Constructing your home’s deck is a significant emotional and financial investment, but is ultimately a rewarding undertaking. Not only does it provide an outdoor gathering space to entertain guests, it can also add value to your home’s listing price. In a cost/value analysis of home improvement projects across the United States, Remodeling Magazine found that homeowners living in the South Central region – which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas – recovered almost 80% of the deck investment after selling. While not an exact return on the original investment, it still offers a financial incentive to those already expressing interest in do-it-yourself efforts.
Until termites devour your handiwork and further cripple your home’s value.
When choosing wood material to build your deck, or any outdoor crafting activity, you should always consider the possibility of termites affecting the final product. In this blog post, we discuss three different wood strains that deter termite activity and will increase the longevity of your finished product.
Wood-plastic composite (WPC) is a popular material among DIY enthusiasts across the country. WPC is a blended mix of wood fibers and heated recycled plastic, which is supple enough for builders to form the materials into exact shapes and curvatures. The product is entirely devoid of cellulose and contains no other chemicals considered attractive to a termite.
Deck-builders prefer WPC because of its low-maintenance nature: the material is already painted upon its purchase and won’t corrode due to harsh elements or time. However, its cost is much higher than the average wood substance, with the average price reaching almost $3.50 per linear foot.
A number of strains are naturally resistant to destruction, including wood-consuming insects and rotting. The two most popular American species are Cedar and Redwood, both deriving from the Western United States. Lightweight and workable, these softwoods provide a durable and chemical-free alternative to the more widespread pressure treated lumbers. Moreover, cedar and redwood possess a rich exterior that exudes a natural beauty to your outdoor space.
Tropical hardwoods are another viable option to chemical-free decking, with species from across the southern hemisphere becoming prevalent with DIY-ers. While dense and less malleable than the American counterparts, they require even less upkeep than cedar or redwood.
These termite deterring woods are typically the most expensive options, however. When considering a build, be sure to properly research the various lumber grades and price-points to ensure you’ll achieve some return on your investment in the future.
Chemically-treated lumber became widespread during the 1970s when companies began using chromated copper arsenate (CCA) as a preservative. Though a powerful additive that fortified the wood, CCA contains a known carcinogen and the Environmental Protection Agency has since prohibited its use on residential structures. Thus, pressure-treated lumber is now the safest chemically-infused lumber available. By continually pressurizing it with non-toxic materials, the wood gains a synthetic barrier to deterioration. Pressure-treated boards are also cheap in comparison to the other variations, averaging about 80 cents per linear foot.
Pre-treated wood is often considered to be less stable, however, as it tends to warp and crack over time. Thus, routine staining and power-washing is required in order to ensure structural integrity over time.