• Stephen & David

Our Deck Build - The Mahogany Mistress

We finally did it, we finished our deck!

We started this project last fall? last summer? before the kitchen? Who knows, what is important is that it is done! We like to think that projects like this take us so long because we labor over every single detail but really it is not that glamorous - jobs, inspections, materials, etc, etc.


We also considered composite for this project. The idea of low maintenance decking sounds great BUT we like the feel of wood, especially for a small deck like this one. Also, the prices of composite were high and the lead time was weeks. Note: many of you warned us that composite gets so hot in direct sun that it can burn your feet, ouch!

In this blog post we are breaking down all of the materials, products and questions you have been sending during the process.


Materials


While we maintained some of the original structure of the deck (the size and shape didn’t change), all of the finish materials and posts are now mahogany.

Why mahogany? Glad you asked, it’s not the first material we thought of either. We were inspired by the pile of mahogany left in our basement by the previous owner. Not having used mahogany in the past we came to learn that it is an extremely dense wood that works great for decks!

After visiting our local lumberyard, we committed to mahogany because:

  1. We had a pile of it

  2. All of the parts and pieces we needed were in-stock (posts, railings, decking, balusters, etc)

  3. The price of mahogany at the time was just about the same as cedar (we are talking material costs 2021 edition)

  4. It’s an extremely dense wood, and will hold up over time

We also considered composite for this project. The idea of low maintenance decking sounds great BUT we like the feel of wood, especially for a small deck like this one. Also, the prices of composite were high and the lead time was weeks. Last note: many of you warned us that composite gets so hot in direct sun that it can burn your feet, ouch!


Sealing 🦭


Skipping over the entire process of building the deck (there are plenty of more qualified people on Youtube that can show you how to do that) Let’s get to the important stuff: How we made it pretty.


Because we used mahogany we wanted to find a product that would not only protect it, but enhance the color. If left untreated mahogany will naturally weather/gray over time, similar to cedar. It's a beautiful look, but we want to retain the reddish-warm mahogany color it’s known for.


We found what we were looking for in PPG ProLuxe Gallon Cetol SRD Exterior Wood Finish with a Matte finish, in the color “Natural”. We are interested to see how it wears with time, but you know, only time will tell!

There are other products that can be used for sealing as well (we of course consulted with @oldtownhome on this) which include products like marine spar varnish or a marine tung oil.


Finishing Touches


Some would call the following “attention to detail” others might call it ✨extra✨ but we found that adding these additional items really elevated this project from being “just a deck”.


To finish off the bottom of the post we used The Nantucket Federal post skirt. This is very helpful for covering any rough edges around the posts and really elevates the look.

For the upper posts we found the beautifully simple Copper Flat Top Post Cap. We love the look of copper when its new, but we also love how beautifully it patinas. They look extra shiny and bright right now but someday soon they will blend right in.

The lower posts were an opportunity to do something a bit more fun, we went with the Copper Finial Globe Post Caps. David is 100% obsessed with these.


Lighting


No deck is complete without lighting. Landscape lighting is not only functional but makes everything look like magic. Generally speaking we prefer low voltage landscape lighting over solar, our system is on a timer and runs all year.

Throughout our landscaping we use uplights for the trees, and deck/patio lights throughout our backyard. Here is a complete list of products which can be found at The Home Depot.

We have had our landscape lights for years now and have never had to replace any of them, so we are very happy with the quality overall. Installation is easy as it's low-voltage and very low safety risk - you can bury the wire in the yard without a conduit. Overall 10/10.


Here is a video produced by VOLT which has very pretty (and very expensive) stuff:


What We Used