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Building your own deck, porch or pool deck is a very satisfying home improvement project, and it’s probably easier than you think.

building a new wood deck off of the back door the house.Designing and building your own backyard deck, porch or pool deck is a great home improvement project for anyone with a few basic carpentry skills and tools.

Not only will you add to the value of your home, you’ll have a wonderful outdoor space to enjoy with your family and friends for years to come.

Whether you’re planning to build a deck, a porch, a pool deck, or any other decking project, you’ll find plenty of plans, guides, instructions and lists of materials and tools online, or in any of a number of DIY magazines and publications. Any good timber or home hardware supplier should also provide you with information and advice.

Choosing decking materials.

You have two basic choices; natural timber or wood composite. The choice you make will depend on your budget, the type of material which best suits the architectural style of your home, the amount of maintenance you’re prepared to do throughout the life of the deck, and ultimately on your personal taste.

Most people consider natural redwood, cedar or cypress to be the most attractive materials for deck construction, although natural timber tends to be more expensive, and requires regular maintenance to protect it from weathering and rotting.

Natural timber may be “pressure treated”, or treated with chemicals to prevent it rotting, although new regulations have recently been introduced in the United States which mean most pressure treated timber products have effectively been banned due to health concerns.

You can also finish natural wood with a stain or paint. A stain will usually last longer because it penetrates the wood deeper. It also gives you a natural look. Paint comes in a variety covers and it may be the look you want. I recommend going to your local building center and comparing the two products.

Wood composite materials are manufactured from a mixture of natural timber and a plastic polymer, for exceptional resistance to rotting, weathering, fading and insect attack.

Wood composite decking is virtually maintenance free; it never needs painting or resealing. The more sophisticated products are very attractive, and almost indistinguishable from real natural timber.

Virtually maintenance free doesn't mean no maintenance. Where I live we get a lot of rain and come Spring there is a bit of green on my composite deck stairs. I give it a quick cleaning and I'm done for the year.

Choosing the material you want to use is a personal choice. Natural wood is cheaper, but it requires more maintenance. Composite is more expensive, but you are saving time down the road because of the low maintenance and it will last longer.

For more information on deck construction, please read these articles:

Benefits of using composite decking material

Comparison of materials for deck building


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