While researching your options, take your time. You may be surprised to find out about a material you had never heard of or considered. Below are a few popular choices.
1. Wood Decking Material
Despite its old age, wood is one of the best decking options because of its natural qualities, strength, ease of installation, and feel. Nevertheless, it also requires cleaning annually, and it is subject to rot, splintering, and warping. The wood will turn gray naturally with time, but you should re-stain it every two to three years to keep it looking its best.
2. Pressure Treated Wood
Almost 75 percent of all new decks use this option today, making it the most popular. Due to the wood's chemical treatment, it has the ability to resist rot, mold, and insects. And because the price tag is low ($1.50 to $2.50 per square foot), people tend to gravitate towards it. There's a lot of it available, and it's fairly straightforward to install.
The cons of using this type of decking material are that it tends to crack and warp over time, and requires regular maintenance to avoid those problems. The wood used to be treated with chromatid copper arsenate, a carcinogen suspected to be present in some pressure treated wood products. Although it was once a toxic substance, it has undergone a chemical treatment that has made it relatively safe for use inside the home today.
3. Tropical Hardwoods
There are tons of tropical hardwoods like ipe and cumaru, among others. Tropic hardwoods are resilient to issues like termites and rot, as well as grainy, hard, and durable.
Their cons are that they are fairly dense, so you'll have trouble drilling holes in them, similar to redwood and cedar. Stains and finishes also don't really work well on tropical hardwood, so if
you decide to add one, make sure it's specially formulated for tropical hardwood. As with cedar and redwood, tropical hardwoods become silvery when untainted, so you'll want to apply a UV- blocking wood stain every three to four years if you don't want to stain. Tropical hardwood must be sustainably harvested: Look for species that are sourced from sustainable logging.
4. Redwood and Cedar
The most expensive woods are cedar and redwood-and they're up to three times as expensive as pressure-treated wood. Although these woods are naturally resistant to rot and insects, they can be damaged by foot traffic and should last about 20 years. Redwood and cedar are both lightweight and stiff woods. The hardest and most wear-resistant cedar is Port Orford Cedar, the lighter-colored variety.
Both cedar and redwood are members of the same genus, so they have similar properties. However, cedar is less dense and more flexible than redwood. Cedar also contains less natural oil, which causes it to stain more easily. Compared to redwood forest, cedar is more abundant, making cedar a more eco-friendly and more affordable option.
Redwoods were once prized by collectors for their deep red-brown coloration. Fire-resistant, they are also one of the most popular woods. Excessive logging has reduced the availability of redwood trees, and what's available now is made up of new-growth trees that aren't as strong as the old-growth ones that gave redwood its reputation. Most redwood is sourced from the West Coast, from where it is primarily offered.
Power-wash, sand, and refinish cedar and redwood every three to five years. However, as with all woods, the sun will eventually fade their natural color to gray; to keep the colors from fading, a sun-blocking stain should be used. It is possible to prevent fine splits in wood by applying a
5. Composite Decking Material
It's possible to find composites with a wide variety of natural-seeming hues and grain patterns to make them appear like real wood. Thanks to a built-in UV resistance, these boards are UV resistant and won't splinter.
While composite decking is more expensive, heavier, and requires regular scrubbing to maintain, the amount you end up spending is comparable if you add in the costs of maintaining a wood deck.
Compared to wood, composites are less stiff and respond more rapidly to temperature changes. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing composites. To prevent bumps from erupting around screw heads, use fasteners designed for screwing through the face.
6. Both sides are the same
Having the same texture on both sides of the boards makes installation easier. Monarch has a wood-grain finish on either side, while Trex has a smooth, double-sided finish. Placing the planks in this way means they cannot be put in the wrong direction.
7. Each side has a different texture
Having options is a nice thing. Certification creates smooth and wood-grain surfaces for its Boardwalk decking. TimberTech's TwinFinish is a brushed finish with a textured surface and a vertical grain surface that mimics wood grain. They offer VertiGrain "Earthwood" product.
Underside grooves can make composite decking lighter and stiffer without sacrificing strength. In deck boards with grooved edges, hidden fasteners can be used so that the screws are not visible.
9. Plastic Decking Material
A cellulosic PVC vinyl deck is completely made from environmental safe plastic and contains no wood at all. It will likely last a lifetime and is therefore more durable than composites. As long as you clean it occasionally, it doesn't splinter. The material might look, sound, and feel like wood, but it is not always.
In addition, the pieces of these decks are fastened so they will move as the temperature changes, but they squeak whenever you walk on them.