Material Wood Cedar

The Definitive Guide to Cedar Decking

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Cedar decking is a fantastic choice for any homeowner looking for an elegant and durable outdoor addition to their homes. As a decking lumber, cedar is a magnificent wood that lends a strong hint of the Pacific Northwest to residential and commercial exteriors, what with its cinnamon tones that weather gracefully into a rustic silver and its distinct fragrance that can last for decades.

Cedar wood for decks is not only beautiful; it has unique properties that make it highly resistant against rot, decay, insects and harsh elements. It is dimensionally stable, which means that it stays straight and flat after installation. With its consistent grain and density, it is less likely to cup, warp or twist.

Cedar decks are popular because of their unique and warm aesthetic quality, with a wide variety of hues and grain patterns to choose from. Freshly cut cedar boards are very fragrant and often come in different shades of peach, honey and light brown. When allowed to age, cedar wood will slowly turn into a deep silver gray patina.

A Closer Look at Cedar Decking

Cedar trees are an integral part of the forestry and decking industry and have been so for over a century. The trees are principally grown in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. They can grow up to 200 feet tall and diameter of up to 13 feet. They are known to live for a really long time, with one verified to be 1,460 years old.

While Western Red Cedar is the most popular choice, there are other types of cedar wood available. It is best to consult with a professional deck builder to discuss which type of cedar would work best for your deck building needs and budget. Western Red Cedar is known to be more resistant to rot than its Eastern counterparts. It is lightweight and easy to work with, and its heartwood exhibits minimal shrinkage.

Eastern White Cedar, on the other hand, is not as common as red cedar. It is moderately soft and lightweight and like most cedars, it is naturally resistant to insect infestation and rot. The heartwood has a reddish, light brown tinge that turns darker when exposed. It has an ability to hold nails better and finishes rather well.

Another type of ideal for cedar decking is Atlantic Cedar, which has a distinct aromatic odor and a light brown heartwood. It also has a straight grain and fine texture, easily workable with tools, resistant to decay, holds paint well, shrinks minimally and finishes very smoothly.

Advantages of Cedar Wood for Decks

Cedar has properties that are similar to redwood, mainly because they are closely related, however, cedar is tougher and more flexible than redwood. This means that cedar is less brittle and can flex more without shattering unlike redwood. It also has less density and contains less natural oils so it absorbs and accepts stain much easier. There are many benefits to using cedar in deck building. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

  • Costs—cedar decking prices are considerably lower than redwood and other exotic hardwoods. It is even less expensive than composite decking, although the prices may vary from one region to another.
  • Highly available and abundant—cedar is available in almost all lumber stores in the country. This tree is abundant in forests and its commercial logging is responsibly managed by the government, so that it is very environment friendly.
  • Resilient and reliable—the cedar wood in itself is naturally permeated with particles that make it resistant to moisture, ultraviolet rays, and insect damage. This is why cedar as a species has survived even in moisture-heavy environments.
  • Low and easy maintenance—cedar decks are very easy to maintain. Because the wood has low levels of pitch and resin, it can easily absorb stain or finish.
  • Natural heat insulation—the surface remains cool even in hot days, so the deck is more foot-friendly

Distinguished, elegant and rich—the color of a red cedar decking is unique, deep and luxurious. When freshly cut, the wood takes on an amber or pinkish hue, but by the time it is ready to be used for the deck, it has turned into a reddish brown cinnamon color. You can choose to retain its natural, elegant color with finishes or stains, or you can let it age to a silver grey color for a more rustic feel.

Cedar decks provide both practical and aesthetic benefits to any property and increases its value as a whole. When building a cedar decking, it is important to work with a professional deck contractor who has extensive experience in working with cedar, this way, you would get only the best.

Deck Pool Abaco

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.

Deck Pool Abaco

Abaco Decking

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Getting to Know Abaco Decking: The Elegant Tropical Hardwood

Abaco Decking – Durable, Beautiful, Long-Lasting and Low Maintenance

Abaco decking is an elegant step up in appearance and durability from pressure treated wood and other decking materials. This contemporary European design includes a natural composition which dissipates heat quickly. This means that your deck is cooler on your feet.

