Picture the perfect backyard scene: You are surrounded by family and friends, basking in a beautiful sunny day. Everyone is settled into a comfortable seat on the spacious deck, with a drink in their hand, laughing at your perfectly timed joke. Hey, if we are dealing with perfect scenes, might as well make you the star of it! Perhaps there is a batch of perfectly behaved children (dream scenario!) who are running around the yard, stopping from time to time to run up to the deck to show off their latest outdoor discovery. There is just the right amount of wind and sun, and the sounds of nature and laughter (look at you, another perfect joke!) fill the air. It is a beautiful day on your deck and a fantastic day to be alive.
The earth that played an integral part in this perfect scenario deserves both credit and respect. Builders and designers are going “green” in all sorts of ways to make building more sustainable and less damaging to the environment we so dearly love to enjoy. As you are here to check out the best in Colorado deck builders, we want to help you make the best choice possible—not only for your comfort and enjoyment but for the sustainability of Mother Earth. Two main options have the most environmental merit: Wood and Composite. Let’s break them down and you can take it from there.
While some might jump to the conclusion that a wooden deck requires cutting down trees and so must be terrible for the environment, there are some positive aspects in using wood to build your deck. First, let’s start with the aesthetics. Wood is very attractive and will fit seamlessly into your outdoor living space. There is something uniquely beautiful about wood and the patterns in its grains. Wood can be stained to fit the color scheme of your space, has a classic and timeless look and is both affordable and reliable.
Beauty is not the only thing wood has going for it. Wood comes from the earth and can return to it fairly easily. You can build a deck from reclaimed wood that others have used before, and as long as it is not pressure-treated wood, it can be burned in a campfire when you are finished with it. It can also be turned into sawdust and added to a compost pile. Wood can be a gift that keeps on giving.
However, wood has its drawbacks. Wood comes from trees, which do the earth an immeasurable amount of good. Also, wood is vulnerable to rot and insects. If you pressure treat it to avoid those things, then it limits what you can do with the wood when you finish with it. Wood fades, splits, and cracks over time, so there will be an investment of time and money for upkeep to stain and seal in the beauty of your wood.
Upkeep, or the lack thereof, is the main benefit of building a composite deck. Once the deck is built, the work is done. It might require some pressure washing from time to time, but it will be, generally, maintenance-free. This is something to keep in mind as you look at costs. While the composite option has a higher price tag initially, your investment finishes then and there, while you will be investing in wood decking for quite a while.
On the environmental front, a composite deck has the unique trait of being completely recycled. Composite wood is created from recycled plastic material, such as those ubiquitous grocery bags and scrap wood. No new trees are cut down to form composite wood, it utilizes pallet wood, scrap wood from lumberyards, etc. This is reduce, reuse, and recycle at its best.
The nature of its composition also makes composite decking resistant to enemies that destroy wood. It won’t rot, and termites would be very dissatisfied if they tried munching it. The deck will last for as long as you want it around. It is when you want to update it that you run unto the environmental drawback of composite wood.
The recycled nature of composite wood renders it un-recyclable. It is a “mutt” of a wood–created from meshed wood and plastic. It can’t be burned due to the plastic, and it can’t be recycled due to the wood. So, any extra composite material will go straight to the landfill. Some waste can be avoided and managed in the construction process by careful measuring. But, should you ever choose to change the deck significantly, any unwanted composite decking material will fill a dumpster and stick around in the landfill for a very long time.
Nothing in this world is perfect, but your perfect backyard scenario can be achieved… if only for long enough for the well-behaved children to stop behaving. As for your deck itself, both of the options discussed above bring both pros and cons. There’s no right and wrong answer across the board, but there will be a “best” answer for you depending on your needs and priorities, and the needs of Mother Earth as well.
Contact us for help choosing the best materials for your Earth-friendly deck. You are, however, totally on your own with the jokes. Good luck.