs Trex decks would not be complete without discussing the insects and bugs that may view your deck as a tasty treat. You probably also want to know that your resident woodpecker won’t be able to drill holes in your deck when he is looking for bugs to eat. In both cases, Trex and ipe decking materials are more insect-resistant than many natural and composite woods.
Trex is sold as insect-resistant and ipe is noted for being insect-resistant. Because Trex boards are a combo of wood and plastic, they are less than appealing to the bugs that chomp on wood. The natural ipe wood repels insects because it is too hard for them to chew or bore into. Both are winners here.
Time and weather will eventually destroy anything, whether man-made or natural. Will the sun fade a Trex deck? The answer is yes… after a considerable amount of time. Trex is a composite decking type, and this means it is resistant to fading. However, if your Trex deck receives strong, direct sunlight most of the year, it’s color may begin to fade. This will only happen after 10 or so years, and the fading is gradual, not all at once.
An ipe deck will naturally fade over time. It will eventually develop a silver-grayish patina. The special ipe oil finish mentioned earlier can help your Ipe deck maintain a beautiful, natural appearance. As was previously discussed, these oils need to be applied on an annual basis to keep the original look of the wood.
If your deck builder does his job properly, he will talk about the natural tendency for a Trex deck to gradually change its color over the first 2 to 3 months after it has been built. This is a normal occurrence which happens as your deck adjusts itself to your environment. It might be a good idea to take a look at an existing Trex deck in your area so you can picture the very slight change in color will occur.
As far as rain, snow and other weather conditions that can physically impact your deck, Trex and ipe both do a good job resisting their effects. Both are mold and splinter-resistant, both clean up easily after a storm, and both are highly weather-resistant.
Trex comes in several colors. Ipe gives you what Mother Nature created. This means your ipe deck will have boards with varying shades and hues of a rich reddish brown. There are amber and cherry red influences as well. If you have an obsessive compulsive disorder, you are going to want to choose Trex vs ipe, since the color will be consistent from one board to the next.
Since Trex decking materials are man-made, you can choose one of the many colors available and every board will match its partner. Trex color variations include descriptive names like Spiced Rum, Gravel Path, Tiki Torch and Lava Rock.
We talked earlier about how ipe will eventually develop a silvery, gray finish. This by no means will happen immediately. You can expect a year or so of use out of your ipe deck before the natural grayish patina will begin to develop. With Trex decking you can expect the same look 5 or 10 years down the road as you get after the initial 8 to 12 week color change takes place.
Does comparing ipe vs Trex mean one is a safer product than the other? Since both products are durable and long-lasting, it is hard to say that one is going to provide more safety than the other. If you want your deck to be built out of one of the hardest woods on the planet, one that is virtually fire, rot and bug-resistant, choose the more expensive ipe.
That having been said, the construction of Trex decking materials makes them unattractive to insects and other bugs that bore into wood. Trex and ipe are resistant to decay, which lends obvious safety factors. This means a safe decking product, as the structural integrity of the deck is kept intact.
Ipe is one of a limited number of decking choices that gets the thumbs-up from the American Disabilities Act. It is actually so anti-slippery that it surpasses the standards and requirements the American Disabilities Act (ADA) demands for its safety seal of approval. It is highly slip-resistant, even when wet. Trex decking is available in slightly textured finishes that make it slip-resistant as well.
Arguing ipe vs Trex scores some environmentally conscious points for both sides. Ipe lasts so long that repair and replacement costs are virtually nonexistent. This means that less ipe wood needs to be harvested over time to build these durable, beautiful decks. Since an ipe deck can literally look great and keep its functionality for 50 or more years, there is less of an environmental impact than caused by the 15 to 25 year longevity of pressure-treated pine decks. Ipe wood is also chemical-free.
Trex decks are environmentally responsible as well. Trex is made from 95% recycled wood fibers, sawdust waste and recycled plastic materials. Additionally, Trex works hand-in-hand with the US Forest Stewardship Council to ensure the decking materials they offer didn’t come from an endangered rain forest. The same is true for many ipe manufacturers, so be sure to ask your deck builder if his ipe products are FSC-approved when you request a free quote.
