A deck is a great addition to your home and one that can add value and enjoyment. Not only do decks provide you with an outdoor living space, but they’re also the perfect spot for grilling out, dining in the fresh air, and just taking in nature’s beauty.
Before you get started on building your deck, there are some things to consider such as the type of material used, cost efficiency based on materials, and upkeep requirements, so you choose the best decking material for your individual needs.
Wood is the most popular choice for materials to build decks, with over 90% of all decks made with it. Softwoods such as redwood, cypress, cedar, and pine are the most common type for this application. Most species will fare well outdoors if they are treated regularly but may need reapplication after 5-7 years depending on how much is in contact with the elements. Pressure-treated wood is another option for deck building where a chemical preservative has been forced into the wood at high pressure and temperatures, which protects against rot and insect damage. The main problem with using pressure-treated wood is that some pressure-treating chemicals contain arsenic (a toxin) which can leach out into soil or water. Lastly, there is composite wood made from wood waste and recycled plastics which are combined into a board form with no need for pressure treatments or regular maintenance. Also, selecting a colour is not a problem with composite wood, as it comes in a wide variety of colours and shades. Overall, wood is a versatile decking material and can significantly improve the aesthetic and real estate value of your home. If you prefer using wood as a deck material, here are several points to help you decide:
- African mahogany has been used as a favorite of builders for over 50 years because of its high durability against rot, insect infestation as well as fading/discoloration.
- Redwood is another popular option, especially for those who want naturally beautiful wood. It’s also long-lasting and easy to maintain since it doesn’t need to be stained or sealed.
- Cedar is rot-resistant, insect & decay resistant as well as being moderately priced which makes it an excellent choice.
- Pressure-treated pine is the least expensive option but can still provide many years of use without any major upkeep costs.
- Teak has been used by people all over the world because of its natural beauty, durability, and resistance against weathering, insects & stains
Pros: The price is about the same as redwood/cedar but requires less care; easier on your nails than hardwoods
Cons: Wood can sometimes be not realistic-looking like most synthetic products.
Metal decking can be a fantastic choice for a deck since it’s durable and low maintenance. Not only will this type of material stand up to the elements, but metal decking can easily be cleaned, while sealed surfaces protect it from being damaged by moisture. Metal is also affordable and comes in various colors, so you’re likely to find something that looks great with your home’s design. In addition, metal is an eco-friendly choice since it uses recycled materials, such as discarded shipping containers. Common metal options used for decking are aluminum, steel, and iron which provide resilience against bugs and rot, although it will dent if banged too much. They can also be painted in any color you want with high heat paint to fit the style of your home. Composite metals combine metal with other materials such as organic fibers from coconut husks for a more natural look and feel. It comes in three forms, steel wool combined with polyethylene, solid recycled aluminum combined with organic materials, or hollow upcycled aluminum combined with organic materials.
Pros: It looks more realistic than synthetic wood and is low-maintenance.
Cons: The price is higher than wood and plastics.
Some decks are built with concrete for stability, but this requires a special form to hold it in place until it sets, so installation costs are higher. Some people also use bricks or cobblestone, which are usually used as decorative features at the intersection of one another rather than as an entire deck surface. Cobblestones can be made from natural stones which require maintenance every few years by polishing with sandpaper and resealing them, while brick may have to be replaced after being exposed to regular wear and tear from foot traffic.
Pros: requires no maintenance to look nice
Cons: pricey to install as a DIY project; regular wear and tear can be an eyesore if not maintained regularly
Plastic is another option for decks, but finding the right product depends on what you want it to look like. There are many types of plastic decking such as PVC which has a synthetic wood grain imprinted on the surface, so it looks similar to other types of wood or recycled plastics which require little maintenance and stand up against rot, insects, chemicals, and salt spray. The downside is that they will warp if left in high heat conditions, such as beneath an aluminum roof or under sun exposure. Polyethylene is another type that comes in a solid sheet and is available in a wide range of colours, so you can choose the right type to fit your home.
Pros: It requires no maintenance; comes in many different colors.
Cons: It limited availability for certain types depending on where you live. It can also be pricier than wood or composites, but less pricey than concrete/brick.
Other things to keep in mind
The duration of time spent building or repairing one’s deck often affects the materials chosen. For instance, those with less patience or limited time might choose steel or plastic composites because they require less handling and maintenance.
Also, keep in mind the durability of each material when choosing a type to use on your deck. If you’re frequently entering and exiting your outdoor space then convenience is key; however, if your household is prone to frequent spills then stain and water resistance may be more crucial.
In addition, consider how versatile the material is in terms of colors and finishes that can be used for the design of one’s deck. Some materials look better with certain stains or paints than others. Be sure to select one that provides a wide range of future choices!
Suppose you’ve decided on an approach to renewing your deck but are still uncertain about the right decking material. If this describes you, then it’s time to review your options and remember these expert tips for choosing the best decking material! A little research goes a long way in making an informed decision that will result in more enjoyment from your outdoor space. Remember to choose materials with durability, affordability, and versatility in mind – they are all important considerations when it comes to deciding what type of decking you want on your new or existing structure.