building a deck frame

Building a Deck Frame 101: How to Choose the Perfect Wood for Your Project

Don’t use just any old wood for your brand-new deck. Before you build your deck, do a little planning.

A deck can make your home look bigger and better. When planned thoughtfully, it can also add some spice to your façade.

Decks make great outdoor entertaining spaces. If you reside in a scenic area, a deck is a great way to take advantage of the view.

If you’re going to build a deck, it helps to understand the basics of the project. Read on to learn the basics of building a deck frame.

Building a Deck Frame

Before you build your deck, always remember to check local zoning laws and apply for any necessary permits. You don’t want your dream deck to turn into a hotbed of trouble with the local authorities.

A reliable deck needs a good foundation. There are several ways to set the posts of your deck.

A popular method involves pouring concrete into the post holes. Next, you’ll set the posts in the concrete. Then, you’d backfill the post holes with gravel.

To keep your posts from rotting, you can set them in aboveground concrete footers. No matter what method you use, however, you should make sure that you set your posts above the frost line.

The frost line is the level where the ground freezes. By setting your posts above the frost line, you’ll prevent freezing ground from pushing the posts out of their foundation. The frost line is different in various regions, so you’ll have to find out how deep it is in your area.

You’ll also need to fasten the support beams and joists. It’s important to use hardware for treated lumber to attach your deck materials.

For instance, use stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized fasteners. Standard fasteners will rust, ruining your entire deck over time – more on that shortly.

The Best Wood for Decks

There are many tasks involved in the installation of wood decks. One of those tasks is choosing the wood.

There’s a lot of wood types that you can choose. It can prove difficult choosing one, especially if you’re wondering about the best wood to use for decks.

Here’s a tip: Hardwood lumber is your best option. It’s beautiful and durable.

For instance, Ipe is the best wood for an outdoor deck. You may have also heard it called Brazilian Walnut or Pau Lope wood.

Garapa wood is approximately half as hard as you Ipe wood decking. Still, it retains many of the positive traits of Ipe building material.

Cumaru wood is another attractive Brazilian building material. It’s only slightly less hard compared to Ipe wood. Cumaru wood also retains many of the good qualities of Ipe wood decking.

You may have also heard Cumaru wood called Brazilian Teak. It has a medium-brown color and also comes in exotic purple tones.

Cumaru wood is more affordable compared to Ipe. However, it doesn’t have the flawless appearance of this more superior product.

Wood Deck Ideas

Now comes the fun part – picking the right finish for your wood deck. There are three options for finishing wood decks – paint, stain or raw wood.

It may seem unusual to paint a wood deck. However, there are benefits to using paint.

If you choose the right color, for instance, you won’t need to clean it often. Also, it’s easy to clean some high-quality paints. Furthermore, quality paint lasts long.

However, you need to make sure that’s what you want to do. Once you’ve painted your deck, it’s difficult to restore it to a natural wood finish.

Most people choose to stain their decks. Stain enables you to retain the natural beauty of the wood. With some woods, stain brings out the beauty of the material.

However, stain doesn’t last as long as paint. The amount of time that wood stain lasts varies depending on how many coats you apply as well as the quality of the coating.

Finally, you may decide not to treat your deck materials. One advantage of not treating your deck wood is that you can use it immediately. With diligent cleaning and maintenance, your deck will still last for years.

Redwood and Red Cedar resist insects and decay naturally. However, untreated wood will discolor, especially in high-traffic areas.

Still, the right raw wood will stand the test of time, as long as you don’t live in an environment with extreme weather. It will look different over time but will still retain its durability.

Designing Your Wood Deck

Before you build your deck, think about the big picture. As a rule of thumb, you should build a deck that’s no larger than 20-percent of your home’s total square footage.

You should also consider how you’ll make use of your deck. For example, you may want to use it for entertaining. In that case, you may want to consider including a fire pit feature and space for outdoor furniture.

It’s also a good idea to build your deck a few inches below your door. This method isn’t as attractive as building the deck flush to your doorway. However, it will prevent debris from making its way into your home.

It’s also helpful to have a deck that’s lower than your entryway when it snows. A deck that’s set a few inches below your door will keep snow from blocking the entryway in the wintertime.

Trust Us for the Best Wood for Your Deck!

There’s much more that goes into building a deck frame. However, this overview gives you an idea of the basics of building a beautiful outdoor area for your home.

Ipe Woods USA is the leader in direct-to-consumer exotic hardwood. Were also a member of the International Wood Products Association and the National Hardwood Lumber Association.

You can count on top-notch service from Ipe Woods. We’ve won the Houzz “Best of Customer Service” award two years in a row.

It’s our mission to provide the highest quality Ipe wood at the lowest cost. Contact us today at (844) 674-4455 for a free quote for your next deck project.

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