Abaco decking is also slip resistant, and can be connected one board to the next in such a way that your fasteners are hidden. This provides a nice high quality look, while also allowing a design which provides natural contraction and expansion without wear and tear.

Abaco Decking Delivers Multiple Benefits with a Competitive Price Tag

Comparatively, the tropical abaco product is competitively priced. Other hardwoods like ipe require a larger investment than abaco. And that same rich, deep mahogany color that ipe delivers is almost perfectly replicated with abaco.

Price and appearance aside, no matter what you spend you expect a long-lasting, low-to-no-maintenance deck. You also do not want to be replacing and repairing your deck every few years because it has rotted, decayed or been eaten alive from the inside out by bugs and insects.

That is exactly what you get with abaco decking. This hardwood has an amazing natural ability to resist rot. It is impervious to termites and other insects. Decay, twisting, splintering and cracking simply do not occur.

As far as strength and durability goes, abaco is incredibly resilient. Simply put, abaco decking makes for a wonderful, sturdy, safe and beautiful outdoor living experience that lasts for years.

Abaco Decking is Friendly to the Environment

The last few decades, homeowners around the world have become more environmentally conscious. If taking care of the planet is important to you, abaco decking meshes perfectly with your belief system. Since this is an all-natural wood, it never needs to be chemically treated.

That means while you are enjoying your family and friends, creating wonderful lifetime memories on your beautiful abaco deck, you are acting in an environmentally responsible manner as well.

Abaco Decking Delivers an Excellent Fire Rating

And abaco tropical hardwoods are dried in a kiln for exterior use. This special process, combined with the natural qualities of this beautiful, long-lasting hardwood, leaves abaco decking with a better fire rating than cedar and redwood. Virtually maintenance free when compared to pressure treated decking, abaco offers many benefits to you, the homeowner dreaming of creating the perfect outdoor living experience.

DallasDeckCraft.com has been helping satisfied home owners create timeless memories for 35 years. If you live in the Dallas, Texas Metropolitan area, or Collin or Rockwall counties, give us a call today. We can answer any questions you may have about abaco decking, and provide you with an attractive, quote at your convenience. We would love to add you to the long list of happy clients we have created unique, one-of-a-kind outdoor living experiences for, so give us a call today at 214-384-4267 and we can get started on your abaco decking project as soon as possible.

Screened Porch

Screened Porches

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The Advantages of Screened Porches over Traditional Decks

Thinking about building a deck, but also considering a screened porch as a complement to your current patio? Decks and other outdoor living areas provide, dollar for dollar, an outstanding return on investment. The cost of your home usually appreciates by the cost of your outdoor edition, and the good times and memories you create are priceless.

But remember that old saying? You know, how everything is bigger in Texas? Well that includes those bird-sized Dallas mosquitoes. And you may have the most beautiful and spacious outdoor deck, porch or patio in the world.

But if you have to retreat inside when darkness falls, or you and your friends are constantly swinging and swatting at mosquitoes and other flying pests while you are trying to have a good time, considering screened porches makes a lot of sense.

If you sat down and made a list of exactly what the perfect outdoor entertainment center would have, it might look something like this:

  • A mosquito and bug-free area
  • Lighting to keep the good times going after nightfall
  • Ceiling fans to cut through the stifling Dallas humidity
  • A big-screen TV and music system
  • Plenty of room for dining and seating

All of these things can be accomplished with the addition of a screened porch. And when you integrate a beautiful and rugged wood like rough cedar into its construction, you create an attractive and durable screened porch, patio or deck that will keep the bugs out and the wonderful memories going for years.

Also, while outdoor decks in the open air are certainly enjoyable, they cannot provide many of the benefits that screened porches offer. Looking through the short list of desirable outdoor entertainment features we mentioned above proves this.

