How to Choose the Best Deck Material for Your Home

Posted by Marcos Bicalho

in Decks

How to Choose the Best Deck Material for Your Home

A deck is a fantastic addition to any home, providing a space for relaxation, entertainment and outdoor enjoyment. Choosing the right decking material is an important decision that takes into account your location, usage and budget. With a variety of options available, from classic wood to low-maintenance composite, selecting the best deck material can feel overwhelming.

Factors to consider

First, let’s discuss the factors to consider to help you choose the best deck material for your home.

Durability

How durable do you need your deck to be?

If you’re looking for a material that can withstand the elements with minimal maintenance, composite decking might be the way to go. However, if you love the natural look of wood and don’t mind a bit of upkeep, traditional wood decking can also be a durable option when properly maintained.

Maintenance

How much time and effort are you willing to invest in maintaining your deck?

Wood decking typically requires regular sealing, staining and cleaning to keep it looking its best. On the other hand, composite decking requires minimal maintenance, usually just an occasional rinse with soapy water to remove dirt and debris. If you’d rather spend your weekends relaxing on your deck instead of maintaining it, composite decking may be the way to go.

Appearance

What look are you trying to achieve?

Your deck is an extension of your home’s aesthetic, so it’s essential to choose a material that complements your style. Wood decking offers a classic, natural look that many homeowners love. With a variety of species available, you can choose a wood that matches your home’s exterior and personal taste. Composite decking comes in a range of colors and textures, allowing you to achieve the look you want without the maintenance requirements of wood.

Cost

Do you have a budget that you want to stay within?

Budget is always a consideration when undertaking a home improvement project. Wood decking is typically less expensive upfront than composite decking, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners. However, it’s essential to factor in the long-term costs of maintenance when comparing materials. While composite decking may have a higher initial cost, it can save you money in the long run by eliminating the need for regular upkeep.

Deck material options

Now, what are your options for deck materials? Let’s take a closer look.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is an attractive yet low-maintenance material. It requires minimal upkeep, typically only needing occasional cleaning with soap and water to maintain its appearance. Made from a blend of wood fibers and recycled plastic, composite decking offers the natural look of wood without the drawbacks of rotting, warping, or splintering. Its resistance to moisture, mold and insects, make it an excellent choice for areas with high humidity or frequent exposure to the elements.

With a wide range of colors and textures available, composite decking allows you to achieve the look you desire without sacrificing performance or sustainability. Whether you’re lounging with friends or hosting a barbecue, composite decking provides a beautiful and durable foundation for outdoor enjoyment for years to come. The average cost for a composite deck is $4 to $6 per square foot excluding labor expenses.

Pressure Treated Woods

Pressure treated wood is a popular choice for decks and other landscaping structures. It is durable and resists rot, decay and insect damage. The treatment process involves infusing the wood with chemicals that protect it from moisture and pests, extending its lifespan and making it ideal for use in humid or wet environments.

Expect to pay between $15 to $25 per square foot excluding labor expenses. However, it does require regular maintenance, including sealing and staining, to prolong its longevity and maintain its appearance. With proper care, pressure treated wood can provide years of reliable performance, making it a practical choice for outdoor projects.

Vinyl Decking

Vinyl decking is the latest gem in the decking industry and it is as close to maintenance-free decking as decking can ever be. Made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) resin, vinyl decking is engineered to withstand the elements, including UV rays, moisture, and temperature fluctuations, without warping, cracking, or fading. Its smooth, non-porous surface is easy to clean, requiring only occasional rinsing with soap and water to maintain its appearance.

Unlike wood decking, vinyl decking is resistant to rot, mold, and insect damage, eliminating the need for regular staining, sealing or painting. Available in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns, vinyl decking allows homeowners to customize their outdoor spaces to suit their style preferences. With its durability, ease of maintenance, and aesthetic versatility, vinyl decking is a popular choice if you are seeking a hassle-free and long-lasting solution for their outdoor living needs.

These decks have a warranty of 25 years and available in white, gray, browns, and tans. The average cost for a vinyl deck is $5 to $13 per square foot excluding labor expenses.

Cedar Decking

Cedar decks are long-lasting, inexpensive and easy to install. Homeowners love cedar decking because of its natural beauty, rich color variations and aromatic scent. As a softwood, cedar is relatively lightweight and easy to work with, making it a favorite among DIY enthusiasts and professional builders alike. Its natural oils provide inherent resistance to decay, rot, and insect infestation, making it a durable choice for outdoor projects.

Cedar decking weathers gracefully over time, developing a charming silvery-gray patina if left untreated. However, regular maintenance, including staining and sealing, can help preserve its original color. and extend its lifespan. With proper care, your cedar deck can last 15-20 years. The typical cost of cedar decking is $4 and $9 per square foot (excluding labor).

Redwood

Known for its rich color tones, straight grain patterns, and natural resistance to decay, redwood decking is a premium choice for most homeowners. Harvested from old-growth redwood trees native to the Pacific Coast, this hardwood boasts exceptional durability and longevity. Redwood’s inherent stability and resistance to warping and splitting make it an excellent option for climates with fluctuating temperatures and high humidity.

Its natural tannins provide protection against rot, decay, and insect damage, reducing the need for chemical treatments. Redwood decking offers unparalleled beauty and elegance, with hues ranging from warm reds to deep browns that deepen with age. Redwood decking generally costs $5 to $35 per square foot for materials only. So while redwood decking may come with a higher price tag, its timeless appeal and long-lasting performance make it a worthwhile investment if your goal is a luxurious outdoor retreat.

Ipe

Ipe decking, also referred to as Brazilian Walnut, is the most beautiful hardwood. Harvested from sustainably managed forests in South America, IPE is one of the densest hardwoods available. It’s natural oils make it highly resistant to rot, decay, rot, mold, and insect infestation. It is also very durable, lasting for 25 years or more. It is extremely hard to install, therefore its installation cost is higher than the others. Installing an IPE wood deck typically costs between $8 and $20 per square foot, but most homeowners will pay around $20 per square foot for the highest quality materials.

What deck material will you choose?

Ultimately, the best deck material for your home will depend on your priorities, budget, and personal preferences. Whether you opt for the timeless charm of wood or the modern convenience of composite, investing in a quality deck will enhance your outdoor living space for years to come. So, take your time, weigh your options, and let us help you create the deck that works for you. Then get ready to enjoy countless hours of outdoor relaxation on your beautiful new deck!

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