Progress: How to turn this… into this

Published 2:55 pm Monday, May 14, 2012

It’s easy for homeowners to become completely overwhelmed when looking at all the options available for building a new deck.

Traditional plans for a deck can make it hard for homeowners to envision what it will look like when built.


That’s where Freeborn Lumber Company & Design Center in Albert Lea comes in. Staff there can help homeowners wade through all the kinds of woods and composites, colors and myriad options available.

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“It’s really easy to get snowed in with all the options,” manager Brandon Kroeger said.

The first decision to make is what size the deck will be, and where it will be placed. After that homeowners must choose whether to use wood, a composite or other material. Composites are becoming a popular option because they guarantee much less maintenance — some of the newest need no maintenace other than washing once in a while — but you get what you pay for as these are on the expensive end of materials. Using traditional wood for decks means staining every few years and other forms of maintenance.

Freeborn Lumber can supply a digital rendering of what your deck may look like.

“With composites you’re basically paying for no maintenance,” Kroeger said.

After the material is chosen, then there are many, many colors to choose from. There’s also the question of stairs, elevated levels on the deck, ballisters, railings, pre-installed lights and much more. With that many options it can be hard to keep track of the entire cost of the project. Kroeger said staff can help people narrow those options if they come with a specific budget in mind.

“If they give us an idea of their budget, we can help steer them to the best choices,” Kroeger said.

Because there are so many different options in all the materials for decks the business doesn’t have a lot of it on hand, but they can get it within a day or two. They also deliver the materials right up to the project area.

Kroeger said Freeborn Lumber helps people by creating plans for decks so that they can use it themselves to build one or give to the contractor who plans to build it. Traditional plans, drawn on paper, can be hard for customers to visualize, so Kroeger said they’ve started to move toward showing 3D plans.

“That way they get something to look at,” Kroeger said.

With all the various options and depending on the size, decks can cost anywhere from $600 for a small, wood deck to $10,000 for a large deck with all top-of-the-line materials. Larger decks don’t always have to cost more if homeowners choose the right materials.

“You can get lost in the choices,” Kroeger said. “But if they come in with a general budget we can really help them out.”