Over the years, new decking materials have become more prevalent. While wood is still the number one choice amongst DIYers and professionals, there are a variety of materials for one to consider. Some of the main factors to consider for your next deck project should include, product availability, maintenance requirements, color choices, and price. Let’s take a look at the most popular options!
WOOD DECK PRODUCTS
Natural wood decking can be divided into three categories: pressure-treated lumber, redwood and cedar, and tropical hardwoods. Most woods can be found at your local home improvement store or lumberyard, with the exception of tropical hardwoods, which are only available online.
- Pressure-Treated Lumber: This is the most widely used and affordable decking material to date, and virtually every understructure frame is made from this wood. This lumber is cut from southern yellow pine and then chemically treated to resist decay, mold, and wood-boring bugs. The main disadvantage is the maintenance of this product. Pine has a tendency to swell, split, and warp. It requires annual power washing and staining every two years.
- Redwood and Cedar: These two softwoods are most recognizable by their rich color and beauty. Both woods have natural tannins and oils which make them naturally resistant to nature’s elements without the addition of harsh chemicals. The lightweight quality of these products make them popular, as they are easy to cut and fasten. Maintenance requires an annual light scrub or power wash depending on your level of use, and a clear preservative finish every three to four years to maintain the rich natural color. The cost can be three to five more times expensive than its pressure treated counterpart.
- Tropical Hardwoods: These woods are new to the decking industry, coming from Africa, South America, and other faraway tropical areas. Tropicals are extremely dense, hard, and heavy. So much so, that it is impossible to drive a nail or screw through the material without first boring a pilot hole. Like Redwood and Cedar, tropical hardwoods are naturally resistant to the elements. This product is virtually maintenance free, only requiring an occasional light washing and a clear coat if desired. This material is the most expensive wood option and its availability is limited due to the fact that you can only find it online.
PLASTIC DECK PRODUCTS
Plastic materials typically consist of two major choices: Composite or Plastic. These textiles became popular because of their low maintenance appeal. While more expensive than wood decking, the overall value can be found in the durability.
- Composite Decking: Brand names such as Trex and Veranda have become very popular over the last decade. The product consists primarily of wood fibers and recycled plastic. Deck boards are weather and stain resistant that won’t warp, rot, or splinter. Maintenance consists of an occasional scrubbing with soapy water. Composite decking is limited when looking at color selection, with only a brown, tan, and gray option. Though most manufacturers offer a fade resistant line, this product will fade from constant sunlight exposure.
- Plastic Decking: Brand names include Azek Deck. This textile is 100% plastic…recycled and/or virgin. There aren’t any wood fibers or fillers. Just like composite decking it is stain resistant and will not splinter or warp. The draw to plastic deck boards is that the boards come in a variety of sizes, which can create a fantastic custom look. The downside is that due to the custom sizing, the installation is typically part of a system that has to be purchased and professionally installed. And we all know, that comes with a price tag attached to it!
So think of what is important to your lifestyle when choosing a deck material for your Maronda Home. With such a variety of products available, you should be able to get the look, feel, and price that you your desire!