WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 37 of 195

Dashing Decks posed deck would maintain the original color. Those days are over. Today's materials keep their color and look like wood. The cost of synthetic wood is higher than the cost of natural wood, but you only have to build it once and, with zero maintenance, the cost offsets itself over time. Natural Wood By comparison, natural wood begins to die the moment the tree is felled. A deck made from lumber requires a significant amount of care. Even in a suburban setting away from the wrath of the sea, the sun's UV rays and the winter's blistering cold will destroy an exposed and unpro- tected square of wood. Despite that, many experts, like Gordon, still prefer the aesthetic and natural appeal of a warm, wooden deck. Pick tough wood that will weather naturally or protect the deck with a quality sealer like Cabot's Decking Oil, or a coat of outdoor deck paint. Keep in mind a sealed or painted deck will need to be re-sealed or re-painted every one to three years. The dentist advises to only brush those teeth you wish to keep. When resealing and repainting, only treat the wood you'd like to keep, including the substructure and any nooks or crannies. Wilhelm says to use pressure-treated pine for the deck's sub-structure, and a good strong wood like mahogany or the somewhat more expensive Brazilian hardwood for the planking, stairs, and rail system. Red or white cedar is an excellent choice for those who want their deck to weather into a natural sil- very grey color over the years. Fasteners Have you ever paid attention to the lines of little nail holes that run from plank to plank on some decks? Gleysteen doesn't like them. He recommends hidden fasteners versus exposed fasteners like nails or even screws. Hidden fasteners are little plastic bis- cuits that fit snug into slits cut between the planks. Biscuits are harder to install and a bit more expensive, but nobody has to look at nail holes or rusty screw heads and there's never any need to swing a hammer at hard- ware that's wiggled free. Environmental Impact The argument over which material is better for the earth, wood or synthetic, isn't as clear cut as one might imagine. Kaplan says the answer may be a matter of opinion. Synthetic wood requires petroleum, but natural wood from decks that don't last as long clogs up landfills. Wood is no longer harvested from rain forests, but the chemicals used to main- tain it drip into the soil and outgas into the atmosphere. Synthetic wood may be a com- 36 WellesleyWeston Magazine | summer 2012

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