At first glance, it may not seem as though a lot of thought needs to go into what materials to use when building a porch. Recent advancements in the building trades though, leave 21st century consumer with quite a few decisions to make when they are selecting their porch building materials. Every item from lumber to hardware is now available in a bigger, better, newer, more eco-friendly or longer lasting version. Here’s a breakdown on what’s new.
The actual material that you will use to build the floor of your porch is called the decking. Of all the changes that have been wrought in materials industry in recent years, none has seen greater advancements than the market for decking.
Shortages in quality lumber and movements by environments activist groups have limited the amount of lumber that can be harvested each year. As we continue to use up more and more of our natural resources, the need for alternative forms of building materials will increase.
Though good old-fashioned wooden decking is still available, most new houses are using a combination of wooden structures and composite decking for their porch building materials. The composite decking comes from a wide variety of sources and is made in a variety of ways.
There are two main classifications. Some composite decking is still wood based. In these products a concoction of polymers and wood fibers are mixed together to create a durable product that require minimal maintenance. The other forms of composite decking do not have any wood product in them at all. They are made from recycled plastics and are dyed to have a wooden appearance.
The hardware industry has also made many drastic improvements to their porch building materials in recent years. New kinds of screws, which are made with a baked finish resist rust better than any galvanized nail ever did. The fact that we even use screws in decks now is new.
The screws are much better at resisting the cupping and pulling action of warping deck boards and do not pull out of the joists nearly as easily or frequently as the framing nails did that were used in the past.
Even in the few years that screws have been used improvements in the manufacturing process of the screws has led to a much harder product. A few years ago, it was common to have the head snap off a screw while you were driving it. Now the screws are hardened and treated so that this doesn’t happen.
The makers of drill drivers have also improved the technology that they use. The chucks and gears are much hardier than they used to be and now a cordless screw gun can be used to drive decking screws all day without over heating. This is due in large part to invention of a clutch system for the drivers. Every aspect of these improvements in the building trades has touched the quality of porch building materials.