How Much Does Pine Decking Cost?
When you own a deck, you want a wood that looks great and is soft on the feet. Good thing pine offers both without sacrificing the other. There are numerous different types of pine wood so for those who have trouble making a concrete (or wood) decision on your deck, pine would be the way to go. Continue reading to see the costs that go into pine wood decking.
- $5 to $11 per square foot
Types of Pine:
Hard Pines: Southern Yellow Pine, Shortleaf, Slash, Longleaf, Lolblolly, Sand, Spruce, Table Mountain, Pitch, Virginia, Pond, Western Yellow Pine, Ponderosa
Soft Pine: White Pine, Sugar, Western White, Eastern, Limber
Southern Yellow Pine
There are three major types of pine that are used for lumber, with a number of species in each type. The most common pine used in decks is Southern Yellow Pine, which includes the Sand Pine, the Spruce and the Pond Pine among others. Southern Yellow Pine has a dried weight ranging from 28 to 42 pounds per cubic foot. It has a wide grain pattern, and the surface tends to be rougher. Southern Yellow Pine species grow in the Southern United States predominantly.
Ponderosa Pine is the other species of hard pine. Ponderosa trees can grow up to 200 feet and possess large trunks that produce relatively wider pieces of knot-free wood. The sapwood, which is the outer layer of wood that carries the lifeblood of the tree, is weak but is resistant to warping, swelling and shifting. It has a tight grain pattern and a smooth, clear surface. It has a dried weight of 28 to 42 pounds per cubic foot. The Ponderosa grows in the Western United States predominantly.
The White Pines include Sugar Pine, Limber Pine and Eastern and Western White Pines. These trees grow in the North as well as California. The wood has a tight grain like Ponderosa and a smooth, uniform surface. It is resistant to shrinking, warping and cracking. It has a dried weight ranging from 25 to 28 pounds per cubic foot.
Things to Know
It is important to do a little research when choosing a particular pine lumber to use on a deck. Pine wood for outdoor use must be treated to achieve any kind of durability. The common types of pressure treatment are Micronized Copper Quaternary, Alkaline Copper Quaternary and Copper Azole. Any wood that will be in contact with the earth needs a minimum pressure treatment of 0.40 pcf. It is also recommended that consumers seek KDAT, wood that has been kiln-dried after its treatment with the chemical preservatives. Consumers can also choose to get pine that has been factory treated with water-repellent although new treatments should be applied every two years to maintain an attractive surface. It is also extremely important to use hot-dipped galvanized aluminum or stainless steel hardware on the pressure-treated wood as the copper in the pressure treated wood will react negatively with other types of metal.
When choosing the lumber itself, tighter growth rings or a finer grain indicates a higher quality of lumber with greater durability. Lumber should be marked with information such as whether it was kiln-dried and what pressure treatment was used, as well as what grade of wood it is. Consumers should learn what the various abbreviations mean, and not be afraid to ask questions in making sure they’re getting the right kind of treated wood for their purposes.
Advantages of Pine
Pine is a common wood of choice for decks as well as many other applications, with some claims being that 80 percent of decks are still made with it. It is considered environmentally friendly because of its abundance and fast-growing nature, and it is also economical for the same reasons. In addition to its availability, pine is an easy wood to work with. There’s no need to pre-drill holes or acquire special tools for driving in nails. Projects tend to go more smoothly because they are less labor intensive, and as a result, installation costs may even be less than with a more difficult wood. Pine also has an attractive wood grain and is durable, especially relative to its weight. An outdoor pine deck can be expected to last 15 years when properly treated every second year with a water repellent. It resists shrinking and swelling, and its relatively light color, often pale white or yellow, allows it to be stained to suit all tastes.
Disadvantages of Pine
While pine is a great wood when it comes to costs and benefits, and it is by no means considered undesirable or impractical, there are still some reasons it may not be the ideal choice for a particular project. Pine is not a maintenance-free choice. Decks made of pine will require treatment every two years if they are expected to last, and the lifespan of the deck is even then approximately 15 years, depending on conditions. Lack of proper maintenance and upkeep is cosmetically detrimental, with neglected wood turning a grey color. It also tends to dent and splinter more readily than other types of woods. Because it is softer than some, it is susceptible to scratches. Pine also tends to have lots of resinous knots. Finally, the fact that it requires pressure treatment means that working with it exposes one to chemical residue that could be unhealthy.
Prospective deck owners should be aware there are additional costs associated with pine decking. The average price to have a professional stain a pine deck is about $148 to $275 per 100 square feet. Cost of the stain materials alone factors to approximately between $24 to $39 per 100 square feet. Maintenance every two years can be estimated at about $190 per 100 square feet, about the same for other types of wood decks.
Ultimately, pine woods remain a common choice for everything from furniture to decks. Its sustainability as a crop, affordability and the ease of handling it in construction keep it at the top of the list when people consider what wood to choose for their projects. It is not a luxury wood, but its versatility in how it lends itself to any color of stain and its attractive grain keep it from being merely a budget choice. Homeowners should consider the relative cost to benefit ratio when deciding whether the pros outweigh the cons of choosing pine.
Last updated on May 5, 2014
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