Choosing the right type of lumber for your cottage project – be it a deck, dock, or something else – means shopping around and getting good advice.
It’s important to use materials that are going to last and stand the test of time. Not only will this provide a strong foundation for your project, but it will save you time and money compared to the short lifespan of wood, explains Jason Smith of Baycrest Distribution.
“Having invested a tremendous amount for your dock, deck and boathouse you need to be using a synthetic lumber product that’ll allow you to start with a rot free foundation.”
Jason says doing otherwise could lead to other issues, including the worst-case scenario of a full rebuild, or at the very least having to frequently replace boards over the years. As well, the maintenance costs in both time and money add up quickly.
He suggests choosing a durable, lifetime product like the several made-in-North-America synthetic lumber products carried by Baycrest Distribution.
“Many offshore brands and wood-based composites have compromised deck and dock projects here in cottage country,” he says. “Unless the products you’re using are fully synthetic, there will be issues sooner or later. Dock builders should be considering the benefits of using synthetic lumber for steel dock sleepers and decking on steel docks. They should incorporate this into their designs.”
An impermeable surface on synthetic lumber provides protection from water, mold, mildew, insects, and other organisms. Because synthetic boards contain no organic material at all, they are completely rot-proof. The boards can be permanently submerged without any harm, and are designed not to split or splinter.
Maintenance is simple: most debris can be swept away or hosed off. In rare cases a light cleaning with soap and water or a pressure wash may be required. Common spills like sunscreen, gas or oil won’t stain synthetic lumber, so clean-up is made easy. Hot tub chemicals, food or wine will not damage your boards either.
“Time at the cottage or at home should be spent relaxing, not worrying about maintaining or repairing your deck or dock boards,” says Jason. “When making a choice of materials, it’s important to consider what your board is made of.”
New showroom, great
adviceBaycrest Distribution has a new showroom location in Bala opening this fall. Prior to opening, they will book on-site visits by appointment. Jason says to check their website for updates.
Having broadened their selection, and now featuring more synthetic lumber brands than in previous years, Baycrest Distribution will help find the right fit for your project.
Jason starts by asking clients a variety of questions to find out which type of board they should be using. Questions include what type of project is it? Are you building a deck, a dock, a boathouse, or something else? How large is the project? What board span is required? Will there be custom cutting and shaping?
“Not every board is a great fit for every project, so by having an in-depth conversation about each project, we can pinpoint what will be the best choice,” says Jason.
Great performanceOne of Baycrest Distribution’s newer product lines is WearDeck. The board has plenty of benefits, including minimal expansion and contraction after installation, and a span strength of 36-inches on centre.
“With most deck products you need to leave room for expansion and contraction, however this synthetic lumber is thermally stable,” says Jason.
Other features of WearDeck include slip resistance and user-friendly installation. The boards are static free, and have grain pattern options that give the look and feel of a classic Muskoka dock or deck.
While it comes in eight colour options, many cottagers and homeowners are looking for darker tones, with black being particularly trendy.
Jason says black boards have become quite popular for aesthetic purposes, but the first question everyone asks is: will it be hot? They will be warmer than light boards – that’s just physics – but WearDeck boards are designed to allow for darker colours without scorching your feet.
“It has an additive to reflect heat, allowing for cooler surface temperatures in darker colour tones,” says Jason. “It’s measurable with a digital thermometer; that’s how big the difference is.”
When working on complex and creative projects where boards need to be cut and shaped, Baycrest Distribution suggests choosing Lumberock, which has been on the market for more than 20 years. It can be manipulated like wood while maintaining all the benefits of synthetic lumber.
Lumberock can be used creatively, including for fencing, trim for windows and doors, seawall cladding, privacy fences, outdoor furniture, and more. It comes in various thicknesses and widths, and has been used for vertical wall boards, as well as floors and ceilings in Muskoka rooms and boat house interiors.
The versatile product also comes in tongue-and-groove boards – which is useful when trying to create a dry space or keeping the bugs out.
“Lumberock boards are solid with a uniform colour throughout,” says Jason. “This means they can be cut and shaped in just the same way as wood, including ripping, sanding, routing, beveling, scribing, bending, and planing.”
Baycrest Distribution will assist you with your product research and material selection, allowing you to make an informed decision at a retailer near you. Contact them for details.
No matter what project you’re completing, it makes good sense to use the best materials available for the job. The team at Baycrest Distribution will help you make the right choice for your synthetic lumber needs.
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN