The Beauty and Practicality of Wood Decks and the Iowa Countryside

Tuesday, I was driving up the state and county highway systems north of Des Moines on my way to investigate a couple of new, potential Archadeck outdoor living projects…one in Boone, one just south of Story City.  We do promote ourselves as Archadeck of Central Iowa, and its days like this that we truly, geographically, live up to our name.  These trips actually give me a little time to relax and catch my breath during the middle of a busy deck building season in the Des Moines and Central Iowa area.

I was reminded of two things on that trip.  One, that Iowa has some of the most beautiful countryside you’ll find anywhere.  Two, that pressure-treated lumber is an underrated and oft-maligned board for building outdoor living structures…and unfairly, at that.

To that latter point, we did a front porch project, using pressure-treated lumber,in Madrid back in 2005. 

Madrid Front Porch, 2005

On my travels yesterday, I stopped by to check it out.  It looks better today than it did 5 years ago.  Why?  Because the owners have taken care of it.

The Madrid front porch project is small in comparison to many other projects we do….size-wise.  But, not in impact and value to the home and the homeowner’s enjoyment of the home.  People sometimes call us with “smaller” projects and they’ll somewhat timidly say something like, “…maybe my project isn’t big enough for you…I know you guys do a lot of projects on multi-million dollar homes.”  To that I say something like “…its not the size that matters…it’s the value and quality you are looking for and the satisfied customers we are looking for.”  Besides, there aren’t really that many multi-million dollar homes in the Central Iowa area.  Think about it.

The Madrid front porch project also does not use any of the new technology, expensive, wood-alternative products

Madrid Front Porch, 2010

that 75% of our projects last year used.  No composite.  No vinyl.  No PVC.  Just wood…for the framing, decking, railing, stairs and skirting.  Southern Yellow Pine.  Pressure-treated with chemicals to make it termite-resistant and ground contact tolerant.   

Yes, it (any wood decking product – PT/SYP, cedar, ipe, etc.) will fade grey.  Yes, they will splinter and check; it even warps and twists a bit (more than we like).  And, splits and knot holes will occur over time.  But, all this will occur less and slower and the deck will last longer and look better if its diligently maintained.  What does that mean?  We recommend a minimum of a 2-year cycle of cleaning and sealing…with a stain if you prefer.  The latter is the maintenance you don’t have to do with the wood-alternative products; cleaning may still be necessary (though in 3 years I still haven’t done mine).

If that maintenance is done regularly on a wood deck, the results can be as stunning as anything you’ll find in the wood-alternative world.  The Madrid front porch is a prime example.  Our client there has taken good care of their front porch.

If that maintenance isn’t done regularly, the results aren’t as stunning…and the maligning begins.  And, unfairly so if the home/deck owner didn’t do the maintenance and expected better results.  This does drive a lot of wood-alternative sales – and there are other valid reasons to make that jump as well.  For another time.

For this time, for this beautiful trip from our office in Urbandale to Polk City to Madrid to Boone to Story City and back thru Ames, Ankeny and Altoona to my home in Des Moines…it was all about the beauty of well-maintained, natural wood.  On decks and porches.  And on homes – the Story City prospect has a beautiful log home with the most awesome deck and porch view of the Iowa countryside after an Iowa thunderstorm you could ever imagine.  It’s a million dollar view, which is also more important to me than the value of the home.  This is why we live outdoors.

Enjoy the home you’re in.  Start living outdoors.

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One response to “The Beauty and Practicality of Wood Decks and the Iowa Countryside

  1. Those are 5/4 x 6 deck boards used for the decking surfaces. Thanks for reading and for the comment.

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