So you are thinking about building a deck in Dallas, Texas but you’re not sure what decking materials you should use? The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is the 4th largest metro area in the US. More than 7 million people call the 13 counties of this metro region home because the weather is beautiful all year-round. Enjoying that weather without leaving home is possible with a pool deck, patio deck or balcony deck. You can entertain, create a place to escape or use your deck to show off your backyard barbecue skills.
No matter what type of deck you build, you need to choose the right materials. This means understanding what decking materials work best for your environment. A veteran deck builder with decades of experience crafting quality decks in the Dallas area knows the pros and cons for the popular woods and composites used to build decks that last, and that help you create memorable experiences.
This report helps you compare decking products. You will learn which are more expensive to build and those types of decking materials which require minimal maintenance. We will cover popular wood and composite decking manufacturers, and all other aspects you need to know to make an informed decision as to which decking material you should be using. If you know you want to have a deck built but don’t know what materials you should use for your particular situation, this guide will help you answer all your questions.
Listed below in no particular order are the most commonly used types of wood and composite decking materials in the Dallas metropolitan area. They provide varying degrees of functionality and durability, cover a wide range of price points, and can be used for many types of decks.
Far and away the most common type of wood used to build a deck is Southern Yellow Pine or SYP. This wood is pressure treated (then called Pressure Treated Pine or PTP for short) to extend its natural resistance against rotting, decaying and insect infestation. Pressure treated pine, cedar and redwood are the most common natural woods used to build a deck in Dallas. Let’s take a look at each in turn, comparing and contrasting them according to features, durability and price points.
Pressure treated pine is the most economical and found to be used in most decks in the United States for one simple reason–it is the least expensive decking material. Bear in mind that this only means initial construction and labor cost. It is easy to work with, has a plentiful supply, and can give you a good looking deck for 15 or 25 years (or longer) if properly maintained.
Pressure treated pine delivers the beauty of natural wood, but pressure treated pine decks will need the application of a good weather sealant and it will have to be periodically reapplied. Talk to a well seasoned deck builder as to what products will give you the best protection as well as when to apply them to your newly installed deck.
People build decks for different reasons. If you are on a budget and looking for a pool deck or want to build a surround for your hot tub, pressure treated lumber is recommended. When you keep a routine maintenance schedule it can give you years of enjoyment.
Remember that the upfront cost for pressure treated decking materials is very attractive, but ongoing maintenance, time and financial considerations are going to be a little greater than with other types of woods and composites like Trex decking and ipe (pronounced ee-pay) wood.
Cedar is considered a soft wood, but it nonetheless makes for beautiful, long-lasting decks. Cedar decking materials offer a distinctive color and hue, and there is no mistaking the luxurious smell of a cedar deck. You may fall in the love with cedar decking products because of the rich red coloring. If you’re looking for a beautiful deck, cedar can definitely deliver.
Cedar should be re-sealed every few years, and when proper maintenance practices are observed, you can still have a really attractive deck after 20 to 30 years. As opposed to other decking materials, cedar carries a middle-of-the-road price tag.
While Redwood has a natural resistance to rot, decay and boring insects it will still need maintenance. It will also give you a natural and beautiful deck. It works well in the Dallas metropolitan area and can be the centerpiece for great backyard entertaining experiences. Like cedar, redwood costs less than hardwoods and composites, man-made decking materials, and it can be less prone to warping over time than pressure treated wood. Like most natural woods it is best used when installed so that it has ample space between the deck and the ground. This allows for air to flow keeping the deck dry underneath and adds to the longevity.
You should also weather seal a redwood deck every few years to get the best possible performance. Since redwood is a softwood like cedar, it will be easier to scratch or stain than a hardwood or composite. Additionally, if older/inner tree growth is used to make your redwood decking materials, life expectancy is around 20 to 30 years (or longer) with regular maintenance.
