Selecting the best sustainable decking option for your deck

sustainable decking low-maintenance

Selecting the best sustainable decking option for your deck

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Green building materials are becoming increasingly popular and important as people begin to look at renewable resources and make responsible choices related to their homes. Sustainable decking, in particular, is becoming a popular trend as people look at things like the high return on investment that a new deck can bring and the fact that any kind of renewable or sustainable material is likely be perceived favorably as well.

Trends in Sustainable Decking

Sustainability is important, but so are looks, low-maintenance, durability and overall enjoyment of the addition on your home. That may be why that more than 70 percent of homeowners polled prefer wood for their decks, rather than materials such as composite or fiber cement decking.

Photo by Jacob Buchard

When it comes to decking, different features are often at battle with one another to come out on top. Sustainability is important, but so are looks, low-maintenance, durability and overall enjoyment of the addition on your home. That may be why that more than 70 percent of homeowners polled prefer wood for their decks, rather than materials such as composite or fiber cement decking.

There are many different considerations when looking at the sustainability levels of the various decking options. Wood, and softwood in particular, is one of the more sustainable choices on the market today. Softwood trees mature at a much faster rate than hardwood trees, making them a renewable source. Composite decking has been making strides of late, however, not all manufacturers use recycled content in the makeup of the planks, which can lead to some confusion about whether the material is truly sustainable or not. Also the carbon footprint of manufacturing composite decking is rather high and it often costs more than real wood. In addition, the look and feel of composite decking can never truly match thelook and feel of real wood. Fiber cement decking is generally thought of as a sustainable choice, as it uses a high level of recycled content in its mixture, however cutting fiber cement can release harmful chemicals and dust particles into the air, making it a less eco-friendly option than it claims to be. So why there are many options, case studies show that wood remains the most sustainable decking product on the market.

Real wood, however, isn’t without its hangups. Most wood decking requires a good amount of upkeep including the need to re-stain and seal every 2 to 3 years. Pressure treated wood also subjects you to potentially harmful chemicals which might leak. And while some chemicals, like arsenic, have been removed from the treatment process, changes like these mean that more expensive screws and fasteners, like galvanized steel, need to be used to prevent rust and replacement overtime.

So what does this mean for home or business owners who want an environmentally friendly deck that is still relatively low in maintenance requirements? Well thankfully advances in technology have lead to new categories, like modified wood, that bridge the gap between sustainability and durability. Technologically enhanced wood, such as Kebony, is a natural softwood that has been treated with an organic compound. First the wood gets impreganed, then dried resulting in a polymerizsation inside the wood cell walls. The wood cell walls permanently thicken, making the wood more stable and durable, so it performs like the most durable hardwoods. Plus it delivers the same natural appearance and texture that people absolutely love. Trends predict that as homeowners continue to hold out for real wood decks over other materials, modified woods, like Kebony, are only going to grow in popularity for their sustainability and ease of maintenance. Kebony does not require any additional treatment or maintenance beyond normal cleaning.

Sustainably Modified

Modified woods, like Kebony, offer the best of both worlds – sustainability, low-maintenance and outstanding durability, all in one naturally beautiful product.

Photo by Helen Fielding

Modified woods, like Kebony, offer the best of both worlds – sustainability, low-maintenance and outstanding durability, all in one naturally beautiful product.

Kebony actually has even more environmentally friendly aspects than just being made from quickly regenerated wood species and using organic chemicals in the treatment process. For example, because Kebony doesn’t need to be protected from the elements the way that most woods do. Therefore you don’t need to apply a new coat of stain or sealant every 2 to 3 years, which limits maintenance costs but also the amount of harmful chemicals released into the atmosphere. Instead you get to enjoy the natural color and silver-gray patina of the wood, which will develop naturally without compromising the integrity of the deck.

Best of all, because modified wood is real wood, it has a high appeal amongst homeowners and homebuyers. Real wood offers an ROI of around 71.5% - nearly 10% more than composites, which means that a deck built of wood is more likely to be used and enjoyed long term without replacement.

Take a Look at Sustainable Decking

A deck can increase property values and enjoyment in the home and yard. Be sure to consider sustainable decking options such as modified wood to ensure that the deck lasts as long as possible, while impacting the environment as little as possible.

Photo by Salih Usta