Building the Most Sustainable Deck Possible

Posted in: Fortress steel framing products

James Moylan

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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It’s no secret that issues of sustainability and eco-friendly materials have been increasingly on consumers’ minds. Price and aesthetics are obviously always going to play a huge role in any purchasing decision, but all other factors being equal, sustainability is becoming more and more prevalent in the decision about where to spend hard-earned dollars. If you’re thinking about adding a deck to your home or giving an existing outdoor living space a facelift, here are five eco-friendly options to incorporate into your design.

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  1. Wood-Alternative Decking Boards

One of the easiest ways to make your deck gentler on the Earth is by avoiding natural wood decking boards. Any type of wood contributes to deforestation, but this practice can be especially harmful to the environment when you’re looking at rare or tropical woods. (Think ipe, mahogany, teak, and others.)

If you love the look of natural wood but don’t want all the upkeep and maintenance, consider opting for any number of composite decking materials. The following brands give you a genuine wood look without the environmental impact:

Still on the fence about whether you want wood or composite? Read here for a full breakdown of what you need to know about Trex versus wood products.

Torn about what composite brand to choose? Here are the relative environmental benefits of TimberTech AZEK, as well as the main ways Trex is an environmentally friendly choice.

  1. Wood-Alternative Decking Frame

If you’ve decided to go with a wood-alternative option for your decking boards, consider the benefits of a wood-alternative option for your frame as well. Companies like Fortress Building Products offer entirely steel systems so you never have to worry about your frame rotting out or fret your deck frame isn’t crafted from a sustainable material.

  1. Fire Features Running on Biofuel

Fire features are great multipurpose elements in any deck. They provide warmth in chillier shoulder seasons, but they also add ambiance and visual appeal to the space. They can be a challenge, though, for those looking for a fully eco-friendly option. Wood-burning fireplaces require real wood to burn; propane fireplaces require propane, a clean-burning but nonrenewable fossil fuel; and heaters require electricity to run.

If you’re truly looking for the most earth-friendly way to keep your deck cozy, consider EcoSmart Fire. They run on bioethanol, a clean-burning and renewable fuel source, and their only output is heat, steam, and carbon dioxide. (Interested? Learn more about the company here.)

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  1. Eco-Friendly Railings

Lots of consumers now know decking boards comes in composite options, but not as many people realize companies providing those decking boards often offer railings as well. For example, Trex offers porch and deck railing options in composite, and you can also check out the TimberTech AZEK composite railing line. These provide all the same environmental benefits as their decking board counterparts.

Vinyl is another wood-alternative option within railing, but many vinyl options use virgin plastic (plastic created just for that project) as opposed to recycled materials. Coupled with its tendency to visually degrade over time and to warp when exposed to extreme temperatures, lots of environmentally conscious consumers lean toward composite.

  1. Stainless Steel Exterior Cabinetry

One of the biggest trends in decking right now is the incorporation of high-end, beautiful, durable exterior cabinetry. Whether used for storage or as part of an outdoor kitchen, stainless steel cabinets are largely considered the gold standard, and one of the main companies offering that product is Danver Outdoor Kitchens.

In addition to being extremely durable and ideal for exterior conditions, stainless steel is also an inherently sustainable product. It doesn’t degrade in quality when recycled, meaning most stainless steel products contain a high percentage of recycled material built directly into them.

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If you already love the look and quality of Danver stainless steel cabinetry, here’s what you need to know about Danver and issues of sustainability.

We’re a premier design and build firm servicing the Washington, DC; Maryland; and Virginia areas. With our extreme weather patterns, we understand the need for exterior products to be durable, but we also know our customers want beauty and function. If you’re curious about what products are at the intersection of durability, aesthetics, function, and sustainability, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to talk through how to make your next outdoor project as sustainable as possible!