To recap, pressure treated pine is always going to be your least expensive deck building choice at least upfront. Cedar and redwood will cost more to build than a PTP deck, while offering a more distinctive appearance and lasting a little longer. With any of these wood decking materials you are going to have to contribute regular time, money and elbow grease to keep them looking good and lasting as long as possible.
Composite decking materials came about for a number of reasons. Sustainability is a real concern any time you build something using wood. A tree has to be grown and harvested to create wood decking materials. Composite decking products combine wood fibers, sawdust waste and recycling plastics. Because of this reason, they are environmentally friendly and the best composite decking materials last a long time with minimal maintenance.
However, the process for making composites is costly. This means that while your composite deck can often return several years of beauty and high quality performance with little maintenance, it is going to require a bit higher financial commitment in the construction phase. This is offset by lower annual maintenance costs and less time investment on your part year after year.
Build a composite deck and you get a uniform appearance from board to board. If you want a consistent look and a long-lasting deck, consider composites.
The manufacturer warranties you receive will in almost all cases be much more attractive than with pressure treated wood and other natural softwood products, and you won’t have to worry about splintering, cracking, splitting, deterioration or insects and other bugs eating your deck.
Composite decks can offer a high-end look, and this segment of the decking industry is one of the fastest growing currently. Trex is the market leader in composite decking, and Fiberon and Azek are other quality manufacturers.
The composite marketplace is evolving constantly, and Trex has become the industry leader because the company offers extreme durability with an environmentally friendly product that requires little maintenance while holding its appearance and functionality for decades. Trex offers an impressive 25 year warranty against fading and staining on residential decking products. This warranty also includes replacement due to defects in workmanship, and a guarantee that your boards will not splinter, rot or split. Additionally, you get a guarantee that Trex products are insect resistant and no structural damage will occur due to decay from fungal infection.
Build a Trex deck and you’re working with material that is made from 95% recycled materials. The Trex lineup receives the blessing of the US Forest Stewardship Council, and FSC approval means no decking material came from an endangered rain forest. The Trex lineup includes Select, Enhance and Transcends lineups, with the Transcends product being the top-of-the-line offering.
Azek Building Products makes decking materials which are backed by 30 year limited and limited lifetime warranties, depending on the product. The TimberTech line is also a part of the Azek family. Fiberon decking products also work well in the Dallas Fort Worth metro area, and are backed with a limited residential warranty that promises protection against splitting and decaying, rotting or splintering, and termite infestation. Fiberon also backs their products with a limited stain and fade warranty.
When most people think of bamboo, they picture the slender bamboo stalks which grow to a height of 6 to 8 feet. Some bamboo can actually grow to a height of 80 feet and a width of 1 foot. Unlike decking materials made from wood, where the entire tree must be cut down, bamboo can be harvested without cutting the tree. Moso Bamboo is a decking material now available in the Dallas Metroplex, offering a 25 year limited warranty against rot, decay and insect infestation.
If you want a deck with a slightly different coloration than you get from natural softwoods and hardwoods, you may want to consider Moso Bamboo products. This is a green alternative to exotic hardwood decking material, but expect to pay more than other decking materials other than most tropical hardwoods.
Exotic, tropical hardwoods include ipe, tigerwood, cumaru, Abaco, massaranduba and garapa. These extremely durable hardwoods are longer-lasting but also require a little maintenance. They can keep their color for decades with proper maintenance, and you can expect up to 50 years of beautiful high performance from an ipe deck when it is cared for properly.
Ipe (also known by other names such as ironwood), cumaru and the other tropical hardwoods are incredibly dense. They are among the hardest woods used for building decking products, naturally resistant to rot and decay, insect infestation and boring as well as wearing well against the elements. All tropical hardwoods offer a very attractive longevity feature but will need maintenance. Tropical hardwood decks are like a fine exotic automobile and if they are within your budget this means they do require a financial investment where annual maintenance is concerned.
These woods are gorgeous, long-lasting, naturally resistant to mother nature and weather, and definitely at the high-end of the initial cost range when compared with other decking materials. However, when you want to build a deck that says elegance and quality, look no further than a hardwood like the gorgeous ipe.
