What the best quality wood to use for a deck when you are on a budget?


I’m a single parent (a first responder) raising my four grandchildren (all girls). I purchased a 30 yet old house 3 years ago, however, it needed upgrade in a major way inside and outside. I am now wanting to work towards a new deck before someone falls through them both. I have one upstairs as well as downstairs. Upstairs needs to be carefully redone due it being above my laundry room. I dnt want any leaks to go through and my outside deck has a 10 foot drop underneath it. Please help! I dnt know what material to use for the upstairs deck nor my outside deck.


  4 answers
  • Dee Dee on Jul 06, 2018
    The very best would be Composites. The Economic Answer Pressure-Treated Lumber or Redwood and Cedar
  • Deb K Deb K on Jul 06, 2018
    Wood Materials. The three common choices when it comes to wood decks are redwood, cedar and pressure-treated wood that can be made of various types of wood species. Redwood and cedar are both naturally insect and rot resistant and have a natural look, but each has its own inherent issues
  • Lina Splichal Lina Splichal on Jul 06, 2018
    The least expensive wood for your outside deck would be pine, but it is a soft wood and will need sealing and maintenance to assure the seal is always intake. I prefer marine (like used on boats) sealant, as it is the best quality and will withstand the most weather. For your upper deck, I am assuming the floor is part of the ceiling of your laundry room. In this case, you basically have a flat roof, which can be very difficult to keep from leaking. When we moved into our house it had a tar/pebble roof on the flat parts that the previous owners used to sunbathe. We replaced it with a rubber liner that has worked well for 20 years. We do not go out on the flat roof except to sweep the water off after it rains or snow melts. I don't recommend that for you. I suggest you talk to local contractors to gather ideas of how to fix/repair/use your upper deck. You should be able to ask for plans and quotes for free and then make your decision from there.
  • Mindshift Mindshift on Jul 06, 2018
    I recently researched the available choices for decking. Each decking type below is more expensive than the previously listed.
    • Pressure-treated wood is the most economic choice followed by more expensive cedar and redwood. However, pressure-treating can cause more splitting, warping and twisting of the wood. All wood decking needs to be sealed, but you also need to wait for at least 1 month and up to as long as a year for the lumber to acclimate before sealing. The waiting period is mostly decided by what type of finish you use. Treatment must be repeated as often as every two years for semi-transparent stain, and no product lasts longer than 5 years no matter what the label says. This link goes to an informative site about staining. Scroll down to Staining A New Deck , but save the page to your Bookmarks for reviewing later. https://www.deckstainhelp.com/category/deck-staining/
    • Composite decking combines wood fiber with plastic resin. It can warp or swell just like regular wood and can support algae and mold growth. It resists rot and is UV stable. It gets dangerously hot underfoot so is better under a roof or with shade sails. PVC decking is entirely polyvinyl chloride. It won't rot and is UV stable. Severe cold and heat can stress these materials and their fasteners. There is some discussion about support for both of these choices with recommendations for 12" centers instead of the normal 16". The surface of both of these only resembles wood, and no maintenance is required.
    • Aluminum decking is the most stable and durable. It has built in color and slip resistance. It doesn't even pretend to be wood. I include it here just for a full list of choices.
    Most of the following should be discussed with the person/company you hire to do the work. Make a list of every concern you have and get all assurances in writing and initialed on the contract. If someone screws up you won't be left holding the bag. While you think the decking material might be beyond hope, the support beneath those boards may be in much better condition due to not being exposed to sunlight. This would save a lot of time and money in redoing your deck. Since your lower deck is so high above the ground it may be safer to install extra piers close to the house instead of using a ledger board on that side to support the deck. Too many people on a deck can cause a ledger support to fail.
    As to the upstairs deck, here is a picture of how an open deck is built over an interior room. https://i.pinimg.com/736x/b7/cd/85/b7cd85ff7992be8f44c8b1ab37bf7b2b.jpg Plywood is placed over the floor joists and shimmed to slope to the open deck edge. Over this is placed a waterproof membrane. Pressure-treated sleeper boards are laid over the membrane and the decking material attached to them. Care must be taken not to use too long a nail or screw so the waterproof membrane is not punctured. The drawing in the link above shows 1x6 sleepers with 1x6 flooring rather than decking over them. 1x boards are ≤ 3/4", so a 1&1/4" nail would be safer than a 1&1/2" nail. If flooring is used it should be allowed to sit on this deck for at least a week to acclimate to local humidity before being installed. Flooring should be sealed sooner because it's plain pine/spruce/fir. You may not be able to put thicker decking on the upstairs due to height constraints caused by the door.
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