Porch Flooring - Enyoying the Outdoors
Porch flooring timber treatments and codes
Porch Flooring - in the United States today the most popular material is still timber. When we think that the porch has established itself as a symbol of American architecture and culture that provides comfort, character and value - it makes sense that such a warm and elegant material is used in its construction.
The class, pattern and dimensions of any porch flooring are all dependant on the type of finish / protection that has been applied to the wood.
The majority of porches have a roof over them (are covered) and therefore are protected to some extent from the elements and other possible natural ailments. To preserve the wood from excess moisture, insect damage, and other outdoor hazards it is pressure treated with waterborne preservatives. Luckily this treatment is odorless and easily applied.
Porch Flooring and the American Wood Preservers' Association
There is an organization called the "American Wood Preservers' Association" which actually presides over the utilization and specifications of all preservatives used in pressure-treating processes. You will find that because a porch is built relatively close to the ground there are building codes which will dictate that the wood used in the flooring is treated to set preservative retention levels. A tag or an ink stamp mark will tell you if a piece of wood has been treated and to what level.
A finish needs to be applied to the floor to safeguard against any dimensional changes that could come about due to variations in the moisture levels of the wood. This has to be done if you want your porch to last and remain in pristine condition. Contractors and/ or manufacturers will first apply a water repelling sealer to the joists and beams which further protects the structure from dimensional changes. The flooring itself is coated with the same sealant and then allowed to dry. After this an oil-based primer needs to be applied to ensure that the wood can resist mildew and mould damage. The floor is only as resistant as its joints - to ensure that the seals between the separate pieces are effective a layer of porch enamel (oil-based) is applied to the tongue and grooves.
To keep your porch flooring looking like new you will need to adopt a maintenance program and re-do the finish at least every five years.
Other materials that can be used for a porch floor include: vinyl, molded polymer millwork and wood polymers.