Having a wooden deck in your backyard is a great addition to the home. You can create cozy seating areas, or the perfect tanning spot right next to the pool.
Decks make for wonderful spaces to entertain guests, and you can even hang porch benches, or build pergolas on top to make a beautiful sun trap in the comfort of your own home!
If you are thinking about adding some decking into your garden or backyard, then you will need to know everything about it before you start buying materials.
Before building a deck, you should know what you are getting into. For instance, how long will the deck last, and what is the lifespan of a wooden deck as opposed to composite decks? These are all things that we can answer in this quick, easy and handy guide of how long decks last!
How long does a wood deck last?
For the most part, a wooden deck will last for about 15 years when cared for properly, and if maintenance is kept up. For many wood decks, if they are made of untreated wood, then they can last anywhere between 10 and 30 years.
However, decks made of wood that is treated, or made of composite materials can last so much longer, and can have a lifespan of about 50 years. In addition to this most composite decks come with 20 year warranties, or a lifetime guarantee to ensure the longevity of your deck.
As wooden decks only have a lifespan of about 10-15 years, many people prefer to use composite materials to build their decks. Composite materials far exceed wooden decks as these materials are engineered to withstand extreme or harsh weather conditions, and are built to last.
Composite decking boards are not that different from wooden ones, as they are made by molding real wood and some synthetic fibers into the board, and finished with a strong vinyl shield. So, they do still have an element of wood within them, but are just designed perfectly fit for purpose and the outdoors!
How long will an untreated wood deck last?
You may be wondering how long an untreated wooden deck may last, and whether you need to keep up with maintenance of these types of decks. An untreated deck will last about 10 years, or sometimes even shorter than that.
If a deck is left untreated for a long time, then you may even have to replace the boards or even the entire deck, which will definitely take a hefty chunk out of your wallet!
Can you build a deck with untreated wood?
If you want to cut some corners, you can pay for untreated wood, however it is not recommended that you build your deck entirely with this wood, especially if you have not prepared it yourself.
Untreated wood can last anywhere from just a few months to about 1 or 2 years outside, as it will begin to rot and wear down after coming into contact with the elements.
You can build a deck with untreated wood if you want to cut down on some costs of materials, but it will take a lot more effort and time off of your hands. For instance, you will need to prepare the wood first.
Obviously, you will not be able to pressure-treat it by yourself, so you will have to seal the wood, stain or paint the wood, and use extra coatings to protect the untreated wood from the harsh weather conditions, to ensure that it lasts longer. Without taking these extra steps and precautions, your deck will not last long at all.
How much does it cost to replace a wood deck?
You will want to ensure that the deck that you build has a very long lifespan, or will last as long as possible, because removing and replacing a wood deck does not come cheap.
For example, if a deck is very old, falling apart, or is decrepit, then removing it can be very costly. It is estimated that removing a whole deck can cost anywhere from $5 to $15 per square foot, so taking down a 10 x 12 foot deck could cost you as much as $1,200.
Then, you have to think about the cost of replacing the deck. A brand new, well built wooden deck can cost on average about $14,000, with a brand new composite deck costing around $20,000 in most cases!
So, before you start skimping out on materials, think about spending a little more and purchasing the most long lasting and sturdy materials, so that you do not have to think about replacing the deck within a few years!
How often should you replace a wood deck?
To ensure the safety of your home and the backyard areas, you will want to keep on top of regular maintenance, and replace some things when they are no longer structurally sound. Your deck is no different.
After a few years, it can become weaker, and will not be as strong or sturdy as it once was. If this is the case, then it may be time to replace the deck.
The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors argue that most decks made from wooden planks only last at most about 15 years, whereas structurally sound wood decking can last about 10 – 30 years, and composite decking about 25 years.
After this time has passed, then it is probably time to start thinking about removing and replacing the deck, building a new, stronger and much sturdier deck that you can use safely for the many years to come!