If it weren't for the fact that sometimes, nothing but a deck will get you level space at a reasonable cost, I'd recommend that nobody ever put in a deck. Still, the United States has 30 million decks, so they clearly meet a need for many people, such as those whose homes are on very steep terrain.
However, wood decks are notoriously vulnerable to attack by various pests and pathogens as well as to the general ravages of weather, sun, and time. Alternative decking materials, such as plastic lumber (see Chapter 12), are much easier to live with and require no maintenance other than periodic cleaning. But they're usually used in combination with natural wood framing, which has its own problems.
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