Problem Solving Forum
September 18 - September 22, 2017
What should be considered in replacing a wooden deck with one made of concrete, in terms of the options for appearance, color, cost?
Michael Halliwell of Thurber Engineering Ltd. on
September 19, 2017:
There are a lot of things to consider on this one. ...read more There are a lot of things to consider on this one. Although aesthetics will be prominent in the desire (appearance and color), they really are some of the smallest things you need to be worried about in this sort of change. Most wooden decks I have seen are elevated (at least 1', sometimes far, far more) and have both a foundation and frame that would need to take the additional load imposed by concrete if you're just adding a concrete deck surface. Next is the actual installation....how will the deck be formed and reinforced. If you're replacing a low wood deck with a monolithic slab, it will have an impact on the foundation / base, settlement, forming and rebar requirements vs. trying to put a thin concrete deck surface on an elevated structure. Concrete is more expensive than lumber, but the trade off comes in longevity...a proper concrete choice treated with a weather sealant will outlast most forms of lumber and should not require nearly the same level or maintenance (i.e. no painting/staining every so many years). As for appearance, pretty much any outdoor concrete finish should work, though if in a northern climate (i.e., with snow), you may wish to avoid exposed aggregate finishes as they are harder to shovel and can sustain damage getting snow and ice off (unless you put in an in-slab heating system). I could add more, but I think you get my point.