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Dottie

Front Deck materials... recommendations?

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I have a front deck that is rotting out and unfortunately the main entrance to the house uses it.  When we bought this house, it was clear the previous owner slopped some synthetic coating over it as to not expose the poor planks underneath.  We knew it had to be replaced but it's giving out faster than either my wife or I thought.  Since I've got my hands full with my career and retrofitting my foundation in the back, I'm going to hire a contractor to do this job.  It seems like the main material used to surface the deck by those that have come out and  made bids so far are pushing either composite or cedar planks.  Well, I can't afford a nice composite deck.  If I want to drop that kind of money, it's going on my roof and not my deck.

On the surface, this seems to lock us into cedar.  But surely there must be other options out there?  Don't get me wrong, I understand the benefits of cedar and probably will swing that way. I'm just trying to figure out if there are any viable alternatives out there.   To match the curb side appeal, we probably are going to have to stain it -- not my first choice for cedar -- but that's what we are going to do. And I'll probably redo the railings too as they aren't up to code.  But that obviously will factor in to how much money I want to spend.

 

Anybody have any thoughts, recommendations?

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28 minutes ago, Dottie said:

ping

I got nothin’.

 

I used Azek for the front steps and the back deck, and the front deck is going to get the same treatment.

 

It’s only money.

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7 minutes ago, maddmaxx said:

Thanks. I should have been clear the third option is out.

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3 minutes ago, Dottie said:

Thanks. I should have been clear the third option is out.

Mine was here when I bought the house in 86 and I've kept it going with paint these last few years.  When stained they don't look bad and are usually the best price.  Elsewise just cough up the coin or learn to be a carpenter.

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2 minutes ago, donkpow said:

I wouldn't go with cedar. It's a soft wood and I wouldn't expect it to take traffic well.

People go with cedar because of the color and because they want to go untreated wood for "pretty".  Pretty expensive too.

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53 minutes ago, maddmaxx said:

Mine was here when I bought the house in 86 and I've kept it going with paint these last few years.  When stained they don't look bad and are usually the best price.  Elsewise just cough up the coin or learn to be a carpenter.

So you have had success painting the pressure treated stuff? That's what I'm building my firewood platform out back with. But I have no intention to paint it. The front needs to be -- ugh -- white.

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47 minutes ago, donkpow said:

I wouldn't go with cedar. It's a soft wood and I wouldn't expect it to take traffic well.

Certainly durability comes into play here as well. I have concerns too because they all want to go with 1" top planks. I want 2".

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52 minutes ago, donkpow said:

Yes, expensive. 

More expensive than $50 for a 12 footer? (And that’s the “cheap” color. The ones I used for the “picture frame” around the outside were $75 ea). Only about $1500 for decking a 12 x 12 deck.

And the screws were a bargain at only $150 a box!

 

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25 minutes ago, Dottie said:

So you have had success painting the pressure treated stuff? That's what I'm building my firewood platform out back with. But I have no intention to paint it. The front needs to be -- ugh -- white.

Cedar doesn't take paint well.

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25 minutes ago, Dottie said:

Certainly durability comes into play here as well. I have concerns too because they all want to go with 1" top planks. I want 2".

2" thick deck planks??????

No fn wonder you are needing a second mortgage.  If you want reasonable prices you have to be reasonable.

Painting pressure treated wood:  https://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-paint-pressuretreated-wood

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If you are going to have to stain or paint just use fir. Not PT. PT is typically cr*p wood. It twists and cracks and won't hold paint well. 

You could take a look at Ipe. That's harder wood, but $$$. Also is pretty when you can see the grain. Sort of a waste to paint over it. I'm not a fan of the composites. 

And 1" should be fine as long as the frame/support is in good shape. If the frame is in contact with the ground that is the place for PT

Maybe go next door and ask what they use?

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...one of the ways I used to decide whether to use a contractor on stuff like this was whether their hourly rate was more than I was getting paid.  If so, I mostly did it myself.

If it were me, even if I were reluctant to pop for composite decking, I'd still be thinking about the regular maintenance you need to do for any kind of wood decking, especially where the weather is like where you live. If youi go with fir or cedar you're still gonna need to sand it down and restain and reseal it every 4-5 years.

 

Have you really looked at the overall condition of the deck ? Lots of times people replace entire decks because that's what contractors bid on.  Some decks just need to have the stuff that's bad/rotten ripped out, and patched back together with new wood in the proper dimensional standard, then sanded and resealed.  Unless your whole support structure is compromised, this usually turns out cheaper.

 

Another option is design and build something smaller (using less material, so cheaper), so that you can still get to your front door.  I'm not a big deck fan.  My brother in law has one up at Tahoe on his rental house and it's a PIA, always needing something done to it every few years.  All I do with my cement patio out back is sweep it sometimes.

 

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2 hours ago, maddmaxx said:

2" thick deck planks??????

No fn wonder you are needing a second mortgage.  If you want reasonable prices you have to be reasonable.

Painting pressure treated wood:  https://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-paint-pressuretreated-wood

I told you what I want. I didn't say I was going to get it. :)

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2 hours ago, Further said:

You might have to beef up the support structure, but concrete holds up well

No support structure is fine.

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8 minutes ago, donkpow said:

Pallet-Stairs-Ideas.jpg

It's structural with that brace. Nice 6-12 stair ratio.Handrail is a bit of an issue. Builder told him will install before occupancy.  Code ruling? Pass

Edited by Scrapr
I cheated on the handrail

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54 minutes ago, Dottie said:

He wants composite. :)

...everyone who has scraped, sanded, stained, and sealed a deck wants composite.

