What kind of wood is my deck made of?
October 27, 2006 8:53 AM   Subscribe

What kind of wood is my deck made of?

I want to seal my deck for the winter, but I don't know what kind of wood it was made of. This is probably a no-brainer for somebody out there. Some areas have a slight greenish tinge, so I'm thinking it's probably pressure-treated wood, but I want to be make sure I get the right kind of sealant (it ain't cheap). Pics of the deck here.

Also, would I need to apply sealant to all the railings and supports and everything, or just the floorboards?
posted by designbot to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
 
looks like treated pine to me. hive mind, confirm?
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:57 AM on October 27, 2006


I'd agreed to that. Somewhat weathered, but treated pine.

Apply to all unless you want things to age/weather differently.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:58 AM on October 27, 2006


Looks like treated pine to me, too.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:58 AM on October 27, 2006


Pine, which I know can vary a great deal in appearance from where the wood comes from.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 9:00 AM on October 27, 2006


Can't tell what type of wood it is, but as I recall (when I had a deck), I don't think it matters. I went to HomeDepot and got a gallon of whatever wood seal they had (wasn't Thompsons). Use it everywhere. I used a pan and roller-on-a-stick for the flooring, and a brush for everything else (railings, etc.).

One caution: I used a non-stained variety, but it still darkened the wood a little.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:07 AM on October 27, 2006


Another vote for pine, and the greenish boards are most likely pressure treated. Recently, it seems that treated boards don't always have that distinct green color, so be aware that more than just those may be treated boards. Apply the sealant everywhere, and hit up your Home Depot, Lowes, or local hardware store/lumber yard for tips - though the first two are definitely more consumer friendly.

Also, I see a blue chalk line on the bottom step. Go around and sand any of those marks off (pencil marks, chalk lines, stamps on the wood). Don't go at it too hard, a light or medium grit that won't leave a dip in the wood. If you seal over them, they are staying there and could possibly be highlighted once the sealer is on.

For anyone else looking to build a small deck, go with cedar boards. They are more expensive, but hold up great and look fantastic.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:54 AM on October 27, 2006


shinynewnick, why do you suggest cedar specifically for a small deck? Is there a reason it is less advisable for a larger deck? Cost?

Any votes for recycled wood/plastic composite lumber?
posted by browse at 10:01 AM on October 27, 2006


Pine.

If you don't like the look you can always treat/stain it.
posted by catkins at 10:14 AM on October 27, 2006


Muchas gracias, all. Sounds like pine.
posted by designbot at 11:09 AM on October 27, 2006


Since it is pressure-treated and you are from the South, and the boards are not incised (which would likely indicate that it is a harder species), it is likely Southern Pine, which, just to be clear, is not your run-of-the-mill "pine." Southern Pine is really tough stuff. The deck looks pretty new. If you were curious, you could probably look around for a grading stamp or a little tag on the end of a board which will show the species.

But yeah, species probably doesn't matter. Just seal everything. then seal it again.
posted by misterbrandt at 1:07 PM on October 27, 2006


Good stuff to know about Southern Pine! Thanks for that.

Cedar is good wood for outdoors because it has natural contents (oils?) that protect it from both the elements and wood-boring insects.
posted by sublivious at 1:55 PM on October 27, 2006


As for the wood/plastic composite decking... a client in Durham, NC had me replank his old deck with Trex a couple of years ago. Maybe a lighter color would been better but this stuff was “redwood” and, in full sun on a moderately warm day, it was like being on asphalt. There’s no way you could walk barefoot on the stuff.

Also the thermal expansion rate was off the charts and raised havoc with trim details. We started off working with it like wood and found that good tight joints that we made in the cool of the morning would cause buckling in the heat of the afternoon. Likewise, joints made in the afternoon would be wide open the next morning.
posted by Huplescat at 3:16 PM on October 27, 2006


browse, the only reason I specified a small deck is the cost difference. I work for a builder of high-end homes, and he does all of his decks in cedar, regardless of size. When you get to that price range, the difference is not going to make a big dent in your bottom line. But for a small deck, I think the extra money spent on the cedar can really make it stand out, especially if you spend a lot of time outside.

I don't have personal experience with composite, but from others I've heard:

1. Expensive
2. Lasts forever, cleans easily, no maintenence
3. Looks fake up close

So really it just depends on your budget and desires. I've seen ads with very cool composite board designs that couldn't be easily done with standard materials.
posted by shinynewnick at 8:39 PM on October 27, 2006


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