Ravaged Rooftop Deck Renewed with FSC Machiche WoodWritten by Liza Sivek on
Looking to replace your damaged deck with a more durable wood decking? This savvy homeowner in Alabama was tired of replacing his old rooftop deck piece by water damaged piece. He replaced his deck with a better draining deck system and durable premium hardwood. Now this wood deck is low maintenance and ready to last.
The McDonald deck went from ravaged to renewed when the right rooftop deck system and decking materials were used
Rooftop decks take on more than their share of UV rays, rain, and debris from wind and storms. Because of this, wood deck systems that trap water will cause issues and softwood decking is threatened. Replacing a deck can seem like a big undertaking, even (and especially) if you have been making repairs and replacements as you go for years. That was where homeowner Roark McDonald of Alabama found himself recently.
Replacing A Rooftop Deck
As Roark tells us, about ten years ago he had a rooftop wood deck built on a low roof over a finished space by a contractor. The deck was pressure treated wood over wood sleepers. A pretty basic, affordable deck but not durable and not right for a rooftop (more on that below).
The pitch of the low roof meant rainwater and humidity ran along the wood sleepers and trapped against them. The system also created pockets of humidity with no path to escape. As Roark perfectly described it, it was an “incubation chamber for rot and decay”. The decking above it was affected quickly, too.
Roark joked that after replacing so many decayed boards for the last 5 years, his previous deck was ten years old in some places and 1 year old in others! He knew that if he wanted to spend more time enjoying his rooftop deck than fixing it, he needed to replace the whole deck with something much better.
As Mataverde sales rep Rob Ryan said about these decayed wood sleepers,
"If a picture is worth 1000 words, your mother wouldn't want to hear them".
FSC Machiche Wood Decking for the Win
FSC Machiche wood decking with its gorgeous range of tones.
Although Roark lives in Alabama, it was while in Providence, Rhode Island visiting family that he spotted the solution. The McDonalds happened to cross a hardwood pedestrian bridge over the river. On the constant lookout for better wood decking it’s no surprise Roark checked out the high traffic wood underfoot, saw how well it was holding up, and told his wife that this was what he was looking for.
With a little online searching he found that the bridge boardwalk was Ipe hardwood decking, supplied by Mataverde Decking and Siding. We are honored that he reached out to us for guidance. Roark and his sales rep, Rob Ryan, discussed the McDonald's rooftop deck needs at length and then quickly narrowed the choices down to FSC Certified Machiche hardwood decking material for both stability and looks.
An FSC Machiche rooftop deck in California showcasing the rich chocolate tones and beautiful figuring in the grain.
High density exotic hardwood decking has the highest resistance to decay and insect damage, and the lowest maintenance needs, of all real wood decking. It far surpasses softwoods like western red cedar and redwood. It also lasts and looks better longer than composites.
**Pricing shown here is for illustrative purposes only, decking material costs vary widely depending on the current market**
Download your free copy of the Rooftop Deck Design Idea Portfolio now and start planning.
Easier Rooftop Deck System Installation
The McDonald's rooftop deck with the Eurotec Rooftop Decking System aluminum rails and adjustable pedestals placed right on the prepared rooftop, no holes into the rooftop required.
Another big decision to make was the rooftop decking system. Roark did not want the same trapped water damage to happen again, which is a threat to both decking and the home exterior underneath. He found the “perfect solution” with the aluminum profile Eurotec® Rooftop Decking System with adjustable pedestals.
This included the addition of a Eurotec drain gate below the double atrium doors to the rooftop, where water had tended to collect with the old deck system, for drainage and airflow across the rooftop. This feature gives the McDonalds peace of mind and added protection against pooling water.
Roark installed the Eurotec system and Machiche decking boards himself with one helper, so I asked him how easy or difficult the process was. He said it was “quite simple. I was nervous because I had never used it before. I just installed it starting from the beginning [steps], and it went down very quick and level. It was easy to get level with the adjustable pedestals.”
He found the decking boards also went down “quite easily”. First, the boards were properly acclimated on site before installation. Eurotec and hardwood can be used with hidden fasteners, but Roark chose face screws since they are the strongest fastening method for wood decks. After installation, all that's needed is a UV protectant oil based sealant made for high density wood to keep the like new wood look, and then reapply as needed. We like and use Penofin Hardwood Formula Penetrating Oil Finishes.
Machiche deck boards installed over the Eurotec rooftop deck system on the McDonald rooftop deck
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Why Choose Hardwood for an Affordable Wood Deck?
Return on investment (ROI) should be a big factor for homeowners when choosing a rooftop deck system and decking material. Wood sleepers or furring strips and pressure treated lumber are a lower upfront investment but are not long lasting, as this homeowner’s experience shows. Especially on a rooftop deck location, where softwood decking is not appropriate. Softwood pressure treated decking like pine, western red cedar and redwood decking require frequent maintenance, refinishing, re-staining, or re-painting. Inspecting regularly for rot, decay, and bug infestation is essential.
Rotted wood decking is dangerous, and expensive to repair
After years of fighting back rot, it’s no surprise that the McDonalds had low maintenance and durability as the primary factor in choosing replacement decking material. With high density hardwoods, there is no compromise on beauty with durability. Machiche, with its natural chocolate-y brown range of tones, is not as well-known by name as some other hardwoods. The medium brown tones of Ipe, the blonde tones of Garapa, or the deep cherry-red tones of Jatoba might have more name recognition.
But what Machiche lacks in fame it more than makes up in stability and attractiveness. Once home designers use FSC Machiche in one deck design, they return for other Machiche projects because it delivers the high performance and good looks to meet their design specifications.
Since high density woods do not require stain or paint, their natural exotic grain patterns and colors shine through. Hardwoods like Machiche have very high-density fiber content. What that means is for maintenance just is regular cleaning and resealing with an oil-based UV protectant made for hardwood as needed. That’s it! We like and use Penofin Hardwood Formula Penetrating Finish for initial installation and to keep the natural like-new wood tones fresh in the future.
Hardwoods are also naturally extremely resistant to insect damage, rot, decay, and mold. And they can be safely allowed to weather to satiny silver gray without losing any durability or increasing the maintenance.
RELATED: How Do Exterior Hardwoods Weather?
The same California Machiche rooftop deck (and coffee table) shown above, years later and allowed to weather naturally
All in all, Roark restored his rooftop deck to one that he and his wife could enjoy without worrying about what was decaying underneath. We thank them for sharing their project with us and wish them decades of relaxation on their Machiche deck.
For more information, or answers to any questions you have about the Eurotec Rooftop Deck System or premium hardwood decking, feel free to reach out to our team. We are here to help.
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