Decks add value to homes, and they make outdoor spaces more usable. You can bring your family closer together and enjoy your yard more with a deck. But before you can start building a deck, you have to choose the right material for the job.
Choosing the right deck-building materials is challenging because many different options are available. Use this guide to help you decide which materials to use when building the perfect deck for your home.
Guide to Decking Types, Pros And Cons
Composite boards have become increasingly popular for building decks. Composite decking is a low-maintenance option that looks like real wood and is made from recycled wood products.
While composite decking costs about 15 to 20% more to install than traditional wood decking, you’ll save money on maintenance costs in the long run.
Because composite decking costs more and is more challenging to install than traditional wood decking, it pays to hire professionals for installation.
Deck builders in your area will provide you with a cost estimate, and they can also help you design your deck to get the most out of your outdoor living space . It is also resistant to water, which makes it an ideal choice for pool decking. So always hire the professional pool deck builders.
- Low maintenance option.
- Resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage.
- Comes in a wide variety of colors.
- Lasts longer than many types of wood.
- Retains heat and can become hot enough to burn pets and children.
- Slippery when wet.
- Even though it looks like wood, it doesn’t have the natural beauty of wood.
- Some brands are inferior, so it pays to compare when you shop.
Composite Decking Tip
Composite decking can’t be painted, but many brands offer warranties against fading.
The natural beauty of cedar decking makes it one of the best decking materials to use.
It’s naturally rot-resistant and doesn’t absorb moisture like other types of wood, making issues like swelling and warping less of a problem. Cedar looks great when stained and is one of the top choices to use in damp climates.
- Durable and long-lasting.
- Resistant to insects and rot.
- Affordable compared to other high-quality decking materials.
- Adds value to your home.
- Prone to splintering and cracking.
- Needs to be inspected more often than other types of decking.
- Requires regular staining and sealing.
- It’s a soft wood that can be easily dented or scratched by deck furniture and pets.
Cedar Decking Tip:
Old cedar decking can be restored to its original beauty, but don’t use a pressure washer. The pressure of the water can damage the wood and ruin the surface.
Like cedar, redwood decking has natural beauty and is resistant to decay and insect damage. The warm, red tones of this type of wood decking make it a favorite for many homeowners, and it’s easy to stain and seal it, so it looks great for many years.
Redwood is considered a softwood, and while it is prone to dents and scratches, it’s hard to beat the look of a redwood deck.
- Lasts for decades without major maintenance.
- Absorbs stains and sealants easily.
- It is a top choice for an elegant deck in the Pacific Northwest.
- Requires more maintenance in damp climates.
- Costs more than other decking materials.
- Need help to find in some regions.
Redwood Decking Tip:
Since redwood is often used in wet climates, it’s important to choose screws, joist hangers, and corrosion-resistant fasteners. Choose stainless steel joist hangers for redwood decks built in coastal areas.
Pressure Treated Decking
One of the biggest reasons to use pressure-treated decking is affordability. It’s an economical choice compared to cedar and redwood, but it lasts a long time and requires little maintenance.
If you’re working with a tight budget, pressure-treated decking is the first choice to get the most bang for your buck. It’s usually made from southern pine, which is known for its durability and load-bearing capacity.
- Less expensive than other durable decking materials.
- Easy to stain.
- Commonly found all over the United States.
- Resists rot and insect damage.
- Prone to splitting and denting because pine is a softwood.
- Requires annual staining and sealing to prevent blemishes.
- The color fades over time, and the green tint of the chromate-copper arsenate may show through the stain.
Pressure Treated Decking Tip:
When pressure-treated wood is cut, burned, or trimmed, it releases chemicals. Therefore, it should be handled with care. Never use pressure-treated lumber for gardens or applications that come into contact with food or drinking water.
Many species of hardwood can be used for decking materials. Some types of hardwood are less expensive than composite decking, and the beauty of these types of wood is unrivaled.
Common hardwood species used for decking include Ipe, Cumaru, Massaranduba, Tigerwood, and Garapa.
- The ultimate in luxury decking materials.
- Don’t shrink or expand like other types of wood.
- Resistant to fires.
Purchasing hardwood can contribute to deforestation. To protect rare species, only purchase wood that comes from sustainable forests. Some hardwoods are difficult to drill into.
There are no grading standards for many types of hardwoods.
Hardwood Decking Tip:
Hardwood isn’t a top choice for DIYers. The least expensive hardwood decking materials are about twice as expensive as pressure-treated wood, and they are difficult to install.