Decking And Fencing

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Decking and fencing are important additions to any home. Decks add convenience, versatility and beauty to your existing home plan. They inspire more patio parties, more quiet outdoor relaxation, and more family time together. They're also practical in that they provide a clean, elevated surface for your outdoor furniture. For these reasons, decks typically increase the value of your property--provided they're well built and maintained, of course.

Fencing also increases property value. A fence around the yard allows homeowners more control and security over their own property. This is an important issue for all homeowners, but it is especially so for those with pets or small children. Having a fence around the property offers the freedom, relaxation, and peace of mind that comes from knowing that pets can't escape, small children can't wander off, and strangers can't come in.

Attractive Yet Functional Decking and Fencing

This doesn't mean, however, that fences need have a "fenced-in" or forbidding look. On the contrary, fences can appear charming and even elegant if they're attractively designed and made from the right materials. The romantically ornate, Victorian-style wrought-iron fence is a classic example. This type of fencing is so attractive that, rather than seem repellent, it adds a final touch of elegance and class to your home while effectively protecting your property.

The same is true of decks, which home dwellers interact with more directly. Decks have a practical function, but they should also be attractive and easy to use. This means that they have should not only look pretty, but, as they will come into constant contact with hands and bare feet, they should also have a pleasing texture. Decks should be smooth and splinter-free, as well as waterproof and heat resistant.

Wooden Decking and Fencing

Decking and fencing are often comprised of the same materials. The most traditional and popular material is wood. Wood is easy to come by and easy to work with, as it only requires ordinary carpenter's tools. It is a natural and extremely beautiful material, with endless possibilities in color and tone. Besides, the smell of a real wooden deck is hard to beat. All of these factors account for wood's popularity as a decking and fencing material.

There is nothing worse, however, than a brittle, warped or rotting wooden deck. Rather than help you to relax and enjoy yourself, a deck like this will put you on pins and needles in anticipation of the next splinter or, even worse, a collapse. One drawback of wood is that it's permeable by the elements. Therefore, it's not the most durable material in its natural state. For this reason, methods such as pressure treating have evolved that improve the durability, longevity, and water resistance of wood. For example, pressure-treated cedar or redwood boards make a wonderful deck surface. They offer long-lasting durability without losing their visual beauty or wonderful smell.

Other Decking and Fencing Materials

Another problem with wood is its cost. Even though wooden decks are typically constructed from a combination of woods to save on costs, a well-constructed wooden deck is expensive. For this reason, other materials have been developed, such as synthetics and composites. Vinyl is the most common synthetic decking and fencing material. Vinyl is waterproof, windproof, rustproof, termite resistant, and warp resistant. It is also cheaper, easier to maintain, and more fire-resistant than wood.

One of vinyl's drawbacks, though, is that it does not have the natural look of wood. Rather, it looks very much like what it is: plastic. Many people do not care for this look and therefore choose to work with composite decking and fencing. Composite materials are made from a combination of wood and synthetics. In many ways, composite materials offer the best of both worlds, such as the natural look of wood, along with the termite, water and fire resistance of synthetics.

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