As I write this blog we are in dead of summer in Northeast Ohio. As a deck builder we often get asked about the temperature of decks.
This used to not be as much of a concern because when I started out in the deck business we were primarily using pressure-treated lumber. A lot has changed in the last 20 years. We are now installing more manufactured (composite decking) products than we are wood type decking products.
Considering their many benefits; low-maintenance, no splinters, no cupping, no staining, and now, minimal color fade, it’s no surprise that this is a growing trend. There is one characteristic where wood does perform better, and that is it does not get as hot. The majority of the man-made products do get hotter than their wood counterparts.
Since there are hundreds of low-maintenance decking choices out there, it’s impossible to cover all the different types here, so I will generalize here about the most common types and applications we use. (For specifics, see my blog post Which is the best decking? What decking should I use?)
First, consider how much barefoot traffic you might encounter. Around pools there will be much more barefoot traffic than on a front entrance. Consider shade and direct sun. Also, what time of day you will be using it? How will the sun be positioned? Keep in mind that lighter colors will not get as hot as darker colors. We recommend lighter colored decking around pools. Think about the type of decking you are selecting. Different plastic compositions will hold a different amount of heat. You will find that different brands of decking will differ in their heat gain.
If possible, take samples of the products you are considering using and place them outside on the area and try them out. This will only work if you are planning your project in the summer but it will give you a real life test drive of the products and colors.
Let’s face it. When it’s 92 degrees Fahrenheit outside, everything is hot. You are not going to be hanging out in full sun anywhere if you can help it. In Northeast Ohio, this problem of being too hot only lasts for a couple short months, the rest of the time you will welcome the little bit of extra heat a low-maintenance product might hold.
Finally prioritize your decking characteristics. Is heat retention your number one concern? Most of our clients want the benefits of low-maintenance, and no splinters, over a few degrees of heat retention. Even around swimming pools, splinters are as much of a concern as is heat retention.
Our approach is to arm you with the information that you need. Then you make the call, it’s your deck.
Let us know if you would like our advice.