While composite decking is on the rise, a vast majority of decks in Maryland are still covered with pressure-treated wood. And when it comes to structural elements, such as posts, joists and beams, the use of pressure-treated lumber is almost 100%. At North American Deck and Patio, almost every deck we build uses some pressure-treated wood elements. Is a wooden deck the right choice for you? Use this info to weigh in all the pros and cons, and don’t hesitate to call us with any questions! We’ve built decks throughout Maryland including Howard County, Montgomery County, Baltimore, and Anne Arundel County.
Benefits of Pressure-Treated Wood
- Lower upfront cost
- Beautiful natural color and grain
- Doesn’t get too hot under the sun
- Can be stained or painted to achieve any desired color
Downsides of Pressure-Treated Wood
Pressure-treated wood is real wood, which means it will react to moisture, sunlight, and temperature. It will contract, expand, warp, and can even split and crack if it wasn’t properly installed. No matter how well you maintain your deck, wood will eventually fall apart and your deck may become unsafe. Also, compared to composite and other plastic-based decking materials, PT wood is not the most eco-friendly choice.
How Pressure-Treated Wood is Made
It starts with wood harvested from such tree species as Southern Yellow Pine and Douglas Fir. This wood is then placed in a pressurized cylinder where it is infused with a variety of chemicals and preservatives. The idea is to enhance the natural qualities of wood to make it more resistant to the elements, especially moisture and rot. This pressure treatment process makes natural wood more suitable for outdoor use, as well as provides protection from termites and other insects. Pressure-treated wood is expected to decay much slower than its non-treated counterparts.
How to Maintain Your Wooden Deck
While pressure-treated lumber may be tougher than non-treated wood, it needs the same type of care. This care involves washing and sealing your deck annually to help it last longer. Here is how you do it:
- Sweep your deck to remove any visible debris
- Hose the deck down to get rid of dust
- Apply a deck cleaner as instructed and let it sit a bit to break down ground-in dirt
- Rinse the deck and allow it to dry for 2 days
- Apply a clear sealer or toner
If your deck was painted or stained and the color is slowly chipping off, it may be time to repaint or re-stain your wooden deck. There are semi-transparent and solid stains you can use to give your deck a facelift. But be sure to remove every last piece of the flaking finish first to make sure the new finish lasts.
Are you OK with maintenance requirements and want to start building your own pressure-treated wood deck? Give us a call or contact online for a consultation.