This summer, our outdoor spaces are more important than ever, and that has more of us considering what kind of improvements could make them even more enjoyable.
The anchor for many of those improvements is a patio or deck – the foundation your outdoor room is built upon. It must be functional, but also attractive, and ideally become an extension of your home that you’ll enjoy for years to come!
While wood has been the go-to selection here in Greater Victoria for many years, homeowners today have a variety of options to choose from. To get the pros and cons of those various selections, we checked in with Srdjo Djurkovic, project leader for MAC Renovations.
“With COVID, a lot of people are at home and looking at their deck or patio and what improvements they could do to create their ‘Puerto Backyarda’ getaway,” Djurkovic says with a laugh.
Wood. If you love the look and feel of wood, here on the West Coast, that typically means cedar or a pressure treated product. What you choose will be governed largely by factors such as appearance, longevity, maintenance and price. Once you start looking at a clear-grade cedar, for example, the cost will be comparable to a composite, but you’ll still need to address regular maintenance requirements – wood decks typically require cleaning, sanding and staining every few years.
Pressure-treated options have come a long way in the last few years, both in the range of colours and in environmentally friendlier options, Djurkovic says, pointing to products like MicroPro Sienna, whose environmental footprint is less than half that of traditional treated wood, and is supposed to last up to 30 years. It’s also one of the least expensive choices.
It’s also important to note that today’s building strategies, such as wrapping joists where they connect to the house, also add to wood products’ strength and longevity.
Composite. While a little more expensive than many wood materials, properly installed quality composite products will provide more years of enjoyment with considerably less maintenance than their natural counterparts – typically just periodic cleaning.
“The product just keeps getting better, and you have so many options,” Djurkovic notes.
While some earlier composite products were limited in colour and board width, for example, today you can choose from a variety of appearance profiles. Trex is one of the oldest products, resilient to foot traffic and pets, and has the added benefit of an easy-install system. For a south-facing area, consider a lighter shade that won’t get excessively hot in the sun, Djurkovic suggests.
Stamped concrete. For those with a ground-level patio area, stamped concrete is opening up a world of options beyond paving stones or decking. “We recently did two projects where we removed a low, wooden deck and replaced it with stamped concrete,” Djurkovic says. In addition to being low-maintenance, concrete can be created in a variety of different colours, textures and patterns to complement the yard and home. While the material price is higher, the installation process is typically lower.