Quality decking materials are an easy way to improve your outdoor living spaces. A well-built deck also helps to boost your property value. If you’re building a deck, it’s important to choose the right material. This can be challenging with so many quality options available. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the most common types of decking materials.
1) Redwood and Cedar Types of Decking Materials
Softwoods, like redwood and cedar, are popular options because they offer a beautiful natural finish and are inexpensive. Softwood does require a fair amount of maintenance including yearly pressure washing and applying a waterproofing sealant to protect the wood every few years.
- naturally beautiful
- requires a fair amount of maintenance
- doesn’t last as long as hardwood decking
Hardwood is a more expensive option for decking, but it lasts a long time (up to 50 years) and is easier to maintain than softwood. It lasts longer because the timber is dense, making it more durable than other types of wood. The durability and the fact that it’s harder to mill make hardwood more expensive.
- resistant to rotting, warping, and splitting
- relatively fire-resistant
- natural and attractive
- less eco-friendly than softwood because trees take longer to grow
- more difficult to install
3) Composite Types of Decking Materials
Composite decking is a newer option for decks. These are wood-polymer composites or composites made of 100% synthetic materials. Composite decking has an appearance that mimics natural wood, but the plastic components make it more durable.
- weather and stain-resistant
- doesn’t rot or split
- low maintenance
- some homeowners don’t like the synthetic look
- slippery when wet
- prone to mold and mildew growth
Aluminum is a contemporary and stylish approach to decking. It is also an environmentally friendly option because it can be recycled and is very durable.
- stronger than composite decking
- lightweight and easy to install
- not as many design options as other decking materials
- slippery when wet
- noisy with heavy rains or foot traffic
5) Pressure-Treated Lumber
Pressure-treated wood is the most popular decking choice because it is inexpensive and easy to install. Pressure-treated lumber is most often pine that has been treated with preservatives to make it resistant to weather, rot, and insects.
- easy to install
- resistant to insects
- not as durable as other decking materials
- requires a lot of maintenance
- prone to cracking, warping, and splintering
There are plenty of options when it comes to decking materials. Choosing the right one for your home means finding a balance between cost, maintenance, and the overall look of the deck.