Wood is the star material for terraces. Its aesthetics, its warm appearance, its ease of installation, and its ecological side are the main reasons for its success. Only the regular maintenance required of a wooden deck can make you hesitate to choose this material. Looking for a San Antonio deck builder? Before you choose which deck you will build, make sure to choose the right company.
However, there is a solution to avoid the inconvenience of wood maintenance while benefiting from a similar appearance: choose composite wood for your terrace. Before deciding on wood or composite, here are some things to know to choose the right one.
What are the characteristics of wood and composite to take into account when making a terrace?
If you opt for a natural wood terrace
The natural and warm appearance of wood is perfect for dressing an outdoor terrace.
European wood: this is Douglas pine, poplar, spruce, oak, or even chestnut. All these species have good durability over time, but the oak, chestnut, and Douglas are of superior quality. Most of them must be treated in an autoclave (deep treatment of wood) to become rot-resistant and resistant. These autoclave treatments are classified from 1 to 5, according to the use of the wood and its risks vis-à-vis humidity. So prefer class 4 conifers, or even class 5 by the sea, for terraces exposed to the vagaries of the weather. Certain European woods are treated naturally without chemical additions to be more durable or by being heated to very high temperatures (High Temperature Treated wood, THT).
Exotic wood: among all types of wood, this is the one that has the best resistance to humidity and the best durability over time. There are many species of exotic wood, including teak, which offer very varied appearances and colors. To avoid illegal logging and associated trade, it is essential to choose FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) timber, a label guaranteeing that forests are managed in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Whatever type of wood you choose, to ensure your terrace has good resistance, it is important to use wood slats that are not too thin at the risk of being too fragile, and they must also not have too many visible knots, aspect synonymous with second-best material. On the other hand, the thinner the wood plank, the more likely it is to deform once installed.
If you opt for a composite terrace
Composite is a material made, as its name suggests, of different elements. It contains wood in the form of sawdust, resins from recycled plastics (polymers), and pigments that give it its color. Its appearance is very close to that of wood. But it is advisable to choose a composite that contains at least 50% wood so that its appearance does not have too much “plastic effect.” The main advantage of composite is that it does not require special maintenance, unlike wood, and is very resistant.
The advantages and disadvantages of a wooden deck
One of the main advantages of solid wood is the natural appearance of wood, which gives all exterior fittings a feeling of softness and authenticity. It also has the advantage of being easy to work and cut. The wood is also transformable at will according to the evolution of the tastes of each one. It is indeed very easy to paint and repaint.
Realizing a European wooden terrace has a major drawback: it requires annual maintenance and treatment to prevent it from taking on a grayish color over time. The application of a stain may also be necessary. Be careful; the wood is alive. If the wood can be painted, this is not the case with high temperature treated wood (THT), which only offers a tint, close to caramel.
The advantages and disadvantages of a composite terrace
Composite is a material that offers a great number of advantages over wood. First, that of not asking for maintenance. A simple brush and soapy water are enough to clean it. A composite deck is naturally resistant to moisture as much as the best exotic woods, as well as to frost. If this material has the same appearance as wood, unlike the latter, it does not slip with water, it does not have splinters, and the composite blades do not crack. The service life of the composite is very long: most manufacturers guarantee this material for 25 years.
While composite has many advantages over wood, it still has some disadvantages. The rendering of a composite terrace, especially if it is made with so-called old-generation boards, will not be as beautiful as that of a natural wood terrace, although great improvements have been made to this problem of aspect. Note also the ability of this material to conduct and diffuse heat.