If you want a television or stereo to accompany you on your deck, you have to take it outside and bring it back in every time you use it. And when night comes, that is often times the end of your outdoor entertainment. The screened porches offer the ability to add ceiling fans to improve your environment, lighting to keep you going long after it gets dark, and a bug-free area for so many activities.

Also, a lot of people don’t know that seasoned deck builders and other craftsmen with years of experience providing you with unforgettable outdoor memories also know a lot about screened porches. Did you know that there are literally dozens of types of screen to choose from? What is the best type for your particular situation?

These are questions best answered by a professional deck builder and screened porch veteran. With several decades of outdoor entertainment center building experience, we would like to help you craft the perfect screened porch for your home.

As Dallas area professional deck builders, we know how much enjoyment and priceless bug-free rewards we have received from our own screened porches. So when you call us today, we will give you a quote that will get you started towards reaping the many benefits that screened porches have over traditional decks.

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Above Ground Pool Decks

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Above Ground Pool Decks Turn an Ordinary Pool into a Beautiful and Versatile Outdoor Living and Lounging Center

Above ground pool decks make so much sense for a number of reasons. Your old above ground pool just isn’t what it used to be. At a fraction of the cost of an in-ground pool, you made a wise financial decision. And with an average daily temperature more than 10 degrees higher than the rest of the United States, that cool, refreshing pool is sometimes a real lifesaver.

But the sides are starting to show wear and tear, and if you had to be honest with yourself, it is just downright unappealing looking. If you are not ready to install an in-ground pool, due to the extreme cost or other reasons, maybe an above ground pool deck is the answer. This way, you get the best of both worlds.

You get the convenience and ease of use of an in-ground pool, and the low cost of an above ground pool. And you may be surprised at just how quickly and inexpensively a professional Dallas deck builder can construct a beautiful and versatile above ground pool deck which will make you the envy of the neighborhood.

Above Ground Pool Decks Expand Your Outdoor Living Options

By building a natural or composite deck around your pool, you extend its capabilities. Now you own more than just an unattractive and elevated swimming hole. You can create an outdoor centerpiece with a lounging area, make room for a barbecue, and install built-in seating.

And when your professional deck builder has years of experience in creating above ground pool decks for your very neighborhood and the surrounding Dallas Metro area, you get a well-made and long-lasting product.

Think about it. You can finally get rid of that rickety old ladder hanging from the side of your pool. Not only does it look bad, but it can be unsafe as well. How about some gorgeous, built-in steps that the lead your eyes and your footsteps right up to the inviting water that promises to wash away your stress and troubles?

It is a lot easier, and safer, to walk up five or six sturdy, durable and wide deck steps than it is to climb into your elevated pool the way you are doing it now.

Look, a pool is an extravagance, not a necessity. You bought it because you and your family and friends deserve and enjoy relaxing and splashing around at the end of a long day or work week. So reward yourself further, and transform your simple and boring pool into a multi-use backyard living and lounging space with an above ground pool deck.

A swimming pool provides a permanent vacation atmosphere. No matter how frustrating or rough your day is, you know your pool is right there to wash away the blues. So why not raise the level of your family’s outdoor experience with an above ground pool deck?

When you call us for an estimate, you get the benefit of our decades of experience building all types of Dallas above ground pool decks. So give us a ring right now, and we will be happy to turn your unattractive and plain backyard pool into a versatile outdoor living center that will make every day a vacation.

Deck Repairs

Deck Repairs

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Deck Repair Reminder – Don’t Let This Happen to You!

“I didn’t know I needed deck repair that badly!” Well, you sure as heck know it now. Because you just dropped $100 worth of steak when your foot went crashing through your deck. You have barbecue sauce all over your new shirt, and your spouse is about to pass out from laughing at you. It is bad enough that your dogs are scarfing down the food intended for your friends, but what’s worse is, they are going to be here any minute!

At the end of a long, stressful week, you were just looking forward to some relaxing and well-deserved fun with your friends and family on your deck. So you invited a bunch of friends over, and told them you would be supplying the food.

