Jun 22 , 2020
Build Decks Using Composite and Other Low-Upkeep Materials
Your deck should be a place to relax, not a painful reminder of those looming weekends you’re going to spend sanding, painting and staining. So if you’re in the planning stages for a new deck, consider alternatives to wood and check out some composite deck designs.
You can build yourself a low-maintenance deck using the same tools and similar techniques as you would a wood deck. And most parts of a deck are now available in composite material. But there are differences between low-maintenance and wood products. We asked our pros for some tips to help DIYers avoid expensive mistakes.
Don’t know what your deck will look like? Check out this floating, platform deck The Family Handyman built.
Meet Our Experts
We asked Randy Moe from Decks Unlimited, and Bob Januik and Matt Norden from Precision Decks, for some tips on working with low-maintenance deck materials, including Trex. Altogether these guys have built more than 1,000 decks, using every material imaginable. Ten years ago about half their jobs were wood. Today they install low-maintenance materials on three out of four. Plus, check out these 14 DIY deck add-ons that are seriously cool.
Flatten Joists to Avoid a Wavy Deck
- Most PVC and composite products aren’t as rigid as wood, so they don’t bridge imperfections in the framing as well.
- If some of your joists are higher than others, you might end up with a wavy surface.
- Our pros stretch a string across the deck joists to detect high spots and then plane them down with a power hand planer.
- Pro tip: This might seem like a pain, but it takes less than an hour and pays off with a better-looking deck.