architecture, a deck is a flat surface capable of
supporting weight, similar to a floor, but typically constructed
outdoors, often elevated from the ground, and usually connected to
a building. The term is a generalization of decks as found on
Wood or timber
"decking" can be used in a number of ways - as part of
garden landscaping, to extend living areas of houses, and as an
alternative to stone based features such as patios. Decks are made
from treated lumber, composite material, Aluminum, Western red
cedar, teak, mahogany, ipÍ and other hardwoods and recycled
planks made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polystyrene
(PS) and PET plastic as well as mixed plastics and wood fiber
(often called "composite" lumber).
Historically, the softwoods used
for decking were logged from old growth forests. These include
Atlantic white cedar, redwood and Western red cedar (redcedar).
Atlantic City built the first coastal boardwalk in the United
States, originally constructed of Atlantic white cedar.
However, it was not long before
the commercial logging of this tree and clearing of cedar swamps
in New Jersey caused a decline in the availability of decking.
Atlantic City and New York City both switched to Western red
cedar. By the 1960s, Western red cedar from the US was declining
due to over-logging. More expensive Western red cedar was
available from western Canada (British Columbia) but by then,
pressure treated pine had become available.
But even with chemical treatments
(such as chromated copper arsenate or CCA), pine decking is not as
durable as cedars in an outdoor environment. Thus, many
municipalities and homeowners are turning to hardwoods.
Generally, hardwoods used for
decking come from tropical forests. Much of the logging taking
place to produce these woods, especially teak, mahogany and ipÍ,
is occurring illegally, as outlined in numerous reports by
environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the
Earth and Rainforest Relief. US tropical wood imports are rising,
partly due to the demand for decking.
The deck of a house is generally
a wooden platform built above the ground and connected to the main
building. It is generally enclosed by a railing for safety. Access
may be from the house through doors and from the ground via a
stairway. Residential decks can be constructed over steep areas or
rough ground that is otherwise unusable. Decks can also be covered
by a canopy or pergola to control sunlight.
Larger buildings may also have
decks on the upper floors of the building which may be open to the
public as observation decks.
A deck is also the surface used
to construct a boardwalk over sand on barrier islands.
Laying deck or throwing deck
refers to the act of placing and bolting down cold formed steel
beneath roofing and concrete floors. This is usually done by an
ironworker, sometimes in conjunction with a cement mason or
carpenter. It regarded as one of the most physically demanding
jobs in the iron working industry.
In the UK the 2007 ban on smoking
in public buildings was expected lead to an increase in the use of
timber decking for outdoor spaces where smokers can gather.