Need advice for deck material for dogs

lynneblackApril 17, 2012

My dogs (two big labradoodles) spend a lot of time on our deck, it's the only place they have to run around, so they use it to play on and to potty. our deck is appx 40' x 30' and it's either cedar or redwood (sorry, not sure which) and is about 25 years old. At one time it was stained with Cabot solid stain but that didn't work because we have to shovel snow off in the winter which caused the stain to chip and peel.

Because of the dogs, we will never have a beautiful deck, I get that; but I want something that won't look as bad as what we have now and is easy to clean, and not terribly expensive. The deck is about 6'-10' off the ground, is NW facing in Reno NV and besides wear and tear from the dogs is subject to hot summers and cold winters.

Would composite be our best bet, or should we look for pressure treated wood? I can't see spending the money for IPE since the dogs will probably mess up anything we get and that's a fair investment just to have it ruined.

I went to Lowe's and Home Depot (they ran all the local lumber yards out of town) and they said they don't have pressure treated wood for deck surfaces so maybe I used the wrong terminology?

Any ideas would be appreciated. I'm even considering flipping the deck boards over and re-using those that aren't too bad, would that be a stupid idea?

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If you let your dogs dump on your deck, whatever decking you use will look like $hit. You should have a tile deck, and you can hose it down...or just take the dogs for a walk.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 5:39PM
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We do take the dogs for walks but they still go on the deck, that's the way it is..we don't have a yard for them, we live in an HOA and they can't be let out anywhere that's not fenced and the deck is the only space that is fenced.

I think I said that I 'know' that because of the dogs the deck will never look good, I'm just asking which material would be the best choice. I don't know anything about a tile deck, I've never seen one before

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 10:42PM
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Poor dogs.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:42PM
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they don't suffer, believe me- they go for an hour long walk every day, they spend most of their time in the house with us and go out on the deck when they choose to through a doggie door. They are taken for short walks throughout the day to potty but if they need to go between walks they do so on the deck and we immediately clean it up. Once a week they go for a half day run with 7 or 8 other dogs, so it's not like we throw them out on the deck and ignore them.

We are just trying to make the deck look a little better, I looked at Synta restore in home depot, but I'm afraid the texture would be uncomfortable to their paws. Using a belt sander I can sand about 90% of the solid stain off but not enough to go to a transparent stain, it's just impossible to get it all off.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:56PM
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Composite will cost you as much as ipe. I'd go for the cheapest option, PT, and then you won't care as much if they look crappy (no pun intended).

HD and Lowe's carry PT decking. Not sure why the clerks got confused. You're just looking for standard deck boards.

If the wood's in good condition, but just stained, consider just painting the whole thing brown. You'll need to redo the flat surfaces every couple years, but you can just do an adder coat with minimal prep.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 2:10PM
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There's a 'real' lumber yard about 30 minutes from me, I think I will go there and see if they have PT, thanks =)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 5:28PM
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I looked at paverdeck, it looks great, but it appears that you have to install it over their proprietary steel framing, I found a PDF file that quotes 'average' price for materials at $16-$20 SQ ft which is more than I could spend on the deck- it's really a very big deck, like 1200 sq ft.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 6:28PM
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Fiberglass over the decking, 3/4 tongue and groove then coating of resin to seal it. Rinse off when you have to.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:25AM
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I just 'googled' fiberglass decking and strongwell "strongdek" keeps coming up, is that what you were referring to? I checked their website and they don't exactly have dealers, only a contact for a sales rep for California and Nevada

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 9:24PM
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    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 10:39PM
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@CaptRandy- thanks I'm going to call our GC friend and see if he can find someone local who handles either one of those that you linked.
@DHPearson- yeah we are in a climate very much like Utah- Northern Nevada, we are at about 5,000 feet and have blazing sun on the deck in the summer and snow accumulations in the winter. Because of the dogs we wash down the deck every day, and in the winter shovel it every day. I will look into the composites again, there have been so many 'doom and gloom' postings regarding them that I had pretty much crossed them off the list, but it's nice to hear that you had a good experience with it.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 9:13PM
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I read a lot of the doom and gloom and lawsuits and whatever about composites. What it really comes down to though is the difference between "maintenance free" and "low maintenance". Any product claiming to be maintenance free is a farce. Everything needs upkeep. However, some products, like Trex, are low maintenance, meaning that they just require cleaning to keep them looking good. has some great cleaning advice for their fences and decks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Trex Deck Cleaning Guide

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 12:49PM
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