The Best Deck Material: Which One is Right for You?

If you’re in the market for a new deck, you may be wondering which material is right for you. There are a few different options available, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Here we will look at the most popular deck materials and help you decide which one is best for your needs!

What Is the Best Deck Material

When choosing a decking material, you need to think about what is best for your situation. Each type of decking has its own advantages and disadvantages. You also need to think about how much time and effort you want to take care of your deck.

Types of Deck Material Options

There are many types of materials you can use to build your deck. It’s important to understand the pros and cons of each type before making a decision. Just like building the siding and other parts of the house, you need to be mindful of the materials used to prevent problems in the future. For example, you need to choose the best paint for aluminum sidings to ensure good quality. If not, it’ll be prone to damage. Some materials require more maintenance than others, but all can be beautiful if properly managed.

1. Pressure-Treated Wood

One of the types of wood decking is pressure-treated lumber. It is the most common type, and it is treated with chemicals that make it last longer. You can find it easily, cut it easily, and work with it easily. If you don’t like the color, you can stain the wood to preserve it and make it to look better.

You should usually wait a few months to let your deck weather before you stain it. There are some benefits to sanding the deck before putting on the stain. Your neighborhood provider can assist you in selecting the appropriate grade of treated lumber for your budget.

The most important difference is that ordinary lumber can split, warp, or crack when comparing composite and wood decking. Pressure-treated wood also needs regular maintenance if you want it to last. However, with care, including power washing, sanding, and regular re-staining, you can extend the lifespan of your pressure-treated deck. Pressure-treated wood is affordable at around $3-$6 per square foot.

2. Cedar Decking

Cedar is a higher-quality wood than pressure-treated lumber. Over time, this natural wood will age to a delicate grey tone. Additionally, cedar is lightweight and easy to work with, making it ideal for do-it-yourself projects. Another benefit of cedar is that it contains natural tannins, making it resistant to decay, infestation, and rot.

If you choose cedar as your decking material, you must use heartwood. Heartwood is cut from the tree’s center and denser than sapwood. Sapwood is found on the outside of the tree and is softer. Heartwood’s increased density makes it more resistant to environmental degradation.

Cedar is a type of wood that is similar to pressure-treated wood. It will need regular maintenance, but it will last longer than standard pressure-treated wood if you take care of it. Cedar costs around $9 – $11.50 per square foot.

3. PVC Decking

There are many levels of quality for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics. Nearly all of them are very durable. Indeed, high-quality PVC is extremely robust and lacks the vulnerabilities associated with wood. This eliminates the need for sanding and staining, making vinyl decking virtually maintenance-free. Vinyl is a good material to use for your deck because it comes in lots of different colors, like brown, gray, white, and tan. You can even find patterns that look like wood grain. PVC is another good option for your deck because it comes in many colors and has a wood grain pattern. It is also lighter than many other synthetic materials, making it easier to move around the job site.

PVC decking is more expensive than wood. And if you build a deck with PVC, it will cost a lot at first because of the materials. However, this means that you won’t have to do much maintenance on it. Many decks made from PVC have less recycled content, making the carbon footprint bigger.

4. Composite Decking

Many types of decking are made out of different materials. The word “composite” means when two or more things are combined. Usually, LDPE and wood are put together to make these decks, but other things are sometimes used. One benefit is that these decks do well in the environment.

Composite is also available in various hues, including some that resemble wood. Composite is scratch-resistant, but this can vary quite slightly depending on the brand and price point.

Composite decking is very low-maintenance and does not need to be sanded or refinished. You will only need to wash it a few times per year. With good quality materials, like Trex Composite Decking, the deck can last up to 25 years. There are many different colors and composite decking brands, so the cost can vary from $8 to $12 per square foot.

Manufacturers can use recycled materials without affecting the performance of composites. In fact, some brands use up to 95% recycled materials. If reducing your carbon footprint is important to you, be sure to ask each manufacturer about the materials they use.

