The newest rage in wood decking is called “thermally modified” decking.
Thermally modified is when they take a normal piece of wood heat and steam it. The pressure and the heat causes the cells in the wood to collapse making it waterproof.
The wood becomes waterproofed without chemically treating it. The wood comes with a 30 year warranty against rotting.
The most common species of wood used is Southern Yellow Pine but you can actually have any kind of wood treated in this process. Southern Pine is just the most cost effective wood that is treated by this process.
The cost is equal to the cost of composite manufactured decking and the installation is close to the same time and price.
Natural wood has some advantages over composite decking;
• Natural wood does not heat up in the hot days of summer when it is under direct sunlight. Most composite decking will heat up under direct sunlight, the darker the colour the hotter it will become.
• Natural wood is not as slippery as composite wood when it rains or snows. Certain composite decking can become dangerously slick in the winter with any kind of snow or ice build up on it. Some composite decking will actually become quit slick even after it rains.
• Natural wood has the ability to be stained a variety of shades so that you get a lasting look year after year. Composite is the colour that you order and then will fade in the sun overtime.
• Natural wood gives you the ability to sand and refinish to change the look or update the original colour. Some composites do not react well to being sanded with some of them not having the same original colour all the way through.
If you do not coat the natural wood it will naturally go silver and look like cedar. The difference with the new heat treated process is that the wood has a longer life expectancy then what current traditional cedar decking will give you. Composite decking will fade in the sun staying the same colour just with a duller colour finish.
• Natural wood is lighter then composite decking. Composite wood is extremely heavy and can be hard to work with because of the overall weight of the material. Composite decking is also difficult to transport because of the long lengths and the flexibility of the product. Composite decking has so much flex to it that you are not able to put it on a normal pickup truck or even a pickup truck that has lumber racks.
In today’s world where everyone is asking for a cleaner greener solution to their decking wants and needs this new product hits all areas. Southern Pine is a faster growing tree allowing for a faster turnaround from cutting to reforestation. With no chemical treatment there is no worry about toxic levels in the soil over the years and it is a safe material for children and pets to be on. The longer life span of the deck allows you to be in your home for almost a lifetime before you have to think about replacing it.
If you are thinking about building a deck take a look at thermally modified wood, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Village Builders Inc.