Deck material question for elderly

hilltop_gwJuly 9, 2012

We have an elderly uncle (82)living in a tri-plex (we own his unit). Generally each unit houses people age 75+. Each unit has an 8x10' deck on the rear side that is currently 20 year old wood. We'll try to fix all three at once. We've gotten bids to replace the decks and the materials presented were 1)Moisture Shield ($), 2) Genovations ($$) or 3) Timber Tech ($$$).

Anyone familiar with any of these? Pros and cons? I'm sure the biggest factor for unit holders is cost and then how hot the material gets in summer or how slick it might be when wet. And they really don't want mold or mildew or cracks that accumulate debris. They get a fair amount of shade. In our area we get hot summers (90-100) and cold winters (0). The residents really don't use the decks much, but they need something there as an exit point. Comments appreciated.

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Who's paying for this - you or the unit holder (uncle)? What's your 5-year plan, 10-year plan, etc.?

I'd probably go with the least expensive (wood) under the usage and circumstances.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 6:45PM
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If we do anything, it would be each of the owners of the units that would pitch in and pay. Only one owner actually resides in a unit they own. Association dues & special assessments pay for all exterior upkeep. The owners meet once a year and we need to decide how to proceed so I'm just gathering info for a discussion. The wood supports and posts that are currently there are bad and over 50% of the lattice is bad or missing. We had the decks re-stained a few years ago, but the wood's in bad enough shape that we need to replace it with something. I don't have a problem with wood, but IMHO it needs to be consistently sealed with a protectant in order to last.

To complicate matters the shingles on the entire unit (reshingled in 2003 following a tornado) were done with Certainteed shingles and they look terrible so we've got to decide what to do there also.

You're right, we probably need to have a 5 year & 10 year plan.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:07PM
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If the structure is bad (how high off the ground?) I'd probably just tear them all out and replace with PT lumber, which would run $1000 or so for materials and could be done in a day. I wouldn't go high end on a rental unit.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 7:35PM
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The structure is getting bad: posts loose, wood very rough and lattice falling apart. Technically we don't need a rail, and just having a wood platform would be the ideal, easiest and most cost effective answer. The current decks are only about a foot off the ground so, by code, they do not need a rail.

But for safety purposes I can't imagine not having a rail for these elderly folks. The uncle needs something to grasp hold of when going down any steps, or even when just standing anywhere for a brief period. I'd be concerned he'd miss the edge, overstep and fall. One accident and the cost for a deck rail might seem cheap. We can all afford to go with any of our options, but the major reason for keeping costs under control is because the units are in a small rural town where we'll never recoup our costs. So I was just curious about the products I'd mentioned.

The group meets tonight so we'll see what they say.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 3:24PM
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Certainly pressure treated lumber would out offer the lowest initial cost. Ongoing maintenance costs would have to be added to the annual budget of the homeowners association.

Another option might be to replace the wooden deck with a concrete patio. The higher initial cost concrete might offset the ongoing maintenance cost of wood.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 7:37AM
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Well mike, you nailed it. The group wants to get a bid for concrete slab patios at each unit followed with a metal or vinyl rail.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 8:32AM
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