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With all the talk about green building and eco friendly construction it makes sense that the trend should extend to the exterior of your home, into the great outdoors itself. Great outdoor living space is also something that home buyers are actively seeking, so the addition of a deck – and one that can be considered green – will help raise the perceived value of your property in many cases.
There are a lot of companies advertising “green “deck building lately, but what exactly does that mean?
Many different deck building materials are being touted as a great “green” alternative but which of them offers the highest sustainability potential and still creates a deck that is attractive and long lasting? Here are some of the most common options:
Of all the “green” materials that can be used to construct a deck wood is the most logical choice. The key to an environmentally friendly deck though is the choice of the wood used in the project. One of the most popular woods being used in “green” deck construction right now is a Brazilian wood called Ipe. It is extremely resilient, standing up to all manner of weather conditions and nuisances like termites and dry rot without having to be sealed with a commercial chemically based sealant. Ipe and other similar tropical woods do fade in hue after a while but usually to a silvery grey that can be quite attractive in itself.
PVC and Plastic
Since there is very little in the way of organic components in PVC the resulting deck will certainly be long lasting, stain resistant and very low maintenance. Although PVC decking can be found in what is advertised as a wood like finish it does still look slightly ‘plasticky’ but for some home owners that is not a real problem. On the downside for the environment PVC and plastic are crafted using petroleum, a non renewable resource.
Composite decking materials are made from a combination of recycled plastic and various wood materials. The wood comes from sawdust or reclaimed timber so no trees are actually harmed during the creation process. The plastic components often come from sources like grocery shopping bags, which would otherwise sit clogging up a landfill someplace. Composite decking is fairly hardy and is not prone to splintering or chipping like natural woods.
Aluminum decking is a hardy and eco friendly construction option and unlike wood composites aluminum can be broken down and recycled. Aluminum is very water resistant and since metal disperses heat such a deck is surprisingly cool to walk in, even on the hottest of days. The downside of course is the appearance, which can be a little too cold and clinical for many tastes, although that can be softened by the clever placement of furniture and accessories.