OUTDOOR DECK MATERIAL
Outdoor Decks aren’t what they were in years past. There are countless options for today’s consumer. With dozens of species of wood, composites, and composite hybrids, how does todays consumer know which outdoor deck material is best suited for them?
There are pros and cons to each material, making it a tough choice when choosing a material for your outdoor deck. Whether you’re still in design mode or planning on breaking ground this weekend it pays to understand your options. Here is a list of four basic options, each with its own benefits, look, price, and durability.
Pressure Treated Decks – The Budget Friendly Choice
Pressure Treated Decks are hands down the most affordable option when considering an outdoor deck material. Most of your local hardware stores stock this material making it readily available. A Simple online search at Lowes and Home Depot prices 5/4 X 6 Standard Treated Decking around 60 cents per Linear Foot. Most pressure treated decking is milled from yellow pine. It is then chemically treated to resist rot, fungus, and insects. Installation is also easy as it is a soft wood that accepts screws or nails very well.
The downside to using Pressure Treated Decking is that it is softwood. This material will crack and shrink over time, making routine maintenance a must. Annual deep cleaning and staining is advisable to keep this product looking its best.
Cedar Decks –
Affordable, Durable, and naturally Beautiful is what makes choosing Cedar a great option for your outdoor deck material. This native softwood contains tannins and oils that naturally resist rot, decay, and insects. Cedar decking is a great choice for those looking for an affordable yet beautiful outdoor deck. Award winning builder Premier Deck & Patios, LP uses Cedar for the majority of their outdoor wood decks. “Cedar decking is not only beautiful, but offers our clients an affordable option for a great product.”
To maintain the natural beauty of this wood it is recommended that stain be applied. Yearly maintenance is encouraged, but those that like a more rustic look can forego the stain allowing the wood to turn into a grey-silver color.
Hardwood Decks –
Ipe, Tigerwood, Cumuru, Massaranduba are just a couple of hardwood species used for outdoor decking. These are exotic or tropical hardwoods rich in character, extremely dense, and naturally resistant to decay, rot, and insects. I recently saw a video of a girl using a piece of Ipe (Iron Wood) decking as a ramp for her car. It's worth a look if your considering this material.
Hands down these exotics offer more for those looking for a truly unique outdoor deck, but with a price tag starting at $4.00 per Linear Foot, they aren’t for the faint of heart.
Composite Decks –
Composite Decking is the fastest growing industry in the outdoor realm. With dozens of companies manufacturing every thing from 100% plastic, to combinations of saw dust and plastics; the consumer today has countless options to choose from.
Trex, Timbertech, Fiberon, and Azek Deck are just a couple of companies making composites readily available for consumers. For a green alternative, composite decking is definitely a great option. Some claim they are maintenance free; however Premier Deck & Patios, LP has a different opinion. “ Composite Decking is susceptible to mold and mildew, especially in shady damp areas. There is no true maintenance free outdoor deck."
With more and more companies manufacturing composite decking, prices are getting more and more affordable. Local big box stores are even stocking some brands of composites making it very accessible for the DIY family. With a price tag starting around $2.00 per linear foot new composite wont exactly break the bank.
As you already know there are a ton of outdoor deck material options. If you decide to build your own deck or hire a professional learn the basics of whatever material your are considering. Until next time, this is The Patio Man reminding you that Life is Truly Better Served Outside.