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Building a deck onto your home is an expensive venture, even if you're providing the labor. Knowing the best materials before you begin is a must, if you don't want to waste your money. This article was written by a professional contractor who knows from experience the best materials to use for building a deck. Let's start at the bottom - the footings.
The pier pads are the part of a deck that actually connects to the ground. The best material for piers is concrete. This may seem obvious, but some do-it-yourself carpenters might think it's okay to use pressure treated wood, to save a little money. Treated wood will last longer than untreated, but it's still going to rot out within a year or two. Always use concrete for pier pads.
The precast ones work well, or you can dig holes and pour concrete. The latter is my personal favorite system. The next component is the framing. These are the posts, main beams, and the floor joists. The rule of thumb is any wood closer than 6" from the ground should be treated lumber, but I suggest that ALL the wood for the framing be of treated lumber.