Deck posts are one of the most important elements when it comes to the structural integrity of a deck. These are the bones of your deck, and without them, nothing would be possible.
But a lot of things in the deck building industry changed, including materials and sizes.
From the traditional pressure-treated wood posts that we were using years ago to the steel frames that top companies now produce, the level of comfort, aesthetics, and safety differ greatly.
Let’s look at the best posts you can get for your deck in 2023!
Pressure-Treated Wood Deck Posts
As we mentioned, pressure-treated wood posts are some of the oldest materials that people use to build decks. This material was considered durable, strong, beautiful, and, last but not least, affordable.
In fact, its affordability made it the most popular deck building material. Even now, it’s the top deck post choice for many homeowners.
What Is It?
Pressure-treated lumber is a type of wood that has been submerged in an airtight tank containing a mixture of water and preservative agents. This process helps to safeguard the material from insect infestations, decaying, or other types of damage caused by moisture exposure.
Certain woods, such as southern yellow pine, are well suited for pressure-treatment to maximize their durability. On the contrary, other timbers like cedar possess natural attributes that fend off rot and decay; thus they don’t require any form of treatment before being used outdoors.
Note: If you’re using pressure-treated wood on posts, be sure to get wood that’s rated with ground contact. Ground-contact wood is specially designed to protect against soil, vegetation, rain, moisture, and other factors that can lead to decay or rot.
An 8X8 12-ft Treated Yellow Pine S4S (pressure-treated wood) costs around $150 a piece.
Cedar Wood Deck Posts
Cedar has a long history of use in residential building, including decks and even houses.
This is a durable wood that is naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insect attacks. Cedar is also resistant to moisture absorption, so it tends to last longer and needs less maintenance. It’s said that cedar decks can last for 15-20 years or more.
8×8 cedar posts will do great in your backyard, as they can last for a much longer time than pressure-treated wood.
Note: An 8″ x 8″ Western Red Cedar Timber (8 ft) is sold for around $250, much more expensive than pressure-treated wood. A post of 16 ft costs around $500 a piece.
Metal Deck Posts
Metal posts and metal deck frames are becoming increasingly popular because of their extreme durability and low maintenance. Sure, they’ll cost more, but the reality is that these are the frames that’ll last through thunders and storms.
One of the best producers of metal deck frames, including posts, is Fortress Building Products. They build and sell metal frame kits for decks, pergolas, fences, and other outdoor features.
The best part about these products is that they’re 100% safe and reliable. You won’t ever have to worry about rotten wood posts or about too much weight on your deck. They don’t require ongoing maintenance and you’ll only have to treat them after many many years.
A 12×12 metal deck frame can cost as much as $8k just for framing.
If the cost of getting a metal frame is too much for your budget, getting metal railings is an option just as good, and we’d definitely recommend it.
Top 5 Factors that Affect the Cost of Metal Deck
Cost of Steel
The cost of steel in the US has seen a lot of fluctuations over the years. In general, however, steel prices have been steadily rising due to increased demand and global supply chain issues. According to recent estimates from MetalMiner, the average price of steel in the US has gone up by 17% over the last year alone.
Gauge (thickness of the steel)
The gauge of steel is one of the most important factors when it comes to determining its strength and cost. To understand this concept more clearly, it’s essential to understand the difference between gauge and thickness. The lower the number is on the gauge scale, the thicker and, therefore, stronger the steel is. For example, a 16 gauge steel sheet is much stronger than an 18 gauge sheet.
Type of Metal Deck
Metal deck frames are available in a variety of styles and designs, depending on your needs. For example, corrugated metal decks are lightweight yet strong, making them ideal for decks that require extra weight capacity. They also come with a variety of coatings to protect against corrosion and provide a more attractive finish.
Finishes of the Metal Deck
When it comes to finishes for metal decks, a few options are available. The most common finishes include powder coating, galvanization, and electroplating.
Powder coating is a great choice for metal decks as it provides an attractive, scratch- and UV-resistant finish. It’s also more durable than other finishes and has a much lower risk of corrosion.
Galvanization is another popular choice, as it offers excellent rust resistance and an attractive finish. Lastly, electroplating uses electricity to deposit a thin metal layer onto the surface, protecting it against rust and corrosion.
The labor cost associated with installing a metal deck will depend largely on the size and complexity of the project. A single professional could take anywhere from 6-12 hours to construct a simple 8×8 cedar post deck. This time can be significantly increased when dealing with harder or more complicated designs.
For larger projects, such as decks covering an entire backyard, hiring a team of professionals is essential. This will ensure that the project is completed safely and accurately in its entirety.
Decks should be all about safety, and as long as your deck doesn’t feel 100% secure, you can’t fully say you’re relaxing on it.
Sure, pressure-treated wood is affordable and relatively durable. So is cedar. But at the end of the day, these are soft woods that will eventually be victim of water damage or pests. More than that, they’ll need to be constantly cared for, meaning you’ll have to seal, repair, and stain them every 2 – 3 years.
By far, the best option would be a metal frame.
And although it is more expensive than a wood frame, at least you won’t ever have to question your deck’s structural stability and durability. It’ll be there to last for generations.
If you want to find out more about deck posts or other alternatives to your project, get in touch with us today at (865) 801-4545 or request a free quote!