You have so many fond memories of incredible times spent on your deck. And you were all set to create some more memorable events. And to make it worse, your spouse has been nagging you about checking to see if you needed any deck repairs.

Are there any damaged or loose deck boards that need replacing? Don’t you think it needs to be refinished? Why don’t you call a professional deck builder and get an estimate on any deck repairs that are needed? Nag, nag, nag. Well, you have to admit they were right, and you should have listened.

You wanted to be the envy of your friends and family, and instead you ended up a red-faced laughing-stock. And you want to know the worst part? All this could have been avoided.

Get a Deck Repair Specialist to Give you an Estimate

No matter the time of year, it is always the right time to implement some safe and smart deck repairs. The cost of building or repairing a deck is almost 100% replaced by the improvement in home resale value. And while many deck repairs can be taken on by the DIY weekend warrior, do you really have the time? Wouldn’t you rather be lounging on your deck than working on it?

You would probably be surprised at how quickly and inexpensively deck repairs can be implemented by a seasoned deck building pro. And in the Dallas Metro area, over 4 inches more rain falls each year than in the rest of the great state of Texas. That means you really need to stay on top of wooden deck repairs, whether you handle them yourself or get a professional deck contractor involved.

And if you’re worried about deck repair costs, you shouldn’t be. When you get a pro involved with decades of experience working on above ground pool decks, screened porch decks and decks constructed from all types of materials, your beautiful deck lasts longer, and you end up spending less money in the long run.

Besides, what if one of your friends would have had the accident you just did? Aside from feeling horribly, you could wind up with bad feelings and a tarnished friendship. And heck, while you are toiling away at your job, a deck repair professional can be returning your outdoor entertainment center to its former glory.

Whether you are in Dallas, Rockwall or Collin counties or anywhere else in the Dallas Metro area, give us a call. We are proud deck owners just like you, and we want your deck to be safe and beautiful. We would be honored to give you a deck repair cost estimate, and we know that you will be pleasantly surprised with what you hear.

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The Definitive Guide to Ipe Decking

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What is Ipe Decking?

For the discerning Dallas, Rockwall and Collin county homeowner and the perceptive deck builder, ipe decking is the best choice. Why? As a finished product, it is rich, resilient, and beautiful. As a material, ipe is naturally resistant to rot, abrasion, insects, molds and extreme weather. It is also flame-resistant, and it does not float. This beautiful exotic lumber is up to 5 times harder and 2 times denser than other hardwoods, and yes, it is harder than nails.

It is a primary choice for builders and interior designers and you will find this tropical hardwood in first-class commercial projects and upscale homes all over the world. In fact, that’s ipe hardwood you see outside the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas, the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk and also the boardwalks of Disney World and Coney Island.

Ipe: A Closer Look

Ipe (pronounced as ee-pay) is commonly found in South and Central America, specifically in the Brazilian rainforests. These trees can grow up to 150 feet tall with a diameter of 6 inches. It is also called as Brazilian walnut and ironwood (in reference to its toughness).

Ipe wood has the same A-1 fire rating as steel and concrete, which means that it is highly flame-resistant compared to other woods. It has also been awarded the highest decay resistance rating of High 50+ Years, although the material can actually last longer. It is ideal for outdoor decking especially in areas with extreme weather conditions such as Dallas, Texas.

Benefits of Using Ipe Decking

Aside from the facts stated above, here are some more reasons why deck construction professionals choose ipe wood for outdoor decking.

  • Resistant to sliver, splinters and scratches
  • Resistant to termites, fungi, and decay
  • Slip-resistant
  • Very low maintenance
  • Fire-resistant
  • Can withstand extreme weather conditions such as those seen in Dallas, Texas
  • Highly resilient (can last more than half a century)
  • Ipe materials have a distinctly beautiful coloration and graining that ranges from light olive brown to dark chocolate brown

Building with Ipe

Aside from decking, there are close to limitless possibilities for which ipe can be used. Some of these are:

  • Boardwalks
  • Porches
  • Furniture
  • Flooring
  • Gazebos
  • Fences
  • Cabinetry
  • Siding

How to Work with Ipe

While ipe presents so many benefits when used for decking, many builders find it quite challenging to work with. With the right tools, however, ipe decking wood is a great material to use.

