You’ve decided to use cumaru hardwood for your deck. Here are 8 key things you should know about the requirements, costs and other considerations for building with this gorgeous tropical hardwood.
Outdoor living has become a buzz word in the design world, with outdoor kitchens being voted as the most desired amenity according to the American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey. This makes sense since extending your living space outdoors is a nice way to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air from the comfort of your home. Yet without an inviting space, it’s hard to want to spend time outside. So, a beautiful cumaru hardwood deck is a great way to turn your backyard into a perfect oasis for entertaining or as a solo retreat. If you’ve chosen a cumaru deck, you probably are already familiar with all the, advantages of using cumaru: its fire rating (same as concrete and steel), mildew and mold resistance, eco-friendliness, and longevity. Still, here are a few things you should know about your new deck.
- Did You Buy the Right Type of Cumaru?
Cumaru is a kiln dried wood. Drying cumaru properly is important because it gives the wood stability, which will determine whether or not your deck will warp. Cumaru decking boards are dried specifically for exterior use. There is also cumaru that is kiln dried for interior use, but if you use cumaru that was intended for interior use outside, it will expand and ruin your project. The same goes for using cumaru decking for an interior project – if the cumaru was kiln dried for exteriors but is installed in an interior, it will shrink. So, it is important to specify you are building an exterior deck when ordering your cumaru and asking some questions about how the cumaru was dried.
Photo Credit: Gonzalo Mardones Arquitectos from Instagram.
- Materials Used for Structure are Important
If you picked cumaru hardwood for your deck, it’s probably because quality and aesthetics are important to you. To protect your investment, it is important to build the underlying structure using top of the line hardware. We recommend using hardware that was specifically designed for use with tropical hardwood. For example, DeckWise makes special stainless steel screws, hidden fastener clips for hardwood decks, as well as cumaru plugs (in two options: smooth or ribbed) for face screwing decks. The plugs are made of cumaru and are easy to glue over stainless-steel screws to create a seamless look across the deck.
We highly recommend Simpson Strong Tie for all wood connectors. The structural integrity of your deck will not only extend the deck’s life, it will also ensure a safer and stronger deck. So when you place your order for cumaru, make sure you also order all the hardware required for the installation. One of our associates will be more than happy to assist you in the calculation and give you a free quote. Feel free to contact us today.
- Plan out Lighting, Shade, Accessories before You Begin.
They say that the right lighting is everything, and for decks it is no different. Ambient lighting will set a relaxing mood outside. Good lighting is also important for safety. After all, you really don’t want to go up or down your cumaru stairs without stair or railing lights! Lighting over or around your deck will extend the amount of time you can spend on your deck too. For example, if you plan on grilling on your cumaru deck, you should consider how you will light your grill (no one wants to hold a flashlight over you while your barbecue). It’s important to talk to your deck installer about your lighting plan so that later an electrician does not have to tear out some of your cumaru deck boards. Talk about safety lighting, ambient lighting and functional or task lighting before having your cumaru deck installed.
Photo Credit: Benjamin Scheid C.B.C. on Instagram
Just as important as considering how your deck will look and feel at night, it is equally important to think about it during the day, especially the hottest part of the day. Fortunately, cumaru does not get hot in the sun the way some composite decks or metal decks do, which is a great reason to choose cumaru in and of itself. Finding the right way to provide shade over your cumaru deck is important not only for your comfort but also to protect your deck. Harsh sunlight does not damage cumaru but it will fade the color from its brownish red to a silver gray. Consider installing a cumaru pergola over your deck or part of your deck or otherwise look into sun umbrellas.
- You will need a permit.
All cities have rules and regulations that govern whether you can build your deck and how it should be built. A trip to your local building department can save you a lot of time and money and you don’t want to have any surprises after you’ve had your cumaru deck built. The city does not have different rules for a deck built of cumaru versus using other materials, but they will tell you what setbacks and variances are required from your property line to the sidewalk or road. They will also send an inspector out to check the framing under your deck, which is a great step to ensure the safety and longevity of your cumaru deck.
- No One Likes Weeds so Prep The Area under Your Deck
If you are installing your deck over dirt, make sure you spray with an herbicide and cover the ground with a black fabric or plastic covering to make sure unwanted weeds don’t begin to appear from under your deck. It is much easier to take care of unwanted roots and plants before building the deck! A beautiful cumaru deck with greenery coming through the boards is not a scenario you want to encounter. You could even go one step further and put gravel under your deck which has the added benefit of deterring animals from forming a nest underneath the deck.
How often and what type of maintenance your cumaru deck will require depends on where you live, whether the deck is covered, and if the deck is near the ocean or a pool. If your cumaru deck is exposed to direct sunlight for more than 4 hours a day, if your cumaru deck is under a tree that drops a lot of foliage, and/or if your deck is near water, your will probably have to service your deck at least twice per year. Your cumaru deck will need to be pressure washed and re-oiled about every six months. If your cumaru deck is under a pergola or otherwise under a covered area it might only require staining every two years. When installing your cumaru deck, you should evaluate and observe the area where you are planning on installing the deck to make sure you take the light and environmental factors into consideration.
- The Color of Cumaru will Change over Time
The beautiful auburn reddish color of cumaru is one of the factors that make it such a popular choice for decking. However, with sun exposure, cumaru will “bleach”, which means it will turn a gray color. This silver patina as it is called happens to ipe and teak wood that is exposed to the sun as well. The silver patina color is beautiful and very natural looking and does not change the longevity of your cumaru deck. If you like the silver look, your deck will not need much maintenance. Pressure washing should be all the maintenance your cumaru deck requires. If however, you wish to retain the original color, you will have to have your deck oiled regularly. Again, the structural integrity of the boards is not affected by leaving the cumaru oiled or unoiled, as cumaru is naturally resistant to mold, mildew, insects, and will not easily scratch or splinter. The difference between the brown or gray cumaru is simply a matter of aesthetics.
- The Value of Your Home will Increase
Adding a cumaru deck is a great way to increase the value of your property. For one thing, by adding a deck you are essentially increasing the living space, especially if you add an outdoor kitchen, outdoor seating, fire pit or other accessories. By specifically choosing cumaru as your decking material you are choosing a luxury building material. Adding a cumaru deck is a solid investment in your home, both for your personal enjoyment as well as for the resale value of the house.
So enjoy the sunshine, the fresh air, and all the outdoor festivities on a beautiful cumaru deck. It is a wise choice that will guarantee little to no maintenance, especially from insects, mold, or fungus. Please let us know if we can help you in any way, and know we will always give you the best price on cumaru. Contact us today!