Ipe carries the highest possible fire rating and is one of the hardest woods on the planet. Expecting decades from your beautiful ipe deck is not at all out of line, and the decking materials made from this wood have received the blessing of the Americans with Disabilities Act Requirements for safety because they are extremely slip-resistant, even when wet.
Ipe wood naturally resists fungus and mold, rot, decay and boring insects, without the need for the addition of any chemicals. The natural olive brown to reddish finish gives a look of luxury and class, and this wood is so durable it has been used at the Atlantic City Boardwalk, Disney World, the Coney Island Boardwalk and San Diego’s Shelter Island Marina.
If you select ipe or another tropical hardwood, you get one of the lowest cost-for-life decking products you can possibly choose. Your initial investment will usually be higher than if you select many other decking materials, but your ongoing upkeep and maintenance costs over time are much lower than those alternative decking products.
You should know that ipe wood offered by a responsible decking contractor is considered a “green” product. It carries the FSC seal of approval mentioned earlier as a wood that is harvested with sustainable and renewable practices. If you don’t mind paying more in the construction phase for your deck and a little every year for the next several decades for maintenance, a luxurious tropical hardwood like ipe adds instant status and high-quality class to any home.
Natural wood can be modified through the application of a number of processes. One way to do this is to heat wood without the presence of oxygen, thereby making it more durable by changing its cellular structure. This thermal modification makes softer wood more durable and long-lasting, bakes the sugars and starches out of the wood making it insect resistant of which can be seen as an environmentally friendly by-product of this process. Since this wood lasts longer than it naturally does, fewer trees need to be harvested to make decking products.
These processes also make wood more resistant to mold. Thermally modified wood products are 50% to 75% less likely than their natural counterparts to swell or shrink in the presence of dramatically high or low temperatures. Some homeowners like the fact that attractive softwoods receive a darker color thanks to the thermal modification process. As with composite decking materials, there are a wide variety of colors and shades available.
Three of the top thermally modified would manufacturers are Kebony, Thermory and Cambia.
You just can’t beat pressure-treated pine if your biggest deck building consideration is your pocketbook. First-time homeowners and those with tight budgets are recommended to consider a pressure-treated deck for a lot of reasons. First off, the initial investment is lower than with any other type of deck build. If you have never had a deck before, this is a sensible and low-cost way to enjoy the experience.
If over time you realize that you are not spending that much time on your deck or you need to move out of your home, you have a minimal upfront investment. The slight downside to pressure-treated decks is maintenance. You should always sweep and otherwise clean any deck. In the case of a PT deck which is going to be subjected to the heat and humidity of the Dallas, Texas area, it is recommended that you stain your deck every few years.
The same is true if you choose to build a cedar or redwood deck. Redwood and cedar are going to set you back a little bit more initially than if you choose pressure-treated wood, and many people find them more attractive than a less expensive PT pine deck.
Consider a composite decking material like Trex if you are environmentally conscious. Since Trex materials are composed of 95% recycled plastics and wood fibers, you’re looking out for the environment and the planet because your decking material is made up of what would otherwise end up in a landfill. Trex decking products are backed with a 25-year warranty at least, they are resistant to rot and decay, insect boring and infestation, and you won’t begin to see gradual fading for more than 10 or 15 years.
Another benefit of Trex decking is that it doesn’t need to be stained, painted, sealed or finished. As you know, you should not expect that your softwood or hardwood decking boards will all have the same grain patterns, coloration and hue. If you are a stickler for uniformity, Trex will provide a better experience than natural wood. Trex decking materials come in a wide variety of colors and textures, and you receive long-lasting durability and low maintenance with an installation cost that is lower than tropical hardwoods but higher than softwoods like pressure-treated pine and cedar.
Thermally modified wood and bamboo make for interesting decking material choices. These are the newest decking innovations, and while they don’t have the track history of other alternatives, they seem to offer some attractive features.
Finally, if you want your deck to reflect class and luxury, you should definitely consider a tropical hardwood like ipe. This durable wood is made by mother nature to last for a extremely long time when compared to other decking materials. It will require annual maintenance such as any fine automobile.
