Floating vs. Fixed Vinyl Decks

Deck flashing with drip edge on newly finished deck

Floating vs. Fixed Vinyl Decks

If you’re considering building a brand new vinyl deck in the spring, then you might be faced with this choice – floating or fixed? Tuff Industries explores the pros and cons of each so you can decide which type of deck is the best choice for your home.

What’s the Difference?

A fixed deck is, well, fixed! It’s physically attached to the building (your home, for example). A floating deck is on its own – although it can certainly still butt up against the structure so it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference. The main reason why people consider floating vinyl decks is because they don’t have to attach to the home or structure, so you don’t need to remove siding on existing homes. Depending on the type of exterior used (vinyl, stucco, brick, etc.) floating decks can sometimes be an easier option.

Considerations for Floating Vinyl Decks

First, if you’re building a new home and want the deck right beside it, then you’re better off choosing a fixed vinyl deck. Otherwise, if you are building a deck on an existing home or you want your deck separate from the home a floating deck might be a good choice.

Floating vinyl decks are a lot more flexible in terms of where they are built. They don’t have to be connected to the structure, nor do they have to be a certain height or shape (other than meeting local building codes). Since it’s completely separate, you don’t have to worry about your home’s waterproofing becoming compromised (as many older decks or poorly installed decks have issues where the deck meets the housing membrane).

A floating deck can be virtually any shape or size, and can easily be extended in the future. However, floating decks typically do not provide as high of a return on investment over fixed decks – if you think you might be selling your home in the near future, then you might want to reconsider. These types of decks often require more maintenance and are a bit more susceptible to weather damage as they don’t have the protection of the house structure to keep them safe.

Considerations for Fixed Decks

Fixed decks can easily integrate into the design of your home for a seamless look, which is why they typically offer a better return on investment. For barbecue enthusiasts, a fixed vinyl deck offers more convenience as far as food preparation. Fixed decks can easily be screened and a roof added for three season use and typically require less annual maintenance.

Attaching a deck to an existing structure will, however, cost more than a floating deck. It will also almost certainly require a building permit. To ensure a waterproof deck and the continued protection of your home, it is advisable to have a deck-building professional install the deck and deck membrane.

Final Considerations for Fixed vs. Floating Vinyl Decks

Ultimately, it comes down to your personal choice and which type of deck you feel you will get more out of. If there’s a perfect area for a deck that’s away from your home, a floating deck will allow you to use that area. However, keep in mind that you’ll want to consider the needs of future users of the home – the last thing you want after making an investment into your home is to find out that it reduce its value or makes the home hard to sell.

What you put on your deck is nearly as important as what type of deck you install. Consider a Tufdek™ vinyl membrane to ensure your deck (and home, for fixed decks) is completely waterproof and easy to maintain.

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