Whether you hire a professional deck installer or DIY, go green when you build your new deck and you’ll not only help to save the planet, you’ll also help yourself save a few bucks too. Use these basic tips and techniques to build the ultimate ecofriendly deck.
The foundation is the beginning to any decking installation project. But before you lift the first shovel full of dirt, consider renting a sod cutter machine and removing the grass first. You can keep the grass roots alive and intact so the sod can be replanted. If your deck is far above the grass line, plant some shade loving and you’re sure to have a green deck, both figuratively and literally.
The structure of your deck is its skeleton and should be built to last a lifetime. With the use of pressure treated materials, rot, decay and termites are unlikely to be seen on your deck. Unfortunately, the process of pressure treating involves the use of toxic chemicals and is a major cause of polluted waterways around the world.
Instead of using these materials, opt out instead for less toxic natural materials like cedar and redwood to help prevent rot or decay. You may need to use a wood sealant or protective finish to help preserve the wood against the elements. Using a water-based natural sealant is sure to give you the protection from the elements that you need and still be ecofriendly.
Because there is such a wide variety of planking options available, it’s easy to go green on decking planks. A common green decking material is the composite. Made from a variety of materials from cellulose to recycled plastic polymer, most are water, rot and bug resistant and come in a huge variety of colors and sizes that will last for decades. The downside-they can fade in the sun, they can be hard on the saws blades and they can be made from toxic materials.
But you don’t have to composites to build an ecofriendly deck. Wood is one of the greenest and most sustainable decking planks there is; if it’s done right. But before you buy any wood for your deck, check for sustainable lumber labels like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council. These labels prove that their product has been harvested from sustainable forests.
Paints, stains and sealants not only beautify your newly built deck they also help to protect it for years to come. Because so many decking sealants now come in less toxic forms than past products, it can be easy to find a quality ecofriendly decking sealant. Look for low or no VOC products to prevent off-gassing of chemicals that can be harmful to the environment.
Water-based sealants are often touted as more eco-friendly than oil-based products, but when used outdoors, water-based decking sealants can quickly wash away into the surrounding soil and water supply. Opt out for an oil-based sealant to extend the life of your sealant, decreasing your need to reuse sealants frequently. And that’s good news not only for the environment, but also for your wallet.