Ipe wood carries the same fire rating as steel and concrete, and is easily the lowest cost-for-life decking choice. If you want to take your decking game to the next level and create an outdoor experience that will be the envy of the neighborhood while also reflecting your demand of excellence and class, you can’t go wrong with ipe. Also ipe if not weather treated annually will gradually change to a beautiful gray which is acceptable to many.
Ipe wood is a tropical hardwood sourced primarily from Brazil and Bolivia, but its range extends from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. It does not come from a single species of tree. Instead, it consists of over 30 species that make up the Handroanthus genus.
Ipe wood planks make an excellent decking material. It is highly resistant to rot and insects. It holds up well against weathering, and it has the same fire rating as concrete. A properly-installed, well-maintained ipe deck can last for 50 years or longer.
If you would like to learn more about the material, you can read our definitive guide to ipe.
As a deck installer, we do not maintain a stock of ipe. However, we maintain a great relationship with the best local source.
Lee Roy Jordan Lumber Company
2425 Burbank St
Dallas, TX 75235
Phone: (214) 357-7317
We recommend you ask for Garrett, and tell him Dallas Deck Craft sent you.
You can also purchase ipe through Home Depot and Lowe’s Home Improvement, but they do not maintain local stock and will have to special order it.
It is important to hire the right deck installer when installing ipe. An inexperienced installer can cost your more time and money. We, at Dallas Deck Craft, have been building ipe decks for years, and we know the ins and outs of working with ipe.
If you need an installer, request a quote from us today!
If you have an above ground pool, you probably have at some point in time thought about above ground pool decks. You wondered what one would cost, maybe even playing around with the idea of building one yourself. But have you ever thought about the many benefits that you enjoy when you have a professional deck builder handle the job for you?
Let’s take a look.
Sure, you can probably build your own above ground pool deck if you have some above average carpentry skills. But what happens if you make a mistake, and someone gets injured because of it. That lawsuit could wipe you out if you don’t have homeowner’s insurance. And even if you are covered, you will never forget that you got a friend or family member hurt, maybe in a bad way.
You also save money by looking at the real cost of an outdoor decking project.
Consider what your free time is worth.
Do you really want to spend it banging nails, driving screws, sawing wood and breaking your back? And what about choosing materials? There is another area where you might waste money, since you do not have any experience with a job like this.
A deck around your above ground pool is more than just a pool surround. It can be a spot for cookouts. A great place to work on your tan. A relaxing refuge from your busy daily life every evening. An outdoor deck you can use for something other than swimming, making it a year-round part of your life. The versatility that a professional deck builder lends to your backyard living experience means your pool goes from being an unattractive swimming hole to your family’s favorite free time destination.
You have to admit, above ground pools are not the most beautiful man-made creations. And after yours is a few years old, it may be showing signs of wear like rust, peeling and other downright ugly symptoms of aging. Expertly built above ground pool decks can turn your unattractive and sometimes unsafe swimming pool into a gorgeous family gathering spot you can be proud of.
Since we mentioned it, let’s talk about safety. Even when an above ground pool is brand-new, the fact that you have to climb up a ladder to get in means there is a possibility for injuries. Especially for younger children. These are compounded by the usually unstable and cheaply built ladders that accompany your pool purchase. But a professional deck builder knows exactly how to construct a pool surround that stresses safety, as well as enjoyability.
Bob lives in Dallas County, Texas, and he has been thinking about an outdoor deck for years. Maybe a gazebo or pergola, possibly even an above ground pool deck. But he did some research on the cost to build a deck, and he did not like what he found.
So he is aggravated. He saw somewhere online, he cannot remember where, that for a seasoned professional to build any type of outdoor pressure-treated wood deck he was going to be looking at about $10 per square foot or more not to even include any options.
If he wanted a professional deck builder to use something like Redwood or composite decking, his cost to build a deck shot up to at least $20 per square foot and this didn’t include handrails, benches or steps. Bob’s no mathematician, but he could see things getting expensive really quickly.
The heck with this, Bob thinks, I’ll build one myself!