Ipe is like redwood, it has natural oils that keep insects out and it is ideal because it is highly resistant to molds, mildew and decay. However, ipe also has a high tannin content that makes it difficult to paint or finish. It is not as malleable as other woods, either, so it is not suitable for intricate woodworking.

Here are some tips to help a deck builder get the most out of ipe.

Application—air dried ipe wood is best for outdoor use. For indoor projects, kiln-dried ipe is better to avoid cracking or warping.

Drilling—it is highly recommended that you use high-quality drill bits to drill into the wood. Ipe is very hard, so you would need to pre-drill before attaching pieces together.

Cutting—to prevent splinters when cutting, it is best to use carbide saw blades.

Installation—use stainless steel screws or hidden fasteners when attaching pieces together. Installation is a vital part in making sure that decking problems are avoided. Ensure that the deck boards are properly straightened and the right fastening systems are used. And don’t rush the process!

Finishing—because this kind of wood has an abundance of natural oils, water and oil based finishing won’t produce the best results. It is therefore recommended that you test apply different products on some sample boards to achieve the desired results.

Whether you are a deck builder or a homeowner, you will surely appreciate the many benefits of using ipe decking wood. It is durable, resilient, beautiful, and meant to last for generations.

Deck Patio Pressure-Treated Pine Bench

The Definitive Guide to Pressure-Treated Decking

Why Pressure-Treated Decking?

Pressure-treated decking is very popular and can be found at many homes in the Dallas Metro area, but many of us know very little about this favored outdoor building material. Read on and be informed on everything that you need to know about pressure-treated wood deck and whether it should be your choice for your next decking project.

Pressure-treated decks are used in millions of homes all over the United States and has been around for more than 50 years in the building industry. It is sold in most lumber outlets in the country and is a favorite among builders and homeowners alike for its features and benefits.

Pressure-Treated Wood: A Closer Look at the Facts

According to statistics, more than 75% of all the decks in the US are built partially or entirely with pressure-treated wood. They are used for beams, posts and joists mainly for their structural strength and it’s natural ability to endure against ground-contact deterioration.

Pressure-treated decking uses a softwood lumber material—usually southern yellow pine decking—that has been chemically treated to withstand decay, termites and rot. It has a natural wood appearance, resilient and highly available. Being very economical, it is also the best choice for homeowners who are looking to build decks for less.

It is called “pressure treated” because of the process it undergoes before it is sold. The pine boards are placed into huge pressurized cylindrical tanks called “retort”. These chambers are sealed airtight and they contain chemical preservatives that are then forced into the very fiber of the wood under extreme pressure, resulting to exterior-grade wooden boards that are ideal for deck building and other woodworking projects.

Benefits of Pressure-Treated Decking

Pressure-treated wood deck is ideal for areas where the weather can be unpredictable and harsh, such as parts of Texas like Plano. Properly treated wood is a much less expensive option and offers a lot of benefits including a really long life span, to the tune of 40 years or more.

Here are some of the advantages to using pressure-treated decking.

  • Longevity—treated wood is highly resistant to damage caused by fungal decay, borers, and rot. This is why many manufacturers offer warranties of up to 40 years for pressure-treated wood products.
  • Grade Varieties—pressure-treated decking is available in a wide variety of lumber grades to suit the user’s needs, such as knot-free grades and close-grained grades. The lumber is distinguished into grades by checking the knots, grain angle, decay, damage warp and wane of the wood. The grades will let the user know if it is structurally sound for a particular application or environment.
  • Low Maintenance—unlike its exotic counterparts, pressure-treated wood decking requires a little more maintenance. As with any other deck, regular cleaning is very important. It is important to note that while the wood has chemicals that will protect it from rot and termites, moisture damage is still slightly possible. To prevent this, the deck should be maintained with an annual coating of high-quality weather sealant with water repellant and a ultraviolet block to help retain its appearance and longevity. Semi-transparent stain can be included with the above and really brings out the beautiful characteristics of treated pine.
  • Environmentally Friendly—you won’t have to worry about depleting the environment with your option, because pressure-treated decking is environmentally friendly and comes from renewable, plentiful and fast-growing types of wood that are grown on managed timberlands. The preservatives used are typically manufactured from EPA-approved chemicals.
  • Versatile and Pliant—working with pressure-treated decking is easier than exotic wood. It also has a unique cellular structure that exceptionally holds stains, paints and sealants after an initial weathering period of 4-6 weeks to allow the wood to dry so that it will absorb the sealant better and therefore last longer.

