17 innovative ways to take the grunt work out of home maintenance
#10. Long-lasting, fire-resistant wood decks
Wood decks are gorgeous but eventually decay and must be replaced. A 2007 study on the life expectancy of building components by the National Association of Home Builders found that wood decks last about 20 years, in general — as long as 30 years in north-facing and dry areas, as few as 10 facing south. Also, in hot, dry, fire-prone regions, decks can be a fire hazard when wind-blown embers and ash are in the air. TimberSIL treated lumber was chosen by Environmental Building News as one of its top 10 GreenSpec products in 2004. TimberSIL ($2.25 to $2.50 a linear foot, compared with roughly $2.75 to $3.75 for top-quality composites and $1.50 for kiln-dried wood decking) “petrifies wood by treating it with silica,” creating a wood product that’s nontoxic, noncorrosive and a Class A fire retardant, says EBN editor Peter Yost. The manufacturer calls the stuff “glass wood,” since the glass is infused into the spaces between the fibers in the wood, a Southern yellow pine. “You can have a raging fire and it just sits there and looks at you,” says TimberSIL representative Rick Dixon (view a test on YouTube). Maintenance is the same as with other wood decks, but TimberSIL is warrantied for 40 years against rot and decay. It should last three to four times longer than a conventional wood deck, Dixon says.