And so he does.
He goes online to get some decking plans, and has to buy from 3 different companies until he gets his hands on some that are complete, and cover everything. Then he hops in his SUV and heads to the home improvement store.
Bob spends 8 hours on his off day from work, driving back and forth from his home to 2 different stores that are miles apart, just to get everything he needs. Fighting traffic, choking down a fast food lunch, and arguing with store employees who don’t seem to know what they are talking about. Have you checked the cost of tools lately needed to construct a deck?
It’s a beautiful Texas day outside, but Bob has to run around all day when he would usually be relaxing at home or enjoying some time with his grand-kids.
“This sure is beginning to feel like work,” Bob says to himself.
He organizes everything that Saturday evening, as darkness starts to fall, for an early start Sunday morning. He is excited to get to work tomorrow so he can actually see some progress.
Sunday morning comes, and Bob gets started. 12 hours later, in the failing light, he assesses his situation. He has had to pull out splinters from his hands, and the drill he purchased to drive the screws he is using was recommended by the deck plans he purchased, but it just isn’t strong enough.
His back is aching from toting lumber all day, and he calculates that, at this rate, he should be finished in about 10 more weeks. That seems like an eternity, and by then, summer will be over. He also doesn’t look forward to spending every off day working on a project instead of relaxing.
His job is hard and the hours are long, and he sure enjoys taking it easy on the weekends. That is not going to happen anymore if this deck is ever going to be finished.
He starts to calculate his “real” cost to build a deck. Wasted off time, situations arising where he doesn’t know what he is doing, a bad back, no warranty or guarantee for the work after it is completed, and what if he does something wrong and one of his grand-kids gets hurt because of his incompetence?
After cleaning up, Bob tells his pride to go take a hike, and he calls that Dallas deck builder he has heard good things about. The one that built his neighbor’s deck. The deck his neighbor and friends enjoyed a relaxing evening on just next door … while they good-naturedly ribbed Bob and offered comical advice while he was slaving away in the summer heat.
Sound familiar? Well, I hope it doesn’t. Before this happens to you, can I give you a piece of good advice?
The cost to build a deck is not just some “per square foot” number you find online or get from a material calculator. There is a lot more involved. So don’t waste your time, money and energy, not to mention free time. Give us a call today. We will reward your intelligent choice with a no-obligation quote for a deck, patio cover or screened-in project.
And we’ll even throw in 35 years of deck building experience in Collin, Dallas and Rockwell counties absolutely free.
The problem is, we can’t be everywhere at once, and to be totally honest with you, we are in pretty high demand. That’s because we create the deck experience you want, just like it was going up in our own backyard.
We’ll figure the cost to build your deck, pergola, screened-in porch or gazebo and we know you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The earlier you call, the earlier we can come out and meet you, and get started creating the backyard experience of your dreams. You relax, you’ve earned that right. We’ll do all the work, with a guarantee.
Tim has a screened in porch. His next-door neighbor Bob does not. But Tim is envious of Bob nonetheless. You see, Bob has the largest outdoor deck of any homeowner in Dallas, Rockwall and Collin counties. And he is always reminding him of that. Tim is by no means embarrassed about his screened in porch, but the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and that’s exactly where Tim is looking right now.
But wait a minute. What was that? Bob is swinging his hands, swatting at something, and his guests are as well. Looks like a swarm of bloodthirsty bird-sized mosquitoes has descended upon Bob’s party. Half of his guests are moving indoors, and the other half are headed for their cars, shouting hurried goodbyes over their shoulders as they hurry to get out of Dodge.
Just like that, Bob has the largest uninhabited deck for miles around.
And that is when Tim remembers exactly why he opted for a screened in porch rather than an traditional deck. With no more blood buffet next-door, Tim can see the mosquitoes headed for his screened in porch gathering. But it doesn’t matter.
Because he and his guests are safely protected from mosquitoes, wasps, ants and other pests, rain, sleet and anything else that mother nature can throw at them. There is a cool breeze blowing, and Tim’s screened in porch allows him to enjoy that cool evening air with his friends and family, without these wonderful memories being ruined by bugs or bad weather.
