Low Maintenance Decking

Hickory Dickory Decks 

Written by Tom Jacques, CEO and Founder, Hickory Dickory Decks

Low maintenance decking is over ten years old in 2009, and with maturity it has lots of benefits to consumers that you just cannot get from wood. Let's start with the big one, no more staining every year. Hickory Dickory Decks started in 1987 and built thousands of beautiful B.C. cedar decks. Easy to stain in year one they looked amazing. Year two they already needed another coat of stain and a good cleaning is required before stain can be applied. By year three the colour gets darker and if a year of staining is missed you may need to sand the entire deck before staining. This takes longer to do then to build the deck, and is a job you will not enjoy.

With low maintenance decking, a good soap and water cleaning every spring will keep you deck looking like new. The next benefit of Low Maintenance decking would be no slivers. There aren't many jobs that this Dad hates more than pulling slivers out of my kid's feet. This can happen from year one, and gets worst the older the deck gets. The third benefit of Low Maintenance decking is slip resistance. Some low maintenance decking is up to 4 times less slippery than a wood deck when wet. This is a great benefit on a pool or spa deck where water is always present. A front porch is another place where slip resistance is very important.

Today some of the decking being manufactured has the appearance of real wood. A wood grain look comes on many products and looks fantastic. Colours were added in year 2000, and now you can select many different colours and fading is minimal.

One problem still with low maintenance decking is that with over 100 different products on the market, you need to get educated or deal with a decking company who has worked with low maintenance decking over the years and knows not only which are the best products to use, but how to use them in your building situation, and having the "best use" practices of each product. Unfortunately this education takes at least two or three decks with each manufactured product, and with over 100 of these, this could take a lifetime to learn. Our company has built 1,000's of low maintenance decks since they both experience and lots of education how to use these products to success.

Hickory Dickory Decks stated using low maintenance decking because our customers were unhappy with what their wooden decks were doing. Show me a cedar deck over 5 years old that hasn't become a "staining monster" and I will be very surprised. The biggest problem after 8-10 years will be that wooden decks can literally start to fall apart. Today most pressure treated and cedar decks are coming from second growth trees that are 40-60 years old. Compare that to 1987 when Hickory Dickory Decks started, and on wood was from old growth cedar 100 years old or more. The natural chemicals in cedar take time to develop to prevent rot, and today the quality of all woods is not as good as 20 years ago. I personally built a British Columbia western red cedar, cedar decking using "clean" cedar, the best grade available and stainless steel hardware, and it lasted 15 years. It was replaced with a top grade composite using Vinyl plastic that will probably outlast the house.

In the last few years lots of "wood deck" builders have found it easier to find a problem with one of the hundred decks manufactures products in one application, and then "bad mouth" the entire industry. That is like finding one problem with one car from a manufacture and then telling everyone to go back to the horse and buggy. With proper product selection, used in the correct application, by an experienced low maintenance deck contractor, you will enjoy all the benefits: no staining, no slivers, no cracking, no warping, less slippery, looks great 365 days a year, and will outlast a wooden deck by 2, 3, or even 4 times. We at Hickory Dickory Decks love building custom outdoor living environments for our customers. We use many different woods and more composite decking selection than anyone else in the deck business worldwide. The secret is to use the right material for the customer after analysis all the information and giving each customer educated choices so they can be the ultimate designer of their own custom deck.