5. Hardwoods

Exotic hardwoods, like Ipe wood, are a good option for decking materials. These woods are dense and hard, making them resistant to infestation and rot. They also have natural tannins that work to protect them similarly to chemicals added to pressure-treated lumber.

Each type of hardwood has a unique look. For example, Ipe is a rich red-brown color that becomes softer and lighter in color over time if it isn’t oiled regularly. Other types of hardwoods include Tigerwood, Cumaru, and Mahogany. These woods are denser than softwoods, so they often look better as they age.

One downside of some hardwoods is that they are slow-growing and don’t grow in great density. This has caused some to doubt the sustainability of those particular hardwood species. If this is a concern for you, many online resources can help you decide which type of material is best for your project.

To better understand how to choose the best deck material, you can check out this link.

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Deck Material

What Is the Most Durable Decking Material?

Composite decking from brands like Trex and TimberTech is made from a mix of recycled plastic and wood. The synthetic material is very strong and does not warp. It is also resistant to rot and insects.

What Is the Best Type of Decking?

People who like natural wood want to use hardwood because it can be found everywhere is strong, lightweight, and has a nice color. Due to the oils in the wood, it is pest and rot-resistant.

Which Is Better, Wood or Composite Decking?

Composite materials often cost more than wood, but they usually last longer and require less maintenance. Wood is the most common choice for deck material, but it doesn’t last forever. Composite materials may be more durable, but they might not have the natural look and color you are looking for.

Is Composite Decking Worth the Money?

The composite decking material is more expensive than wood, but it is worth the money. Composite decking looks like natural wood, and it is very efficient. To ensure long-term use, it’s very simple to clean and maintain. When you sell your home, the new owner will be able to appreciate all of these benefits too.

How Much Does Trex Cost?

Trex decking ranges in price from $1,600 to $9,600. Averaging approximately $4,800. That is about $5 to $12 per square foot for just decking boards and about $5 to 15 per square foot for installation. Based on the size of the deck, the price is calculated accordingly. For example, a 144-square-foot deck will be cheaper than a 300-square-foot deck because it is less space that needs work done on it.

What Wood Should I Use for a Deck?

There are three common types of wood that people use for decks. They are redwood, cedar, and pressure-treated wood. Redwood and cedar protect themselves from insects and rot, but each protection has its own problems.

Is Trex Cheaper Than Wood?

An obstacle for Trex is that it costs a lot more because the materials are composites. For example, for a 16- by 20-foot deck, the outlay for its Transcend line would be $2,714. That’s almost five times as much as regular wood ($577).

How Long Do Composite Decks Last?

Composite decking usually lasts between 25 and 30 years. It doesn’t need a lot of care, but it is important to keep it clean. Plastic decking usually lasts for about 30 years.

How Expensive Is Composite Decking?

On average, a composite deck costs around $30-$60 per square foot to install. For natural decks made of high-quality wood like cedar or redwood, the cost is about $23-$42 per square foot.

Does Composite Decking Get Hot?

One study found that composite decks can get very hot in the sun. The deck surface temperature could be as high as 150° on an 80° day.

Which Is Better, Pressure-Treated or Cedar?

Cedar is more durable and stronger than pressure-treated lumber. If left untreated, pressure-treated lumber will distort and deteriorate within a few years, whereas cedar will naturally retain its shape. Cedar is also more susceptible to cosmetic damages, such as dents and scratches.

Which Is Better, Trex or Wood?

Trex composite decking is a good choice for your deck because it doesn’t warp, rot or splinter like treated wood does. It also doesn’t fade in the sun or rain, and you don’t have to seal or paint it.

What Is Bad About Composite Decking?

Composite decking materials are weaker than natural wood, so they need to be properly supported to keep them from sagging. As a result, composite decks require smaller joist spacing than traditional wood decks to provide extra support.