Tim hears his front doorbell ringing, bringing him out of his thoughts. “Honey, look who’s here,” Tim’s wife calls out to him from inside his house.
Well, well, it’s Mister “biggest deck in the world” from next-door. “Mind if I join the party?” Bob sheepishly asks.
“Sure thing Bob, pull up a chair,” Tim offers, as he notices several swollen mosquito bites that Bob’s scratching. Bob has been over before, but it looks like he is seeing Tim’s screened in porch for the first time, as he takes it all in.
“I sure could have used one of these tonight,” Bob says, almost as if he is talking to himself.
Tim offers Bob a drink, the two neighbors sit down, and the conversation quickly turns into a detailed discussion about the company that built Tim’s screened in porch.
Tim tells Bob that he can meet the owner of the company tomorrow, since he’s coming over to give him a no obligation estimate on an above ground pool deck to complement Tim’s screened in porch.
Bob thanks his friend, and the two men then join the rest of Tim’s friends and family in what turns out to be a fun-filled and memorable late-night gathering … minus the mosquitoes.
Choosing between a handful of deck builders can be tricky. Heck, even if you have narrowed it down to just 2 possible candidates, you can still flip a coin and make the wrong decision. So just how do you interview prospective deck builders for your backyard project? What questions should you ask?
The following 5 questions are mandatory when choosing from several deck builders for your outdoor living experience project. Ask these questions and follow-up where you can, and you can’t help but choose the right deck builder for your pergola, gazebo, above ground pool deck, screened in porch or backyard deck project.
I don’t know about you, but given similar job estimates, proper licensing and no other way to choose between deck builders, longevity wins. If I am looking for a way to choose between 2 nearly identical deck contractors, I am going to take the company with 35 years of experience over the individual in business for just 10 years.
We mentioned licensing above. And honestly, the first question you should ask your prospective deck contractors is if all their paperwork is in order. Are they licensed to do work in your area? Are they insured properly? Do the employees that will be driving to your job site have valid driver’s licenses? Do not be afraid to ask these questions. And as far as licensing and insurance are concerned, ask to see at least a copy of the paperwork yourself.
The best way to handle this is to work outward from your home’s location. First ask if the deck builders you are interviewing have built any similar projects in your neighborhood. If the answer is no, find out if there are any decks they have built within a few miles of your house. Finally, ask how many outdoor living experiences they have created in your city. Then ask them for the contact information of those customers.
All smart, proud and highly skilled deck builders will take pictures of their final products. Decking contractors are craftsmen, and you could even call them artists. Watch the reaction you get from deck builders when you ask them if they have any pictures to show off their work. You can see genuine pride of ownership in the eyes of a talented and skilled deck builder when he is showing off pictures of his previous creations.
Listen, you understand that things happen. Your life is crazy-busy and hectic. Things sometimes arise out of the blue that you neither anticipated, or planned for. The same thing happens to deck builders with the best of intentions. But that doesn’t mean they should not be able to give you a reasonable estimate of when they will finish your job, give or take a few days.
If you have talked to a deck builder, he may have extolled the virtues of ipe wood decking. Also known as ironwood because of its nearly indestructible nature, this is a truly amazing and beautiful decking choice. But if your contractor did not mention the following 9 reasons why you should choose ipe wood decking for your next outdoor living experience project, maybe you are talking to the wrong decking guy.
Did you know that ipe (pronounced EE-pay) wood carries the same fire rating as concrete and steel?! That is right, this Central and South American wood has been given an ‘A’ fire rating. It also boasts a Janka hardness score of 3,600, meaning it is fireproof and incredibly dense.
Believe it or not, ipe can easily last 50 years, and even more than a century. As far as longevity is concerned, ipe wood decking is the ling of the outdoor living experience.
Not too many deck owners consider the safety of their materials when having a deck built. Ipe wood decking is one of the safest decking options available. Its friction co-efficiency makes it extremely slip-resistant, even when wet. It is so resistant to slipping that it over-qualifies the Americans with Disabilities Act Requirements for safety.
