As a homeowner looking to add an outdoor deck to your home, you need to put a number of things into consideration before making a decision on which material to go for. The major things to consider include the cost, durability, and how much maintenance is required.
In this article, we explore the best seven deck materials that you can use when building your deck. Click here to learn more about what our deck builders do.
Contemplating Deck Material Options
Before you make your decision, however, it is important that you know about the different deck material options you have, and which one is best for you. With your decision made on the material to go for, other variables will naturally align.
The most cost-effective option out of all the natural woods is the pressure-treated pine. You won’t have any difficulty getting it as it is readily available. Because of their relative strength, pressure-treated boards are resistant to cracking and rot. With proper care and maintenance, a deck made from this wood option will remain strong for many years of use.
You should note, however, that even when pressure-treated lumber is properly sealed, it can warp and splinter. Armed with this knowledge, you may want to take the time to get boards from older growth pine. This is because when compared to cuts from younger trees, the older ones have more stability and are better at resisting twisting.
If you find the natural look of pressure-treated wood unattractive, know that it can be stained to imitate other wood types. You may just want to bear in mind that regular cleaning, sealing, and staining pressure-treated wood will cost you money and expertise of the local deck builders.
The popularity of composite decking materials has grown over the years. This is most likely because of the increasing number of homeowners who desire to have decks that are eco-friendly, sustainable, and require little or no maintenance.
Composite decking materials are a combination of plastic fibers and recycle wood that is stained to mimic real wood. These material options are strong, able to withstand the elements and require minimal maintenance. Although they look like real wood even to the texture, their lifespan far exceeds that of real wood.
Be sure to do enough research before you buy composite materials as some inferior brands are prone to slips, staining, and mildew.
Composite decking systems can be expensive, but you are most likely to find a few major manufacturers who have products that are budget-friendly. This gives you and other homeowners a good option. While it offers limited color options, it remains a better value, compared to exotic hardwood decks. Get in touch with our deck builders to ask about affordable composite decking.
This material option is one of the popular choices of homeowners due to its beautiful nature. This attribute of redwood saves you the extra cost of applying a stain. In addition to the fact that it cuts nicely, redwood is naturally resistant to decay. While it is more expensive than pressure-treated pine, redwood is durable and able to withstand the elements.
Periodic cleaning and sealing are necessary to maintain the rich color of your redwood deck, thereby increasing its overall cost factor. One way of knowing whether any natural wood deck is due for sealing is to spray its surface with a garden hose. You know that your deck is protected if the water beads up.
Although teak has a premium price tag on it, building your deck using this hardwood is always worth the cost. When compared to other wood materials, it is strong, durable, and the easiest to use. Teak does not crack, warp, or splinter.
Teak has natural oils that make it resistant to insects, mold, and rot. These oils also make sealants unnecessary for teak. In fact, sweeping and cleaning are the only maintenance routine needed for teak. When left untreated, teak eventually turns into a beautiful silver color due to weather changes. With the regular application of a coat of specially made teak oil, your deck maintains a beautiful golden color. Ask our deck builders to learn more about teak decking.
Mostly grown and harvested in the Atlantic seaboard and the South, cypress decking is quite popular in those regions. Because of this, cypress can be cost-prohibitive, especially for homeowners who are not in regions where it is grown.
Cypress is known to resist insect infestation, mold, and rot. This is because of its naturally generated chemical compound known as Cypressene. This decking material is also known to be highly resistant to water, thereby making it dry, and helping it to maintain its beautiful color through its lifespan. The lifespan of a cypress deck can be further extended by sealing it. All these features make the cypress considered exotic wood.
After being through the different weathers for some time, cypress decks ultimately take on a silver-gray appearance. Once you have enjoyed its weather-transformed look, you can then apply a sealer to maintain its color. This will also extend the life of the cypress deck.
When it comes to wood decking materials, cedar is the most popular choice. While one may be deceived by its lightweight, cedar lumber is durable. Unlike other wood options, cedar is not susceptible to decay. Compared to redwood, cedar’s splintering is minimal, and it’s in the same price range as redwood.
Cedar does not warp and holds screws and nails tightly. Just as it is with other wood decking materials, annual sealing is necessary to maintain the beauty of the cedar wood with time.
Made of PVC and polyethylene, Vinyl is unequaled in its ability to resist staining and the elements. Vinyl decks are designed to mimic real wood and even with a stamped texture. Vinyl is extremely lightweight and assembling it is relatively easy for deck builders meaning more time enjoying it.
Vinyl decks do not require maintenance except once-in-a-while cleaning. The good thing is that it is available in textured finishes and many fade-resistant colors. Unlike composites and natural wood, vinyl decks are cool underfoot.
However, vinyl decks have the following downsides:
- They look cheap
- They get slippery when wet
- They tend to sag over time, even more than natural wood.
To find out how much it would cost to build your deck with any of these materials, you may want to check out the Home Guide to get the national average.
Having read about the various material options that you can use for your decking, you can make a more informed decision based on your budget and what you desire for your home. It may do you some good to contact a professional deck builder to help you through the process.