Guide to Selecting Durable and Stylish Materials for Decking Projects

Like any construction project, picking materials for your deck is as important, if not more, than finalizing the design aesthetics. While you do want your deck to be the envy of your neighborhood, you also want it to look pristine year after year.

Choosing the perfect material for your deck can get overwhelming with so many options. You have natural woods like cedar and redwood that look fantastic but might need more maintenance. On the other hand, synthetic materials like PVC don’t look as fancy but need little to no care.

So, what to choose? Well, it all boils down to what you want from your deck. Is it elegance and class you are after, or do you like an easier option to care for, sacrificing the looks?

A lot to consider, right?

That’s where this detailed guide comes in. Join us as we cover some of the most popular decking material and their pros and cons to make your choice easier.

Let’s transform your deck from a place to stand to one that stands out!

Factors to consider when choosing materials for decking projects

Choosing the suitable material for your decking project isn’t just about picking the prettiest option. It’s a bit more complex than that, and there are quite a few things to consider, like how much it’ll cost to maintain and repair. Plus, you want something that can handle whatever the weather throws at it and still look incredible years later.

 

Aesthetic appeal

It all starts with the aesthetics. When you spend so much time and money on your deck, you naturally want it to look splendid. The choice of decking material will dictate the overall appearance of your deck.

You should go for material that harmonizes with your house. For example, if your home is very modern, with straight lines and a futuristic look, going for a natural wooden deck might not work. Instead, choose a deck made from high-quality composite material.

 

Durability and longevity

Make sure you select your decking material according to your local climate. Teak is a good choice if you live in an environment with high humidity. The wood resists warping, and almost no insects can attack it.

Another great alternative is composite decking, which is resistant and can tolerate almost all climates without curling or fading.

If you live in areas that receive a lot of rain or intense sunshine, your choice of construction material will vastly differ from someone living in a milder climate.

For instance, what is great for someone living on the West Coast might not be an excellent option for someone in the Midwest.

 

Maintenance

Additionally, consider the necessary upkeep for your chosen decking material. Wooden decks demand considerable care compared to PVC decking. Also, keep in mind that traditional wood decking will require recurring staining and sealing to avoid rot and discoloration.

Although synthetic or composite decking would most likely not give you that natural finish of a wooden deck, it is much easier to maintain them. Just clean them from time to time, and they will look as good as they did on day one!

Environmental impact

Environmentally conscious people should think about reclaimed wood as their decking material. Composites from recycled materials are also a good option. Opting for environmentally friendly alternatives will minimize your ecological footprint without needing to compromise on the quality.

You should also pay attention to the aspects such as production, maintenance, and disposal of your material. Certain supplies may have a negligible adverse effect on the environment when manufactured but require maintenance chemicals.

 

Safety and comfort

You must consider slip resistance, especially in places with wet climates. You don’t want to have a slick deck every time it rains, now do you?!

You should also determine if the color of the material could retain heat under sunny weather. The dark color of composite material traps in the heat and makes it uncomfortable to walk on. If you have a sunny deck, think of light colors and natural woods that reflect the heat and keep your deck cool.

 

Cost

It is often the most crucial consideration point when choosing a decking material. Some materials might initially be cheaper, but they will need more regular renovation or replacement. Ensuring the initial investment is balanced against possible future costs is critical.

Despite being pricey, high-quality woods usually come with better aesthetics and durability. The amount you want to spend on your deck is strictly personal, of course, but don’t forget to ask yourself what value you expect from that material before deciding.

 

Regional considerations

Before selecting the best decking material, make sure to consult with the local authority on the building codes and regulations. Some of the things that may be included in regulations for deck construction are material types, railing types, and ways in which you are allowed to build.

If you are unsure about any designs or materials that you wish to use, then it is generally better to ask your local authority.

The type of decking material you choose will determine the appearance of the deck and its durability. If you take the factors mentioned above into account, it will enable you to select a material that greatly enhances your home’s look and gives you a durable, enjoyable, and safe outdoor space for years to come.

 

Types of Decking Materials

Now that you know what factors to consider when picking the best decking material, let’s learn about some of the most popular materials used in decks. 

 

Wood decking

When you think of a beautiful, inviting deck, you so often envision a wooden one, don’t you? Wood makes an excellent choice for decking, not only because of its natural beauty but also its ability to blend seamlessly with the aesthetics of your home. However, while wood decks are visually stunning, they can require significant effort in sanding, staining, and maintaining to preserve their condition.

Pressure-treated wood decking

Many homeowners opt for pressure-treated wood because of its affordability. These woods, typically fir and pine, are chemically treated to resist rot and insects and to enhance their strength. While pressure-treated wood is cost-effective and offers added protection against the elements, it does come with the drawback of high maintenance. Routine staining and sealing are necessary to maintain its condition, and it may not last as long as other options. However, for those who value the natural wood look with enhanced durability, it’s a viable choice, albeit with a consideration for ongoing upkeep costs.

Cedar and redwood

Cedar and redwood are top choices for a naturally beautiful deck. Rich in natural oils and tannins, these woods naturally resist water and insects. However, the allure of using untreated, natural timber like cedar and redwood comes with the responsibility of regular maintenance to preserve their integrity and appearance. While they offer a stunning, organic aesthetic, be prepared for the additional maintenance efforts and costs over time.

Tropical hardwoods

Exotic woods such as Ipe, Teak, and Mahogany are favorites for their exceptional durability, resistance to rot and insects, and their luxurious look. These tropical hardwoods bring a sense of elegance and longevity to decking projects. However, they come with a premium price tag, and their sustainable sourcing can be a challenge. Additionally, like other natural woods, they require diligent maintenance to sustain their beauty and structural integrity.

