Start by Setting Clear Goals
It’s good to choose your deck building material before the design stage to narrow down your options and set some expectations. This post will present some popular picks from deck owners. But first, ask yourself some questions:
- What’s the weather like in your area?
- How often will you be on the deck?
- What’s your price range?
- Is there a particular look you want?
- How much maintenance is too much for you?
Asking these types of questions will make choosing significantly easier. Purchasing certain building materials could feel perfect for some but regretful for others.
For example, concrete is an ideal low-maintenance decking option in a shady area. But in a typically hot backyard, this will lead to cracking concrete and hot bare feet. To help you choose a suitable decking option, we’ve gathered common deck types and provided brief descriptions of each.
Types of Decking Materials
If you plan on having frequent pool parties, or if the build location is in water, consider choosing aluminum. You can set it and forget it because of aluminum’s low maintenance demand and long lifetime. Contrary to popular belief, aluminum decks will not rust or hold heat, and they’re incredibly water-resistant.
Unfortunately, these metal decks come at a much higher cost. Aluminum decks also feel different under bare feet and aren’t as attractive as a wood deck for some. If money is no issue, aluminum decks can avoid drawbacks such as wood pests, splintering, and fading found in other materials.
Concrete’s drastic pros and cons make this choice extremely situational. For starters, it’s not a great building material for non-shaded hot areas, as concrete absorbs heat. Long-time heat exposure will lead to your concrete cracking over time, which may require digging up entire sections for repairs.
Despite its relatively high repair cost, it’s easy to keep clean due to the decking option’s low day-to-day maintenance. Since concrete is poured and dried, it offers more versatile color and design choices than other materials.
Because of its nearly immortal environmental impact, some buyers will reject the idea of plastic decking options, but for those who won’t, read on.
First, plastic is a highly weather-resistant and durable material that won’t crack or rot away. It requires little maintenance, is easy to clean, and comes in many colors. You can even use recycled plastic for a more ethically sourced build.
But plastic comes with drawbacks. Plastic decks turn some buyers away due to their unnatural appearance. Quality will vary depending on your provider, so you’ll have to invest more time researching multiple sources before deciding.
Natural wood is the ideal choice for traditionalists and is, arguably, the most appealing to view. But this material is prone to sun damage and deck-destroying pests. Wooden decks also require frequent maintenance to compensate for poor weather resistance and shorter lifespans.
Different types of wood materials exist, each with its strengths and weaknesses, such as:
- More resistant to rotting, warping, and weathering
- Cheaper to make
- Less environmentally friendly
- Not as appealing to naturalists due to preservatives
- Requires regular waterproofing and staining to maintain a natural color
- Very high-class look
- Naturally weather-resistant
- Requires regular care to prevent problems like splitting
Composite decking is an excellent way to achieve a natural wooden look without the drawbacks. This building material is a mix of plastic and wood. While it will cost you more upfront, its high durability and low maintenance mean you’ll save more in the long run.
Composite decking is kinder to the environment than standard PVC decking, and you won’t have to worry about warping. It’s also more resistant to weather and water damage and has a long lifespan. The only con for composite wood is its unnatural appearance, which can turn away some buyers.
It depends on your wants and surroundings, but composite decks are generally the best options for their durability, low maintenance, and long lifetime. As time goes on, they’ll more closely resemble real wooden decks.
Speak to a Specialist
Whether you’re looking to hire or take the DIY route, we recommend speaking to a specialist throughout the planning process to understand what you’re doing. If you’re looking for handypersons in Clarksville, TN, our specialists at GHR Handyman are more than happy to help. Call (931) 645-0382 today to get started!