A few decks

In 2006 I built a large deck, 3 season porch, and new portico addition on this house in Topsfield, MA. The framing is pressure-treated wood, and the owner chose CorrectDeck composite decking and Railways vinyl railing system. The CorrectDeck DX proved to be more-mildew resistant than earlier composite deckings on the upper surface, but not on the underneath side where there is no protective PVC film. I recommend solid PVC decking, which I installed on our own deck ten years ago.

pianodeckBack in the 1980’s my crew built this nice house on a hillside in West Stockbridge, MA. The owner pointed to her grand piano and asked me if I could build her a deck with the same approximate shape. The framing timbers are straight, but we were able to bend 1×8″ pressure-treated boards as caps to round off the edges of the deck as well as the risers.

The photo shows the deck before the wood was stained. To keep pressure treated wood from warping, splintering and cracking I recommend a solid exterior stain, which help protect it from UV rays.

cedardeckIn the 1990’s I added the deck in the second photo to a home in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The frame is pressure-treated yellow pine and the decking is  native white cedar. The locals call white cedar “cabin wood.” It’s soft and works easily but has rot-resistant qualities. I enjoyed my stay in the Northeast Kingdom, taking my mountain bike along the cedar-lined gravel roads that dominate the region.

poolwalkAfter I built a raised deck and walkway that extended half-way around an above-ground swimming pool in Williamstown, we added this cedar walkway and gate, extending from the owner’s back door to the pool. While all cedar is naturally rot-resistant, it does gray like other woods. After disappointing results with most clear sealants, I’ve found that a cedar-stain preservative oil does a nice job of keeping the original look and protecting the wood from the damaging rays of the sun. All wood deck surfaces should be treated with an oil or stain  such as Cabot Australian Timber Oil Penetrating Finish  to prevent extensive damage from solar radiation, which slowly “burns away” at the deck surface.

appleton_deckThe decks on most of the houses at the Ipswich Country Club have large pine box pedestals that connect the railings. The pedestals are secured inside to a 6×6 pressure treated post which tied into the deck framing for stability. This ornamental post was then finished with a built up pyramidal wooden cap. At this house, I replaced the 12″ post boxes with pvc boards joined with pvc cement and sanded smooth. The post boxes are capped with granite blocks. The trim below the granite and at the bases is also an extruded PVC molding.After a few years it was discovered that moisture from the air would get trapped inside the posts, causing them to rot from the inside out, a design flaw.


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