The durability now being touted for deck boards has some customers re-evaluating what’s beneath them. “With high-end decks become popular, the question becomes: What is the deck being put on?”
Trex’s Zambanini says. “A steel substructure is making more sense because it’s more durable and longer-lasting. More people are putting kitchens or other dry space under the deck, and the steel substructure makes it easier to fit it in.”
Steel substructures have become popular overseas, especially in Costa Rica and Australia, DuraLife’s Descouteaux says. “Deck boards last 25 to 30 years, and people want to be assured that the substructure will last as long. But the vast majority is still wood.”
Gossen’s Raganyi agrees. “People are no longer married to pressure-treated wood substructures. Some are getting more adventurous and using steel substructures. That will be the next big thing, but it’s not here yet.”
“Most decks use pressure-treated wood for the substructure,” Osmose’s Horvat says. “Decks represent the majority of overall treated-lumber use, with more than 85% of single-family homes having some type of outdoor living area.” That represents a large market for dealers to tap into with pressure-treated wood products that add value.
Adds Arch’s Hammond, “We promote decks positively in every way we can as a great improvement for the home. Even if an alternative decking product is chosen, it helps our market, due to the use of pressure-treated wood for the substructure.
We promote pressure-treated wood decks as the best outdoor-living experience that homeowners can invest in
and enjoy. The [pressure-treated wood] industry needs to put more effort into educating the retailer, deck builder and consumer about the value that pressuretreated wood provides.”
Railing options also are expanding rapidly, as more customers look to mixand- match top and bottom railings with more low-profile balusters. “The railings market is becoming more segmented, with more options,” Tapco’s Wierengo says. “There are many choices out there today as well as new materials.”
Aluminum railings in particular are gaining popularity. “Railings are the most visible element, as they’re vertical and more prominent,” Trex’s Zambanini says. “Customers want complementary colors but with more contrast than exact matches for accents and railings. There is a wide range of price points today.”
“People are realizing they can change the entire look of the exterior by changing the rail balusters,” Wahoo’s Bailey says. “That’s especially true for multifamily projects, where they can dramatically change the entire exterior appearance of the building by changing the balusters.”