In summary, while wood decking options like pressure-treated wood, cedar, redwood, and tropical hardwoods offer natural beauty and distinct characteristics, they also necessitate a commitment to regular care and maintenance to ensure their longevity and preserve their aesthetic appeal.

It is often the most crucial consideration point when choosing a decking material. Some materials might initially be cheaper, but they will need more regular renovation or replacement. Ensuring the initial investment is balanced against possible future costs is critical.

Despite being pricey, high-quality woods usually come with better aesthetics and durability. The amount you want to spend on your deck is strictly personal, of course, but don’t forget to ask yourself what value you expect from that material before deciding.

 

Composite decking materials 

Composite decking, including top brands like TimberTek and Deckorators, offers a fantastic alternative that blends the beauty of natural wood with the practicality and ease of maintenance of synthetic materials. Made from a blend of wood fibers and recycled plastics, these composite products are not only strong and aesthetically pleasing but also environmentally friendly.

TimberTek and Deckorators are among the several composites that closely mimic the classic aesthetic of natural wood, without the need for time-consuming and costly periodic maintenance. Their offerings ensure that you can enjoy the beauty of wood without its upkeep hassles.

One of the best features of TimberTek and Deckorators composite decking materials is their resistance to rot and insects. Decks built with these materials are incredibly easy to maintain. Forget about the tedious sealing or staining processes; occasional cleaning is all it takes to keep these decks looking as good as new.

Additionally, these materials come in a wide range of colors and textures. Whether you adore the grain and color of natural pinewood or fancy the look of exotic woods, TimberTek and Deckorators have options to suit your preferences. With such versatility, these composites allow you to unleash your creativity and design the deck of your dreams.

The initial investment in TimberTek or Deckorators composite decking might be higher compared to some other materials. However, when you factor in their longevity and minimal maintenance costs, they represent a very compelling option for many homeowners.

In summary, if you’re aiming to create a luxurious, low-maintenance, and durable deck and are ready to invest upfront, composite decking from brands like TimberTek and Deckorators is the ideal choice.

 

PVC, plastic, and synthetic polymer decking

The plastic material should be your go-to if you want a virtually maintenance-free deck while on a tight budget. Plastic decking is usually made from PVC or other synthetic polymers that are weather- and insect-resistant and have high strength.

Plastic decking does not rot like timber decking, making it an excellent option for decks that get rained on or snowed on frequently. The plastic material does not splinter or warp, so it is a perfect option in almost any climate condition.

Another advantage of this material is the cost. These materials are much cheaper than wooden and composite deck boards, offering a good option to any budgetary-conscious homeowner. The ability to easily maintain, coupled with the low-cost nature and unmatchable durability of plastic, makes it an ideal choice for creating beautiful decks while on a strict budget.

 

Aluminum decking 

While not as common as wood or composite deck materials, aluminum is durable and resistant to weather. It doesn’t rot, rust, warp, splinter, or crack. Moreover, it has a good thermal insulation capacity and is nonflammable. Compared to wood and composite alternatives, it retains little heat when exposed to sunlight. Nevertheless, aluminum decks don’t provide a natural feel of wood or composite material.

What is the importance of choosing the right materials for your decks?

The material you choose for your deck will affect the aesthetics, durability, and the need for upkeep. Knowing what material is the best for your deck will give you the freedom to pick the one that meets your expectations.

Here are some reasons why you should spend time and effort picking the material for your deck:

Decks made from the right materials last longer

Different materials have different degrees of resistance to weather, insects, and decay. Hardwoods such as teak and ipe are known for their toughness and immunity to rot. So, if you are concerned about moisture or insects ruining your deck, then going with these deck material options makes a lot of sense. Softer woods like pine are sometimes subject to greater damage, but when you opt for pressure-treated lumber like pine, most of these issues are taken care of.

Composite materials are the premium choice as they are highly resistant to water, ice, and insects.

 

You will need less maintenance if you pick the right materials 

The choice of decking material influences the level of maintenance. Though a natural wood deck will give an appealing look, staining and sealing may be required at regular intervals so that it can be protected against the environment.

On the other hand, composite decks do not demand more than just cleaning occasionally. It, therefore, translates to significantly low maintenance, cutting down on your periodic expenses without affecting the looks and life expectancy of such decks.

 

Choice of material gives you the freedom of aesthetics and design

A deck is like an extension of your home, and its appearance should reflect your personal style combined with the architecture of your house. Wood gives a classy, natural look that can be stained in shades or combinations depending on your mood and preferences.

Composites come in a range of hues and textures, some of which have been engineered to resemble real wood decking. Material selection can play a big role in how good your deck looks and how well it complements your residence.

Takeaway: Pick the suitable material for a beautiful, and long-lasting deck

So, when it comes down to picking materials for your deck, it’s really about finding the right mix of lasting quality, good looks, easy care, and budget-friendliness. Choosing the right stuff can make your deck last longer and look great.

Now, let’s talk about wood decks. They are gorgeous, right? But keep in mind they need a bit of TLC. You will want to factor in the cost of things like staining and sealing to keep them looking sharp. On the flip side, if you are not keen on all that upkeep, you might want to consider PVC or composite decking materials. These guys are tough against the weather and pretty much take care of themselves, lasting many years and even decades without much fuss.

In the end, it’s all about what works for you. It’s a mix of what you like, what’s practical, what fits your budget. The best decking material is out there, and choosing wisely can really spruce up your outdoor space, improve it’s value, and give you an enjoyable spot to make memories for years to come.

Turn your decks into an outdoor sanctuary with Vantage View Decks! Our team of professionals will help you at every stage, from design to choosing the right material. Ready for your dream deck?

Book a consultation with us today, and let’s bring your vision to life!