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Taking care of your deck

The deck is the heart of a back yard. It's where the family gathers for dinner, the perfect spot for grilling, a great place to hang out with friends and the ideal location for relaxing after a long day. Whether you're thinking of building a new deck or your old one needs resurfacing, be sure and choose the right decking product: choose real wood.

Building a Deck. Thinking of building a brand new deck? What a great way to enhance your back yard! According to the 2010-2011 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling magazine, homeowners can expect to recoup 72.8 percent (on average) of the cost of building a wood deck vs. only 66.2 percent if building with composites. Deck substructures are built using pressure-treated wood anyway; if it's strong and durable enough to hold up your deck, it's strong enough to actually be your decking surface.

Pressure-treated wood is a builder favorite and has been the number one decking material for decades. It's natural, real - and it looks fantastic.

Resurfacing a deck. If you already have a wood deck but it's more than 20 years old, consider a resurfacing project. This is where the decking surface is replaced, while the substructure remains. (It's always a good idea to have a decking professional check the entire deck for soundness.) Resurfacing is easy, and it's a great way to refresh your outdoor living areas without blowing your budget.

Maintaining a deck. Every building material designed for outdoor use requires maintenance; luckily, real wood decks are very easy to maintain. Once a year, check your deck to see if it needs cleaning or perhaps another coat of sealant. Perform the cup of water test: if a cup of water poured on the deck boards immediately soaks into the wood, it's time to apply water repellant.

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