27 May Ward Design Decking
A deck, is a deck, is a deck, is a deck, or is it? At WDG, we specialize in building the best landscape installations and yard features available, and we beg to disagree. We often run into customers who do not see the value in spending the small increase in price for a premium deck, when going with a lesser product can mean less expensive up front, so, let’s compare!
The industry standard in most cases is to use a treated 5/4 by 6 round-edged decking on the surface of backyard decks. This material is strong, fairly durable and lightweight. It is also one of the most affordable materials available for residential deck building.
Most of our decks are built of first-grade cedar lumber, composite decking or occasionally ipe a Brazillian hardwood. The cost is considerably more, but for a reason. While the standard 5/4 treated decking depends on a chemical additive to repel water and slow deterioration, cedar has its own rot and pest resistant chemical treatment built right in. That coupled with the open grain and fairly soft wood that dries fast makes it superior in applications where rot and pests are a factor in longevity.
Composite decking is another popular option. In cases where we use composites, high-end composites properly blended so that the wood components do not rot, are used. Several popular commercial brands have had difficulties, but there are good options available, and paying a bit more for a deck that lasts as advertised, does not mildew, and will not rot from the inside out is well worth it.
Many deck companies nail everything for speed. Where it counts, our decks are supported with screwed and bolted joints. Now, most composite decking manufacturers make available hidden fasteners that are very secure and make the finished look superior. In addition, we use joist hangars and cut joints to properly support joists and other framing members.
Where nails and screws are used, only the best powder coated exterior fasteners will do. They last longer, resist discoloration and are stronger than their galvanized and zinc treated counterparts.
While most municipalities allow for larger spacing between joists and other framing members for outdoor decks, Ward will always work to code or better. In cases where composite decking, which is up to thirty percent heavier than wood, is used, the frame members are more closely spaced for added strength. Our joists will never be more than 24 inches apart and are typically spaced at 16 inches on center.
Bolted joints are much stronger where the bolt is driven through and fastened with washers and a nut, than traditional lag bolts, which function more like a screw. Bolted joints not only stay strong longer, they can also be tightened when inevitable shifts, shrinkage, and swelling occur, to maintain a strong frame.
Yes, we probably are higher than at least one bid you will receive if you are shopping price for decks. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding! Our decks will outperform the average deck, sometimes lasting up to a decade, or more, longer than traditional wooden decks. When you compare decks, be sure to ask about the materials, framing, fasteners and other features. If your contractor cannot answer your questions or seems uncomfortable providing you with full information, it is a sure sign that there may be a problem.
Contact Jerry at 405-615-0939 for more information about a Ward Design Group deck, or other landscape construction project.