How To Choose The Best Decking Material For Your Deck

How To Choose The Best Decking Material For Your Deck


When it comes to building a deck, selecting the right decking material can make all the difference. A well-chosen material not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space but also ensures durability and longevity.

But with countless options available in the market, it can quickly become overwhelming to determine which one is best suited for your needs. In this article, we will delve into the world of decking materials and provide you with valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

Importance of Choosing the Right Decking Material

Choosing the right decking material is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it directly impacts the overall look and feel of your deck. The material you choose should harmonize with your home’s architectural style and blend seamlessly with its surroundings.

Whether you prefer a rustic or contemporary aesthetic, there’s a perfect decking material waiting to transform your outdoor space. Secondly, durability is key when it comes to decks.

A well-constructed deck should withstand constant exposure to various weather conditions without deteriorating or losing its structural integrity over time. Choosing a high-quality decking material ensures that your deck will stand strong against rain, sun, wind, and other elements without requiring frequent repairs or replacements.

Moreover, safety is paramount when enjoying an outdoor space like a deck. The right decking material should offer slip resistance to prevent accidents during wet conditions or around pool areas where water splashing may occur frequently.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Decking Material

Selecting the ideal decking material involves considering several important factors that align with your specific requirements:

  1. Budget: determine how much you are willing to invest in your new deck as different materials come at varying price points.
  1. Climate and Environmental Factors: Assess the weather conditions in your area. Consider elements such as moisture, heat, UV rays, and pests that your deck will be exposed to.
  2. Maintenance Requirements: Consider the time and effort you are willing to invest in maintaining your deck.

Some materials require more regular maintenance compared to others.

  1. Aesthetics: Determine the desired look and feel of your deck.

Do you prefer a natural wood grain or a modern composite finish? Take into account color options, textures, and customization possibilities.

  1. Specific Use Cases: Evaluate any specific needs or requirements based on how you plan to use your deck. For instance, if it will be near a pool or in coastal areas, water resistance or saltwater resistance might be essential factors to consider.

Considering these factors will help narrow down the options and guide you towards selecting the best decking material that meets both your practical needs and design preferences. Now let’s dive deeper into some of the most popular decking materials available today.

Overview of Common Decking Materials

Wood Decking

Hardwood vs Softwood

When it comes to wood decking, you’ll encounter two main categories: hardwood and softwood. Hardwood, as the name suggests, is derived from trees with higher density and typically offers superior durability. Some popular hardwood species used for decking include Ipe, Cumaru, and Tigerwood.

These woods are known for their exceptional resistance to rot, insects, and decay. On the other hand, softwoods like Cedar and Redwood are less dense but still widely used due to their natural beauty and affordability.

Pros and Cons of Wood Decking

Wood decking has been a classic choice for centuries, offering various advantages that make it appealing to homeowners. One major benefit is its natural aesthetic appeal; wood decks exude warmth and elegance that can enhance any outdoor space.

Additionally, wood is a renewable resource if harvested responsibly, making it an environmentally friendly choice. However, there are some drawbacks to consider before opting for wood decking.

The primary disadvantage lies in its maintenance requirements; regular staining or sealing is necessary to protect the wood from weathering elements such as rain and UV rays. Moreover, wood decks are susceptible to splintering over time, requiring periodic sanding or refinishing.

Popular Wood Species for Decks

When choosing the right wood species for your deck, several factors come into play – appearance, durability, availability, and budget being among them. Ipe (also known as Brazilian Walnut) is highly regarded for its exceptional hardness and resistance to scratches or splintering.

Cumaru boasts similar qualities but at a more affordable price point. Alternatively, if you seek a softer option with natural resistance against decay and insects along with distinct reddish tones that age gracefully over time – Cedar or Redwood might be the perfect fit for your deck.

Composite Decking

Composition and Manufacturing Process

Composite decking is a popular alternative to traditional wood, created by combining wood fibers or sawdust with recycled plastic materials. The manufacturing process involves mixing these components with binding agents and color pigments before extruding them into deck boards. This process allows for a wide range of designs, textures, and colors that mimic the appearance of real wood.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Composite Decking

Composite decking offers several advantages that make it an attractive choice for many homeowners. Firstly, it requires minimal maintenance compared to wood decking. Once installed, composite decks do not require staining or sealing, making them more time-efficient for busy individuals.

Moreover, composite materials are resistant to rotting, splintering, and insect infestations. However, there are some drawbacks to consider when opting for composite decking.

One notable disadvantage is the potential for fading over time due to prolonged exposure to UV rays. Additionally, while composite decking is generally more durable than wood, it can still be prone to scratching and staining from certain substances such as grease or oil if not promptly cleaned.

When choosing between wood and composite decking materials for your outdoor space, it’s essential to weigh their respective pros and cons carefully. Wood decks offer natural beauty but require regular maintenance efforts; hardwoods provide enhanced durability compared to softwoods.

On the other hand, composite decks offer low maintenance requirements but may fade or scratch over time. By considering factors such as budgetary constraints and personal preferences regarding aesthetics and upkeep effort, you can make an informed decision that suits your needs best.

Niche Decking Materials Worth Exploring

Bamboo Decking

Bamboo decking is gaining popularity due to its unique characteristics and sustainability. As a rapidly renewable resource, bamboo is an eco-friendly option for decking.

