Whatcom County deck with built-in curved bench

Decks, even when constructed of man-made materials, need regular maintenance, although composite materials require less attention, but don’t be fooled; they still need to be cleaned at least yearly.

When should you replace a wood deck? With our wet weather and many overcast days, decks have a harder life in Whatcom County than in sunnier parts of the country. Rot and insect damage will reduce the life of a wood deck. Signs that your deck is at the end of its life may be spongy decking when walked on, railing posts that are weak or loose, and nails and screws that do not hold when attached.

Location and design of a new deck: decide what you want in a deck, and what its usage will be. Will you be giving parties on the deck? Then you probably want a large deck, with good access to the kitchen. Will it be only a few inches off the ground, or much higher, such as off a second floor? You may need to include a structural engineer to permit any deck built above a certain height. Another big decision is the materials you want in your deck.

One of the least costly and most used materials for building a deck is pressure treated lumber. If you would like a premium looking wood deck that will hold up better than pressure treated lumber you may want to look into Cedar or Redwood. Imported hardwoods such a Ipe or Mahogany are more costly but tend to be very durable and used in many high-end deck projects.

If you are looking for a relatively maintenance free deck then man-made materials may be best for you. Trex, one of the oldest and well known, and Evergrain decking are popular products with a large variety of colors and styles to choose from. TimberTech and Fiberon are also two others worth mentioning.

How about railings, stairs and a covering – roof, maybe? Decks can be simple on the ground structures, or complex, multi-level with roofing. It depends only on your desires and your budget!