Seriously, just build yourself a nice entry porch with a roof hanging off the wall there.  Make the stairs out of block and concrete.

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1 hour ago, Goat Geddah said:

Maybe that's why you've been divorced twice.

 

...oh wait, you said deck.  Never mind.

...it's just that much more to wash, Cheddar.  You'll figure it out eventually.

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38 minutes ago, Page Turner said:

...everyone who has scraped, sanded, stained, and sealed a deck wants composite.

Seriously, just build yourself a nice entry porch with a roof hanging off the wall there.  Make the stairs out of block and concrete.

This may be the way to go.  ??

We built a deck on our house about 30 years ago. We used pressure treated lumber. It is still in great shape. We never stained or painted it; HoSmudge will water/cleaner blast in once in a while and then reseal it. Thompson's Water Seal. Still looks really good. We built it ourselves.

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6 hours ago, maddmaxx said:

Just had time to read this. Good comparison article.

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When I replaced my back deck and stairs I used standard treated deck board.  I pressure wash it when it gets ratty looking and it comes back looking almost as good as new.  It's not expensive, and when it does get a little older I can still use that 4X deck paint like I did on the dock walkway and it will last a lot longer.  

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You are on the Wet Coast?  Look at doing duradek if it available there.  It is the cheapest option and really popular here and seems to hold up fairly well in the wet winter months.  But don't ask me, I went composite and it was well worth the extra money.  It if five years old and still looks brand new

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I was trying to decide between solid vinyl and composite and my contractor said the vinyl looked good but he had never worked with it. He said he uses composit all the time and that’s what we went with for our back deck the whole way across the back of our house and out to the pool. It is 52 inches off the ground. For the front porch he wanted to use the same stuff.  I told him just skip the front porch for now and I’ll cement it in the spring. I used concrete with forta-fiber. It is ground level the whole way across the front of the house.  The contractor built the roof over the front and back. That was over 15 years ago. Both look good.

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While wood/composite boards are conventional, with the structure OK, quick and easy would be 4x8 exterior ply. Either seal/paint with with a bag of anti-skid sand, or use as a subfloor and cover over with weather proof material.

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Here's the breakdown.  We have always wanted composite.  We are now thinking about composite.  The only reason we are debating not going composite is price.  Yes, it's so worth it in the long run.... but we are also not sure how long we are going to be here.  This house purchase was a vertical for us but we want to downsize to a rambler if possible within the next couple years.  The only reason we didn't get that the first time around is the inventory in this market.  Finding a 1300+ sqft. 3 bedroom rambler in this market is incredibly tough.  Our house has already appreciated over 20% in the first year since we bought.  And even if we don't sell, we'll dig having a deck we'll realistically have for the rest of our lives with almost zero maintenance.  But here's my question:

If we decide to sell in the next 3 years, for example, would the (again hypothetical number) $10K on a deck be worth it?  I'm not sure how much -- if anything -- we'd see on that return at sell time.

The two things holding me back really boil down to these 3 things:  1) Cost.  I can go into debt to pay it (probably about a year and a half to pay it off) off but things are getting a little more interesting at my company and there have been a lot of changes -- no slam dunk that I'll be around another year.  2) If I plan to sell, resurfacing the deck at a cost of $2500 makes a lot of sense, and 3) my roof will probably need replacing in 5 -7 years. So there's that.

 

Either way, the deck needs to be fixed.  It's already unsafe.

 

 

Also -- Wilbur -- could you please gift me $10K so I can rid myself of this troublesome affair?  My wife would appreciate it.  Thanks.

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28 minutes ago, Longjohn said:

Mr. Haney built his entire house out of sucker wood and it held up pretty well.:whistle:

Mr. Haney?  Sucker wood?  Any relationship to you?

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So you guys in favor of me just buying the good shit and just STFU?  Even if it's going to take me a full year+ to pay it off and continue paying off a debt that has already been accrued?

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24 minutes ago, Dottie said:

So you guys in favor of me just buying the good shit and just STFU?  Even if it's going to take me a full year+ to pay it off and continue paying off a debt that has already been accrued?

Unless you can fix it with duck tape.

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10 hours ago, Angelic Zephyr said:

You are on the Wet Coast?  Look at doing duradek if it available there.  It is the cheapest option and really popular here and seems to hold up fairly well in the wet winter months.  But don't ask me, I went composite and it was well worth the extra money.  It if five years old and still looks brand new

You are the second Canadian who opted for duradek.

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...I doubt you'll see much if any return on your deck repairs when you sell.  But that is the case whatever you spend on it, so the real difference between the price of whatever and the price of composite is what you're talking about....and you really ought to get at least three bids on a job like this one. Anyway, it's not like the entire cost of composite decking is what you are not getting back when and if you sell.

And it might very well increase the market valuation for sales purposes if you point it out to the realtor and the assessor.  Just not by as much as you spent on it.

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37 minutes ago, Dottie said:

You are the second Canadian who opted for duradek.

Not me.  I went composite.  Duradek is what is common here, and inexpensive compared the cedar and composite

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8 minutes ago, Angelic Zephyr said:

Not me.  I went composite.  Duradek is what is common here, and inexpensive compared the cedar and composite

Duradek is cheaper than composite?  Why?

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