Tuesday, November 10, 2015

If you're considering a cedar deck

This will just be a quick post (I could honestly go on for pages but won't. Ha). Here are some considerations if you are looking into a cedar deck. In our old house we had a concrete patio, but after a few years it started to spall and pit and we were not very pleased in its appearance. For the new house we were torn between stamped concrete or a cedar deck. Composite deck was out due to cost. After we got price quotes a 300 square foot cedar deck was roughly double the price of stamped concrete. But we decided on the deck because of how we were turned off by the deterioration of our old one, wanted it to feel like a outdoor living space and feel warmer. 

Long story short, make sure that if you contract the work out you know exactly what you are getting. We went through a reputable company and we were never told the work would be subcontracted out. Loooooong story short, we weren't pleased with all of their work. We basically paid for the equivalent of finish carpentry and got the equivalent of rough. Ultimately we paid only 1/3 of the quoted price. So in that respect we got a good deal. I rebuilt all the railings myself due to the poor workmanship and a few of the deck boards and other odds and ends. All materials ran me about $300 so not too bad. That's one pro of a deck, easily repairable. 

Here's the part that will kick your butt, proper prep and staining. Don't just use a Home Depot stain, think you can slather it on and have good results. I let our deck weather for about 2 months so it would "dry out". 

I used all products made by Defy Stain and am very pleased. First you use a deck cleaner followed by the Brightener. This fully cleans, removes all mill glaze, open the pores and balances the PH of the wood. Then after a few days it was staining time. From start to finish from cleaning to staining, I probably invested 12 hours of time. So this is much more time intensive than a concrete patio. For the first year the instructions say 1 light coat of stain. So next year when I stain again it will be much richer. 

Would we do a deck again and are we happy, yes. BUT in hindsight I would have paid to have had someone do the concrete footers and I would have done it myself. 

Here's some pictures.

Initial framing
Done the first time
Some of their sloppy work
Me tearing it apart

Final product (lighting wasn't the best, but I'm just so done with this project. Lol)

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