The sun has finally decided to rear its beautiful head. The snow is GONE (if you live here in Toronto, this might be the happiest day of your life)!! And, I don’t know about you, but my deck has been torn apart! It came with the house. It’s rotting. Not very safe. Not our style. So, my husband and I are getting the back yard ‘decked out’ for a summer of fun. And what better time than to start right now? Before the warmest part of our year starts, so we haven’t wasted any precious summer time?
Above: My husband ripping out the old, rotten deck.
But alas, with the deck coming out, come many zillions of questions my dear husband wants answered. How many people in the new hot tub? What type of wood on the deck? Composite or real? Stain colours? Pergola? Planter boxes? Furniture?
I wasn’t truly prepared for the barrage of questions. Nor was I really sure of what I wanted? I know I want the words Cabana, Beach and Zen to come to mind when I’m out there. And maybe a bit Party too, but how do I accomplish that? And, let’s face it, I do have some kind of budget. The free labour helps, but those stunning sectionals are not inexpensive!
Narrowing down the choices is really hard for designers. We love so much, and I can honestly say, that when it comes to my own home, I am pretty commitment phobic.
So how about you come along with me on this journey? Let’s see where it leads. And maybe we’ll all learn a little something along the way.
Decision #1: What size hot tub?
Pretty easy decision! We picked it up off Kijiji for $1000! So 6 person tub it is! I would have picked a 4 person, had I been able, but…well…the more the merrier!
Decision #2: Wood or Composite?
He’s making me watch all those deck shows on HGTV and whatever other station they are on. It’s torture. I want a nice deck, but not so interested in rubber flooring, PVC covers on my pergola posts, and some of the other crazy stuff they do. I’m a pretty simple gal after all. And hating my crazy deck in two years isn’t on my agenda. So on with the research!
Here’s what I found out.
Above: Trex Composite Decking
Composite or PVC material has come a long way. It does not rot. It does not get eaten by pesky bugs. You can’t splinter your feet on it. It’s relatively inexpensive when you factor in the 25 year warranty. And it looks pretty nice, don’t you think? But, it can still fade in extreme sunlight. And unlike wood, you can’t sand it down. And here’s my biggest issue with them: They LOOK fake. They SMELL fake. They just don’t have the warmth and vibe that real wood does. ($8-$10/sf)
Decision made. And not even remotely unbiased.
Decision #3: What size/type of wood?
Local Pressure Treated: When a budget friendly option is necessary, pressure treated pine is the way to go. Cedar is super lovely, but a lot more expensive, and I’d rather spend those bucks on the parties I’m going to have. But you can order it in 12” widths! That’s pretty terrific if you’ve got a larger deck being installed, and I do! Smaller decks should stay with smaller widths, so you don’t only have a few planks down! But the look is great, and sort of cottagy, which fits into the vibe of my neighbourhood. Almost like having some barnboard down. ($3-$4/sf installed)
Above: 12” wide decking, aged
When installed, you’ll see the screws, and have to seal it to protect it from weather and sun damage. Sealing it can be as simple as a clear sealer, or as complicated as choosing a coloured stain. Make sure to follow manufacturer’s guidelines. The last think you want is your deck peeling.
It’s important to use wood that’s local. Canadian lumber will work with the ebb and flow of our seasons better than a wood coming from Brazil. Although, there’s super wood Ipe!
Ipe is so strong, you can burn your drill bit drilling into it! It’s a very dense tropical wood, coming in lots of shades and sizes. Usually backed by a good 25 year warranty, which explains its price! You can even install it so that the screw holes don’t show! A true stunner, and worth the expense if you could afford it. You’ll never have to replace even one board for rotting or warping or any of that other not so fun stuff. ($9-$11/sf installed) YIPES!
Above: Ipe Decking Canada
Remind yourself, as you load up the van, that this is the foundation for your furniture, your bbq, and your kid’s feet! So seal it up – no one wants splinters, and get the best you can afford. Oh, and for pressure treated wood, please…thicker planks are better, none of that ¾” wood. Two inch thick planks also offer you longevity. They can be sanded quite a few times over their lifespan.
Now….to stain or not to stain….come back in a few weeks when I make that decision! Or, maybe I can just convince Dear Husband to get some Ipe!
Have a terrific day!