Home Improvements – Deck Building And Finishing

Deck Building

What to use when building a deck is always the question!

Decks can be built to be maintenance friendly or sweat equity not so friendly… Let’s deal with the first one “maintenance friendly”.

Consider using one of the composite products, they can be up to 70 % wood fibre and 30 % polymer plastic. Looks like wood, feels like wood, greys like wood in the sunshine; but requires no staining or painting and screws down using deck screws. Some are tongue and groove and allow water to drain through its unique drain-hole system. Sound interesting… You bet! Ask at your local building supply centre for further information.

Now for the 2nd, not so friendly; real wood. No, I am not anti-natural wood fibre, but it does have to be maintained every 2 to 4 years depending on exposure to the natural elements. If you insist on real wood, use Western Red Cedar or 5/4 X 4 Rocky Mountain treated pine applied to pressure treated joists.

For best results, use the Deckster galvanized strips to give a nail less face to the deck surface. Finish with a natural deck oil after preparing the surface with mill glaze remover.


Wood drip through decks are the type normally built, if 2 X 4 or 2 X 6, or treated radiused edged decking, laying flat over a joist system allowing the water to drip through to the ground below. No matter what kind of lumber you use to build your deck, red or yellow cedar, pine, spruce, hemlock, redwood or fir, you must prepare the surface properly so that it will accept the deck finish. When lumber goes through the milling process, the knives polish the face leaving what is called mill glazing on the surface. This glazing prevents proper penetration of quality deck stain.

First scrub the deck with a mill glaze remover available at your local building supply store or paint store, or sand the face of the deck with 60 grit sandpaper.

Apply natural oil or semi transparent deck finishes for best results. Apply to all 4 sides and ends before nailing or screwing down.

NOTE: Make sure you select the best side to be up. When applying finish, use a stain brush and scrub into the wood with a polyester scrub pad. Second coat should be applied when the deck is in place.

2nd NOTE: This should not be done in bright/direct sunlight.

It’s just that easy!