How to Build a Maintenance Free Deck

With spring quickly approaching (yes, we know it doesn’t feel as if spring is ‘upon us’ in any expedited manner, but it soon will), many Minnesotans are going to begin considering those summer barbecue parties on the deck. However, after the snow melts, many of us may also consider that our decks are in pretty terrible shape.

Months of snow and ice and even rains have likely not served many of our decks well. The deck’s once pristine and shiny wood that commonly hosted last summer’s wine-o-clock sunsets now appears as an old piece of plywood that has laid rotting in an abandoned portion of the woods for three years.

Translation: our decks may be in ruins, and the e-vites to our Twin’s opening day barbecue party may need to reflect an indoor event. It might be time to strongly consider looking into achieving one of the many American dreams; a maintenance free deck that you can be proud to own.

Yes, ‘maintenance free deck’ implies a deck that reveals itself like sleeping beauty after all that snow gives way to survivable temperatures. It means that a homeowner can finally come out victorious in the battle his or her deck versus overexposure to the elements. It means the evites can be scheduled and sent in early March even if old man Winter’s wrath is still a hexing us.

Under Deck Advantages

Over the years, the old reliable long-term deck play of “deck treatment” has been increasingly unreliable. Often, homeowners rely solely on treating a deck chemically and are end up disappointed several years later when their warped and rotting deck is the neighborhood eyesore. In places such as Minnesota, the outdoor elements are amplified in nearly every season, causing the reliability of deck treatment to be much less reliable.

Because of this, homeowners are commonly left feeling the only option is to patch up the current deck’s compromises and invest even more money into what will likely be yet another negative return on investment.

But there are other options when it comes to deck durability. But often, homeowners are too myopic to see those opportunities.

Aluminum Decking – A Retreat from Wood Decks?

In order to achieve the dream of owning a maintenance free deck, you must first start with the decking. The decking is the central, core aspect of the deck in general, so it would seem rather reasonable to begin there.

Aluminum decking is a stronger, more viable construction than both wood or composite decking. In fact, a recent Freedonia Group study showed that aluminum decking is several times stronger than its rival “convenience” composite decking.

Believe it or not, aluminum is considered a much less toxic material and often benefits people who suffer from allergies. Aluminum is also the top choice for those who seek to leave less of an environmental footprint as it is 100% recyclable and you can even receive what’s called LEEDS Credits when you choose the option of aluminum. (go here)

Steel Framing – The Power of Steel Joist

Steel framing, or the use of steel joist, can improve the durability and strength of a deck’s infrastructure. We are talking about steel over wood here, so that aforementioned sentiment should be rather obvious.

If you want to find out the best workout to build muscle, you’d likely be open to taking advice from a bodybuilder, right? Maybe the same should hold true when it comes to building strength in your deck. Steel framing of decks is a framing method often used in the commercial world. Why? Because steel framing a deck works. Steel frames often offer reliability and protection from the elements.

Steel joist are more straightforward when it comes to manipulating size ratios, a far cry from precarious lumber. This means your frames, or joist, can be cut in the most precise specifications needed.


By using steel framing and aluminum decking, you can build the maintenance free deck of your dreams. Whether you do it yourself or have a quality Minnesota deck service take care of your needs, a hassle-free deck isn’t difficult to build.