Wood and Composite Decking

Wood and Composite Decking

Like any major home purchase, decking materials vary in looks, durability, and cost. Start your research and become familiar with types of authentic and synthetic decking. Also, you might want to use some types of lumber or decking for structural parts of your deck project, and other decking timber for surfaces and railings – the parts on which you will walk and actually see.

Learn about the materials most widely used to construct a residential deck, including the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

Wood

Wood is the original and traditional material used for decks.

Pros of Wood Decking:

  • Has a natural warmth
  • Smells good
  • Looks natural
  • Some types of wood, often softwoods, can be among the most inexpensive decking material available

Cons of Wood Decking:

  • Hardwoods can be expensive
  • Unmaintained wood can split, crack and change color
  • Availability and price are determined by region

Composite

Also known as wood-polymer composites, wood alternatives or synthetic decking, the composite has quickly become the fastest-growing decking material for residential use in the past dozen years. Composite decking is an environmentally friendly lumber alternative that combines plastic and wood fiber.

Pros of Composite Decking:

  • Weather resistant
  • Stain resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Won’t splinter or rot
  • Low maintenance

Cons of Composite Decking:

  • Some look obviously fake or cheap
  • Some brands can be slippery
  • Not resistant to mold and mildew, especially in shade
  • Eventually shows signs of age and decay
  • Tend to sag and bend more than wood

Pressure-Treated Wood

Less durable woods should be preserved. This makes them more resistant to the elements, rot, and insects.

Pros of Pressure-Treated Wood Decking:

  • Cheap
  • More available than wood in some areas
  • Good for surface decking and structural parts

Cons of Pressure-Treated Wood Decking:

  • Unnatural color
  • Warps or bends easily

Plastic

High-density plastic lumber (PL) is made from recycled polyethylene plastic. This means your old milk, water and juice containers and detergent and shampoo bottles may be recycled into the plastic lumberthat is used to construct your deck.

Pros of Plastic Decking:

  • Weather resistant
  • Does not need to be stained
  • Lightweight
  • Eco, recycled, green
  • Easy to clean, using a hose or mop

Cons of Plastic Decking:

  • Requires more substructure compared to wood decking
  • Colors and texture don’t always resemble wood

Aluminum

There are lots of good reasons why aluminum is a near-perfect decking material: it is weather resistant, will not rot or decay. It does not burn, either. It is too bad aluminum is so expensive. Looks-wise, you really will not mistake aluminum for a plank of teak or redwood.

Pros of Aluminium Decking:

  • Tough and strong
  • Slip-resistant
  • Color lasts indefinitely
  • Textured finish
  • Stays cool
  • Will not rot, splinter or warp, like other decking lumber
  • Fireproof
  • Recyclable

Cons of Aluminium Decking:

  • Most expensive decking
  • Does not resemble wood