Working with Pressure-Treated Decking

First off, to make sure that your deck is built with the right kind of pressure-treated wood, you should check the label or stamp of the boards and verify the chemical retention level. The higher the number, the more resistant the wood will be against rot and termites.

There is a recommended retention level for each environment and application. For instance, the UC3B category with retention levels of 0.25–0.40 is ideal for decking that is intended for an environment where it will be exposed to prolonged wetting and different weather cycles.

In building a pressure-treated wood deck, lumber manufacturers highly recommend using only hot-dipped galvanized screws, nails, bolts, connectors and anchors. It is also important to remember that wood treatments cause corrosion to aluminum components.

The wood is treated with chemicals, so the builder or homeowner is reminded to wear gloves at work, and to thoroughly wash up before drinking or eating. Safety goggles and a dust mask should also be worn when drilling, cutting or sanding the wood.

You should never cut pressure-treated lumber in an enclosed space, only outdoors, and you should never burn it.

Before painting or staining, pressure-treated decking must be allowed to dry through. The best way to test this is to sprinkle water on the surface of the wood. If it beads up, this means that the wood is still too wet and must be dried further before a weather sealant/stain is applied. If the water is absorbed easily, it means that the wood is ready.

Deck Pool Abaco

The Definitive Guide to Red Balau Decking

Red Balau Decking

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 Decking: A Closer Look

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.

Red Balau Hardwood Advantages

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:

  • Highly resistant to decay of any kind, even when exposed to harsh outdoor elements for extended periods of time.
  • Red balau decking price is almost less than half of other exotic hardwoods, primarily because of its availability.
  • It is highly sustainable. Production of red balau decking materials are managed and there are stringent standards in place to ensure that the environment is not harmed.
  • Balau is a popular boat and high-end yacht decking material, which means that it can withstand being exposed to the sun, sea and harsh winds.
  • It is shrinkage resistant.
  • It is not prone to splintering and checking.
  • Balau hardwood comes in different sizes to suit a variety of building applications.
  • It is also fire-resistant with a Class-A fire rating.
  • It is 4 times harder than redwood.
  • Very low maintenance.

Working with Red Balau Hardwood

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.

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The Definitive Guide to Redwood Decking

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Redwood Decking

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.

Redwood: A Closer Look

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.

Benefits of Redwood

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:

  • Highly fire resistant. Redwood was credited for limiting the 1906 Great Fire of San Francisco.
  • Rot and bug resistant. The heartwood is rich in oils that repel borers such as termites and carpenter ants.
  • Environmentally sustainable. According to Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials or CORRIM, redwood uses 95% less energy to produce compared to other materials such as plastics and composites.
  • Delivers natural durability and beauty. The wood’s natural tinge that ranges from light pinkish brown to a deep red-brown gives any deck a luxurious and elegant feel, not found in any other wood.
  • Can easily maintain its structural integrity. Even with easy maintenance, redwood stays stable and strong and resistant against warping, checking and shrinking.
  • It is heat-resistant. Even during summer, redwood stays cool underfoot, which makes it ideal for places with hot weather such as Rockwall, Texas.
  • Redwood can be restored repeatedly. Restorations and refinishing jobs require minimal cost and effort.
  • Things to Remember When Working with Redwood

    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.