Building a Deck? Consider Redwood

Big or small, wide or tall: a redwood deck can be a luxurious addition to your home. It’s not only a beautiful species of wood; it’s also durable and rot/bug resistant wood that can last decades with the right care and maintenance. Best of all, redwood is an environmentally sustainable building material so it’s not a drag on our planet’s resources. And according to the lifetime assessment study by Corrim (Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials):

  • Redwood uses 98 percent less energy to produce than composites
  • Redwood reduces greenhouse gases versus producing them
  • Redwood stores more carbon than its manufacturing process emits

Site Overview

A site overview or site plan should be made to determine things like how much material you’ll need or what type of deck you can build on the property. A plot map is always a good item to have to help plan a decks location on the property. Consider factors like wind direction, sunlight/shade, water and power availability. A southwesterly or southeasterly placement in the corner of a home helps to provide the right amount of sunlight and shade combination for the perfect redwood deck.

Building Codes

Always check with your local building department to find out what permits, special regulations or building codes you’re going to need to get your project going. In some cases, a professionally drawn blueprint is required to secure a permit for building a redwood deck.

Grades

When selecting redwood, you’ll need to choose a grade for your deck. There are several grading scales that can make choosing the right grade tough if you don’t know your stuff. Use the California Redwood Guide found here to learn which redwood grade you should choose for your redwood deck.

Fasteners

Because redwood can easily stain from using the wrong fastener, it’s best to only use quality joist hangers, connectors and fasteners. Hot dipped products should be avoided as well as aluminum as these can “weep” and permanently stain aging redwood. You’ll also want to predrill this tough decking material or you’ll split the wood when you use screws or nails.

Finishing

Even though redwood is resistant to mold and bugs, it doesn’t mean it’s permanently protected. That’s where a good quality finish will really pay off. Not only will it look great but it will also protect for years without the need for continual reapplications. Be sure to finish each piece of wood first before you assemble the deck. Finish any cut ends right away before you fasten the pieces together and your redwood deck will last for years to come.

Extras

Don’t forget the amenities. Benches, solar-powered lighting, planters and outdoor kitchens should all be added into the overall budget-if you can afford it. If you’re planning on building a redwood deck, but want to add the more expensive amenities later on when you can afford it, it’s a good idea to add the framing and infrastructure (i.e. plumbing/electric/joists) for these amenities while you build the main deck. That way, when you’re ready to add those amenities later on down the road, everything will be ready to go.

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