Anyone that lives in Canada appreciates spending time outside – especially in the spring/summer/fall months when the weather is more agreeable. We often find ourselves adding useful outdoor elements to our homes to allow us to use our backyards more. Decks are an effective way to create a beautiful, livable outdoor space, however the maintenance involved can take away from their enjoyment. So, how about a Stone Deck vs a Wood Deck?
A wood deck simply put is made of all wood, it’s framed with and cladded with wood decking boards. This is problematic in that it allows the wood to weather and rot over time. Stone is widely used in landscaping and building industries, as it is highly prized for beauty, durability and strength, and of course it’s maintenance-free qualities.
Besides these obvious differences, there are some similarities when comparing a stone deck vs a wood deck.
The construction techniques and concepts of both a stone deck and a wood deck can be very similar. The structure itself is framed using pressure treated lumber or similar materials. This framed structure can be either floated or supported by footings, depending on your soil conditions. These footing supports are either made of concrete or are mechanical screw piles. The actual framing of a stone deck vs a wood deck may require slightly larger framing members, due to the extra weight of the stone in certain cases. Once you have your structure framed, you can choose one of several innovative products that allow you to create that stone deck. Both Silca System by StoneDeks and Tiledeck by Evolutiondecks are two products that are attached to the framing and act as a sturdy all weather subfloor to support the stone.
The maintenance of a stone deck vs a wood deck will be very different. A stone deck simply needs a quick pressure wash to get rid of the grime from winter or when needed. A wood deck will require regular maintenance with an extensive process, that includes pressure washing and sanding the deck, followed by applications of a stain or sealer. This can be a very time consuming process depending on the size of the deck!
Another factor to consider for those living in more northern areas is winter maintenance. With snow and ice build-up, keeping your deck clear may be a bit of a challenge. So how does a stone deck vs wood deck compare for winter maintenance? Some stone products may be affected by salt, so the best option for removing snow and ice is a calcium chloride-based “ice melt” or rock salt. Look for the phrases “safe for concrete”, “safe for flagstone” and “will not kill grass”. Any wood decking boards will discolor, and we would not recommend using salt or ice melt products on any of them. Using a metal or plastic shovel or even snow blowing will not affect a stone deck, and any non-slip grit that is applied will easily wash off in the spring. Sand or grit, while it offers traction on slippery surfaces, should be avoided on wood decking as it can scratch and damage the surface. Metal shovels, sharp-edge tools and snow blowing are also not recommended for use on wood decking surfaces.
To be able to compare the cost of a stone deck vs a wood deck we need to consider the type of wood being used for the surface to do a fair comparison. Since both builds, in essence, are the same from the footings to the framing, the difference in pricing will be the cladding materials. If you are looking at creating a pressure treated or cedar cladded deck, the costs would be less. But both of these options demand a high level of maintenance. If, however, you are planning to clad with exotic woods, such as Ipe or Cumaru in an effort to reduce your maintenance, you will find the costs to be very similar.
When it’s time for you to deciding on a stone deck vs wood deck, make sure to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both options before deciding which one is right for you. And don’t forget to look at the many different styles available in stone – if you want to maintain the “wood deck” look but avoid the maintenance, there are options available to you.
Welcome to the deck revolution!