A new deck can add value to your home, with homeowners being able to recoup between 63-68% of its value. How much value you regain depends a lot on the type of material your deck is made from. A wood deck yields a higher value, while one made from composite materials comes in slightly lower.
Choosing the right deck material for your outdoor space depends on more things than how much the value of your home will increase. You want to select a material that makes your deck feel like an extension of your home. There are other factors to consider, like maintenance.
This guide will discuss how to select the right deck materials for your project. Building a new deck is a major investment. Take the time to make the right decision for your space.
Composite Decking Material
Composite decking is comprised of various materials. Some of these elements include:
- Wood fibers
- High-density polyethylene
- Low-density polyethylene
- Rice hulls
The most common combination of materials is low-density polyethylene and wood fibers. The materials get molded into long deck boards. Popular brands of composite decking include:
Pros of a Composite Deck
There are multiple advantages to using composite decking. Some of these benefits are:
- Virtually maintenance free
- Won’t rot, cup, warp, or splinter
- Don’t need staining or sanding
- Multiple color options are available
You can also find handrails, fascias, and balusters that match the composite decking that you choose.
Cons of a Composite Deck
While there are more pros to choosing composite decking than there are cons, there are a few things to keep in mind. These risks include:
- More expensive than other options
- The boards are heavy
- Mildew and mold can grow
- Some composite blends might decay if it contains wood
Pressure-treated wood is one of the top choices for a wood deck. Most pressure-treated wood is made from southern yellow pine. It gets chemically treated so it can resist:
- Wood-boring bugs
Pressure-treated wood is softer than other types. That makes it easier for a deck builder to work with.
Pros of Pressure-Treated Wood
Pressure-treated wood is one of the most affordable types of wood you can pick for your deck. In addition to being cost-effective, some of the other advantages are:
- Widespread availability
- Easy to stain
- Improved durability
- Great to work with
Cons of Pressure-Treated Wood
It’s important to note that extra precautions need to be taken if you work with pressure-treated wood. You’ll need to wear a mask when drilling or sawing the wood. That’s due to the chemicals that have been injected into the planks.
Other disadvantages of pressure-treated wood are:
- Wood needs to weather before you stain it
- High maintenance
- Can warp or crack over time
- Limited appearances
Cedar and Redwood
Western softwoods are another popular choice for decking materials. People choose these types of wood because of their natural beauty and vibrant colors. They’re also not injected with preservatives and chemicals.
Different grades of redwood and cedar are used for decks. Most people choose B-grade redwood. This type of redwood doesn’t include a lot of knots since it’s taken from the center of the tree.
Pros of Cedar and Redwood
There are numerous benefits of using solid wood. These include:
- Gorgeous color options
- Durable yet lightweight
- Naturally occurring tannins and oils are resistant to insects and rot
Cons of Cedar and Redwood
Cedar and redwood decks aren’t as low maintenance as composite decks. However, they’re not as high-maintenance as pressure-treated wood. Other factors to keep in mind if you’re thinking about choosing solid wood include:
- Color may fade over time
- High price point
- Needs resealing and staining every few years
- Lifespan is around 15 years
Another term for plastic deck material is vinyl decking. It’s a synthetic deck material that’s made from polyethylene and (polyvinyl chloride) PVC. There aren’t any wood binders with this type of decking like there are with composite wood.
There are more aesthetic options with plastic decking than there are with wood decking material. The color options you can explore include:
- Wood-grain patterns
Pros of Plastic Decking
PVC decking has evolved in recent years. It’s more lightweight than other decking materials. It makes it easy for deck builders to maneuver, especially if your deck is high off the ground.
Additional benefits of plastic decking are:
- Minimal cleaning
- Doesn’t need staining or sanding
- Easy to cut
Cons of Plastic Decking
While you can check out styles of plastic decking that mimic wood grain, it looks less like natural wood than composite decking does. Other disadvantages of working with PVC deck materials are:
- Can get slippery when wet
- Might sag since it’s a flexible material
- More costly upfront
- Less recycled materials than other decking options
Aluminum isn’t a common deck material. You might think that an aluminum deck could get sizzling during the summer. An aluminum deck stays cooler than other types of decking materials because it has heat-dissipation properties.
You might want to explore an aluminum deck if you live in an area that might encounter extreme weather. This includes major storms and wildfires.
Pros of Aluminum Decks
There are a lot of benefits to choosing an aluminum deck. These pros include:
- Won’t crack, warp, splinter, or rot
- Mold and weather-resistant
- Won’t catch on fire
- Easy to take care of
- More lightweight than wood materials
Cons of Aluminum Decks
There’s no way to dress aluminum up so it’ll look like a wood deck. If a natural deck is important to you, you’ll want to explore another option. Additional disadvantages of aluminum decks are:
- Limited color options
Find the Best Deck Material for Your Home
Choosing which deck material you want to go with can be overwhelming. There are multiple types to choose from, each with its advantages and disadvantages. An experienced deck designer can listen to your preferences and concerns, helping you choose the right option that meets your needs.
Diamond Decks is the leading deck builder in San Antonio, Texas. Get in touch with our office to schedule a consultation with our team.