This is just one way in which this incredibly versatile hardwood is friendly to mother nature. The natural, rich oils which resist fungus, mold, rot and boring insects that are found in ipe wood mean that no chemicals need to be added to make your deck beautiful and long-lasting.
This natural wood is simply beautiful. Your ipe deck immediately says “class and luxury”. Let’s face it, you are building your deck for fun and functionality, but you want it to be beautiful as well. The natural olive brown to reddish finish ages to a rich patina of silver grey when left untreated. Your gorgeous IPE deck will be unrivaled in warm, natural beauty, and will draw compliments and looks of envy from your friends and party goers for decades.
Even in brutal Texas weather, ipe wood decking will never crack or warp. That means virtually no maintenance, and no replacement costs.
We mentioned above that ipe wood decking is used in the Atlantic City Boardwalk, and also at Disney World. I am pretty sure your outdoor living project will not get near the wear, tear and traffic that those 2 tourist destinations enjoy every year.
Many California marinas also use ipe exclusively, including San Diego’s Shelter Island Marina and San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. The Coney Island Boardwalk even chose IPE as its decking material of choice. Those are some pretty good testimonials right there. (Did we mention that ipe wood was used in the building of the Panama Canal as well?)
Aside from not needing any chemical treatment, ipe wood decking is environmentally friendly in another regard. Since it lasts for decades, you may never have to replace it. That means a smaller impact on forests over time.
And Dallas Deck Craft is proud to report that the ipe wood we use is certified by the FSC (US Forest Stewardship Council) as a responsibly harvested ‘Green Product’. This means that sustainable and renewable harvesting practices are used so that forests retain their natural value.
Is ipe wood decking more expensive than some other choices? You bet it is … but only up front! This nearly indestructible wood can last 50 years easy, and even more than 100 years in some cases. That delivers what might be the lowest cost-for-life investment of any decking material.
I was fooling around online, and I came across this desk estimator application for a smartphone. You just download the app, punch in all of the measurements and material requirements, including how much materials cost wherever you live, and it spits out your total cost.
And there are some deck estimator applications and calculators that automatically tell you how much material you will need after answering just a few simple questions. Isn’t that cool? As a deck builder of 35 years spent creating outdoor living experiences for my Dallas, Collin and Rockwall county neighbors, I was really impressed.
But then I got to thinking. And I recounted countless situations in my mind where I noticed things that my wonderful clients did not take into account. In many situations, when I revealed what my deck building experience has taught me over the years, the homeowner was delightfully surprised by the estimate I gave him, and by the final cost of the job.
And I am also pretty sure that no deck estimation software or application will provide a guarantee like a professional deck builder will. Also, what happens if the software just decides to “tweak” your numbers because of some computer glitch? I don’t know about you, but I have seen computers and smartphones do some pretty strange things in my life. Basically, how do you know the numbers are right? Only a professional deck builder would know if the results of a nonhuman estimate are anywhere near close to correct.
Technology is great, do not get me wrong. And I have even downloaded some automated software for estimating deck costs myself. But I have also been building traditional decks, intricate pergolas, gorgeous gazebos, screened-in porches and above ground pool decks for most of my adult life. Simple jobs and incredibly extravagant works of art. I have literally “seen it all” in the deck building business.
And I can tell you, you can take 2 identical houses with identical backyards and similar owners, and even if they want matching decks, there are going to be several differences that need to be taken into account. The benefits of having a 35 year deck building veteran that lives and works in your area coming out to your house for a hands-on estimate are plentiful, and not to be underestimated (no pun intended).
Webster’s dictionary tells us that the word estimate, as a noun, is “an approximate calculation or judgment of the value, number, quantity, or extent of something.” Approximate, not precise. And as a verb, estimate means “to roughly calculate or judge the value, number, quantity, or extent of something.” Roughly, not exactly.
That is exactly what any type of non human deck estimator is good for – arriving at a rough or approximate number for cost or amount of materials needed. And not all deck estimator applications are free, so take that into account as well.