Adding a new deck to your home is a smart investment: a beautiful outdoor living space with a great return on investment. You can look forward to years of outdoor enjoyment or know that it will be more attractive and valuable if you sell your home tomorrow because of your deck addition.
How is it more valuable? According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost Vs. Value Report you can expect an ROI of about 83% of the cost of building a new timber deck and 65% of a composite deck when you sell your home. Furthermore, a bathroom addition recoups just 57%, and a kitchen renovation is 60%.
At the same time, the cost of building a deck is relatively affordable. If you are looking to add more living space, and increase your home’s value, build a new deck.
Though the ROI is excellent, adding a new deck to your home is not cheap, even if you are a do-it-yourselfer (DIY). To protect this investment, add one element to your deck build: deck joist & bearer tape.
How Can You Protect Your Deck?
A deck’s substructure often starts to rot and spilt at around 8-10 years, even with treated lumber. Make sure your deck substructure lasts as long as the deck boards it supports — especially since your composite boards are warranted to last about 25 years.
Water leaking through your timber, ACQ or acza-treated lumber, or composite decking can cause hidden damage unless your bearers and joists are covered. Even the tiny cracks that form around screws and fasteners are primary pathways for timber rot. For a few extra dollars, you can protect your deck framing by applying a peel-and-stick flashing tape that protects the joists and bearers from moisture.
Using a high-quality joist flashing tape — also referred to as deck joist tape or joist & bearer flashing tape — such as Trex Protect can protect the top of the deck joist, rim joist, bearers, and ledger board from developing rot and timber decay. The flashing tape will keep water out and seal around screw holes and metal fasteners to help prevent cracks and corrosion of the metal surface.
The three main choices for deck flashing tape are butyl, asphalt, or bitumen, but which should you choose?
What to Choose: Butyl or Asphalt?
Joist & bearer tape typically comes in three types: acrylic tape (G-Tape), butyl, and bitumen. Bitumen will dry out over time, reducing the effectiveness of flashing. That leaves acrylic or butyl joist and bearer tape.
Butyl rubber tape has many advantages:
- The tape is stickier
- The tape endures less stain
- The tape has less high-temperature oozing
- The tape is applied in a wide range of temperatures
- The tape is more rubbery than acrylic-based tape, allowing it to flow better around the decking screws and deck fasteners to create a tighter seal.
In summary, butyl joist & bearer tape provides superior weatherproofing for the timber foundation of your deck.
What Makes a Good Flashing Tape?
Choosing the right joist and bearer tape doesn’t need to take a lot of effort. However, there are a few things you need to consider before you make your purchase.
As stated above, butyl tape, such as Trex Protect, has better adhesion, endures less stain, has less high-temperature oozing, and can be applied in a wide range of temperatures. It can flow better around deck screws for a tighter seal.
Buy a butyl tape that is easy to install and requires little trimming. Because of its super grip, you want to be able to put the tape down once on a dry surface. A self-adhesive butyl tape that lies directly on the boards requires minimum cuts with little overlap.
Purchase a tape that is not too thin and not too thick. With thin tape, you risk the long-term durability of the tape. A thick tape can be difficult to install.
Protecting your joist, bearers, and deck support posts should not cost a lot at checkout. As with any item you are buying, cost comparisons alone may not be the right approach to selecting the best joist and bearer tape. You need to consider the full cost to protect your deck, which involves not only the price you pay but also the quality of the tape.
There are several different brands of butyl and asphalt tape on the market. The chart below gives you a comparison and shows why Trex Protect is the leading joist and bearer tape available. Not only does it come with a 20-year warranty, but Trex, the world’s #1 decking brand, also backs this product. New products don’t have this kind of track record.
Check out your choices and make the best decision on flashing tape. Protect your joists and bearers from timber rot, and you’ll preserve your valuable outdoor living space into the future.