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Home Services: Decks / Porches

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Better Homes & Gardens Home Services: Decks / Porches

Decks and porches are an extension of your home that allow you to take advantage of the beauty of the outdoors. The perfect backdrop for grilling and hosting parties, a spacious deck or welcoming porch allows you to extend the footprint of your home. If you’re looking to replace, repair, or build a new deck or porch, Better Homes & Gardens Home Services has the resources to help your dream project come to life.

While replacing a deck or porch is no small feat, Better Homes & Gardens Home Services can help you plan ahead so the process goes smoothly. Simply tell us a bit about your project and you’ll be connected with local deck contractors who can install or repair the deck or porch for your home.

Planning a New Deck: Installation

If you’re planning a new deck to host your annual Fourth of July party, or if you need to replace your forlorn front porch, you likely have an end date in mind to complete your project. Deck construction and installation takes a lot of planning, measuring, material knowledge, and expertise. We recommend leaving deck installation to a professional. With Better Homes & Gardens Home Services, complete the form and you’ll receive up to four free quotes from deck contractors in your area.

Better Homes & Gardens Tip: Whether you’re planning a raised deck, a multi-level deck, or a single-level deck, it’s important to map out exactly how large you intend your deck to be. Before you start your project, use yarn and lawn stakes to mark out the area to identify how much of your yard you plan to use. Your contractor can help you make adjustments from this starting point or make recommendations based on how you intend to use your brand new deck.

Wood Deck Materials: What You Need to Know for Installation and Maintenance

Depending on your decking needs and budget, the recommended building material you should use for building your deck will vary. Typically, wood deck materials will cost less than vinyl or composite decking, but wood will last for years if maintained properly. Keep your wood deck clean by rinsing it a couple of times a year and enlist the help of a contractor to repaint or stain it every three to four years. Different types of wood deck material include the following:

Redwood is a classic wood deck material that is naturally rot resistant. The maintenance of redwood is simple, requiring just a clear sealer applied twice a year. Available readily on the West Coast and at home improvement stores across the country, redwood is known for its reddish hue. If budget is a constraint, ask your contractor about using alternate wood like pretreated lumber for your deck framing, as redwood is typically the most expensive wood decking material.

Cedar is a premium wood deck material known for its strength, durability, and ability to resist rot and pests. Unlike other wood building materials, cedar has the ability to change its moisture level, making it less susceptible to cracking and warping. A cedar deck is expected to last about 20 years if maintained properly. Unless a sealer is applied, cedar will weather to a warm gray.

Cypress is a rot-resistant wood deck material. Because it is not as strong as other wood deck materials, ask your contractor about using it for the top decking materials and opting to use pressure-treated lumber to build the frame.

Pressure-treated lumber is widely available and affordable. You’ll be able to recognize this type of wood due to the typical green cast of the new lumber which weathers to a silvery gray. Pressure-treated lumber is also available prestained to look like cedar and redwood.

There are more wood decking options than we can list here, and all the choices can get overwhelming! Not to mention different types of wood decks will require different treatments and maintenance routines. Find a deck contractor with Better Homes & Gardens Home Services who can help you navigate all the options so you can get the best deck for your home. Is your existing deck in need of a little TLC? A professional can help restain and maintain your deck and complete any necessary deck repairs.

Synthetic Deck Materials: The Low-Maintenance Deck Option

If you’re looking for low-maintenance deck materials, synthetic deck materials might be the best option for you.

Plastic lumber is made from recycled materials like milk jugs and grocery bags, and it is available in a rainbow of colors (or it can also be painted). While it does not absorb moisture, it expands and contracts due to temperature variations and requires siding clips. With Better Homes & Gardens Home Services, you’ll find a professional who can install this material for optimal longevity.

Vinyl lumber is made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), is available in fewer color options (typically white, gray, brown, or tan), and mimics the texture of wood’s graning. Vinyl lumber requires regular cleaning with soap and water — and sometimes a little elbow grease — but can stand up to insects, mold, and mildew. The maintenance is minimal (no staining or sealing required).

Let Better Homes & Gardens Home Services help you find a local deck contractor who specializes in synthetic materials and can install your new deck. Be sure to ask your contractor about proper venting that may need to be installed for your vinyl deck or porch, as inadequate venting can cause the vinyl to warp when exposed to extreme heat. And if a severe storm has left your deck or porch damaged, be sure to hire a professional who can properly repair your deck and porch.

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