Its remarkable strength-to-weight ratio makes it highly durable, outperforming many traditional wood decking options. Additionally, bamboo has a beautiful natural appearance that can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your deck.

One of the major advantages of bamboo decking is its resistance to moisture and pests. Bamboo contains natural oils that make it resistant to rot, decay, and insect infestations.

This means less worry about termites munching on your deck or water damage compromising its structural integrity. However, it’s important to note that proper installation and sealing are vital to ensure the full benefits of bamboo decking.

On the flip side, there are a few limitations to consider when opting for bamboo decking. While it’s highly durable, it can be susceptible to scratching if not properly maintained.

Regular cleaning and resealing will help prevent this issue and maintain the beauty of your deck over time. Additionally, bamboo may have limited color options compared to other materials if you’re seeking a more customized look.

PVC Decking

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) decking offers an alternative solution with its synthetic composition and durability. Made from a combination of plastic resin and wood fibers, PVC decking provides excellent resistance against moisture-related issues such as rotting or warping.

It also stands up well against harsh weather conditions, including UV rays that can fade colors over time. Maintenance requirements for PVC decking are relatively low compared to other materials since it doesn’t require sealing or staining like wood alternatives do.

With PVC boards’ impervious nature, regular cleaning with mild soap and water will suffice in keeping your deck looking pristine year after year. However, one aspect of PVC decking to consider is its initial cost.

PVC decking tends to be pricier than traditional wood options. Nevertheless, it’s essential to weigh this upfront expense against the long-term expenses saved in maintenance, as PVC decks generally require fewer repairs and replacements over time.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Decking Material

Budgetary Considerations

When determining the ideal decking material for your project, budgetary considerations play a significant role. While hardwoods like cedar or redwood may have a higher initial cost, they can last for several decades with proper care and maintenance. On the other hand, composite and PVC decking materials may have a higher upfront price but require minimal ongoing upkeep over their lifespan.

It’s crucial to evaluate your long-term expenses alongside the initial investment when selecting your decking material. Take into account factors such as maintenance costs, potential repairs or replacements down the line, and how long you plan on staying in your current home.

Climate and Environmental Factors

Considering the climate and environmental conditions where you live is imperative for choosing a suitable decking material. Moisture resistance is crucial in regions with high humidity or frequent rainfall since excessive moisture can lead to rotting, mold growth, and structural damage over time. UV resistance is another aspect worth considering if you live in an area with intense sun exposure.

Some materials fade or become discolored when exposed to prolonged sunlight. Additionally, if you reside in an area prone to pest infestations such as termites or carpenter ants, selecting a material that naturally repels these insects will provide peace of mind.

Maintenance Requirements

Decking materials vary greatly in terms of maintenance requirements. Natural wood decks typically need regular staining or sealing every few years to protect them from moisture damage and UV rays. Composite or PVC decks generally require less upkeep since they are engineered for durability and don’t require staining or sealing.

Consider the time, effort, and costs associated with the maintenance of different materials. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance option that will save you time and money in the long run, composite or PVC decking may be a more suitable choice.


The appearance of your deck is another crucial factor to consider. Different materials offer various color options, textures, and customization possibilities.

Wood decking provides a natural beauty with its unique grain patterns and warm tones. Composite decking often imitates the look of wood but offers a wider range of colors and finishes.

PVC decking can provide a sleek and modern aesthetic with crisp lines and contemporary color options. Carefully consider your desired aesthetic outcome when choosing your decking material to ensure it complements your home’s style, as well as your personal preferences.

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Dreaming of that perfect deck to soak up the sun or host BBQ nights? We totally get it. Our team crafts decks that are both gorgeous and durable. Give us a shout, and let’s make your backyard the talk of the neighborhood!

Additional Considerations for Specific Use Cases

Poolside Decks

For poolside decks, slip resistance is paramount to ensure safety. Look for materials specifically designed to have a textured surface that reduces the risk of slips when wet.

Additionally, water resistance is crucial to prevent damage caused by constant exposure to moisture. Consider heat absorption properties since certain materials can become uncomfortably hot in direct sunlight.

Rooftop Decks

When building rooftop decks, weight restrictions are significant due to structural limitations. Materials like composite or PVC tend to be lighter than traditional wood while still providing durability.

Fire resistance is also essential for rooftop decks from both a safety standpoint and adherence to local building codes. Wind uplift resistance should also be considered since rooftop decks are exposed to higher winds at elevated heights.

Coastal Areas

Coastal areas present unique challenges due to exposure to saltwater and increased risk of corrosion. Choosing materials specifically engineered for saltwater resistance will help prevent premature deterioration. Additionally, opting for corrosion-resistant fasteners and hardware is essential to ensure the longevity of your deck in coastal environments.


Choosing the best decking material for your deck requires careful consideration of various factors. From budgetary concerns and environmental conditions to maintenance requirements and aesthetic preferences, each element plays a role in finding the ideal option.

By understanding these aspects and exploring niche materials like bamboo decking or PVC, you can make an informed decision that suits your needs while contributing to a beautiful and durable outdoor space. Remember, investing in high-quality materials upfront will ultimately save you time, effort, and money in the long run, allowing you to enjoy your deck for years to come with peace of mind.

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