Hit the Deck

Oseye Boyd
Written by Oseye Boyd
Updated June 15, 2021
a deck on the backside of a home, with a pergola at the entrance of french patio door.
Cedar wood, Trex and composite deck material are three eco-friendly deck material options. (Photo courtesy of member Jerry D.)

Three highly rated deck builders discuss eco-friendly decking materials.

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Do you use environmentally friendly decking products? What type(s) of wood do you use?

Ron Stevens: We use treated cedar products that don’t use arsenic in the treatment process. It lasts 20 years. It doesn’t really warp as much as treated pine.

Bill Bunch: We use Trex. It’s recycled plastic along with wood by-products. It’s splinter-free and friendly to the environment. For wood, we primarily use pressure-treated pine for longevity and durability.

Jimmy Turner: We use composite materials and also the seeded pine treatment doesn’t have any arsenic in it as it did in the past. Treated pine is all I use. That’s more cost-effective for my residential clients. It’s going to last 15 to 20 years even if you don’t keep it up.

What is the minimum price per square foot for a new deck installation?

Ron Stevens: I can build you a deck for about $10 to $12 a square foot on average. That’s a plain Jane, simple deck.

Bill Bunch: Someone could expect to spend $14 to $15 per square foot. It can range from $14 to $35.

Jimmy Turner: My basic deck is $12.50 a square foot. My rail system on it is $15 a foot. It’s treated for rot and termites and stuff like that.

What are common problems and/or pests in the Houston area with wood decks, patio covers or pergolas?

Ron Stevens: The moisture. It mildews in a wet year. It gets too dry or too hot, it fades. It’s a favored home for possums or rats.

Bill Bunch: We have extremes. It’s raining one day and then 90- or 100-degree sun the next day. It does tend to make for more expansion and contraction on a wood deck.

Jimmy Turner: A lot of people complain about critters getting underneath the deck, but I build it all the way to the bottom so it’s closed all the way to the ground.

What are the differences between a wood deck and a composite deck?

Ron Stevens: A composite deck is plastic, but it’s framed in wood. It runs like $20 a square foot.

Bill Bunch: Composite can almost double in cost compared to wood. You don’t have to stain and seal it. In 10 years, it may be a break-even proposition.

Jimmy Turner: Composite decking is man-made material. It doesn’t splinter. It’s about double the cost of wood.















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