As summer approaches the need for a deck is becoming more important than it has been all year. But there are many factors that go into choosing which deck material is right for you. Factors such as cost, material, and how much effort you will have to put into maintaining it all greatly affect the type of deck you will end up with.
There are certain things you have to consider when deciding which type of decking material is right for you. For instance, you have to think about how much maintenance is required for the type of decking that you’re considering. Will it be able to make it through winter? What material do you want, wood, PVC, metal? How often are you willing to clean it vs how often the material you’re considering needs to be cleaned? Will it attract or repel bugs? Will it be hot when you step on it with bare feet? Is it slip resistant? etc…
Another main question that might be forgotten is how will the deck material complement your house. You not only want a decking material that will last but you also want it to look good with your house. Due to that fact it can make the search for your perfect material a bit easier but there are still so many factors that go into deciding which type of the decking material to choose.
Wood deck materials are much more diverse than decks made out of other materials; there is pressurized wood, different parts of the tree where you can get wood from, and hundreds if not thousands of different tree types you could use for your deck.
Something to know about wood decking is that there are two types of lumber you can use for them: sapwood and heartwood. Sapwood is the outer rim of the tree where water passes throughout the roots and allows the trees to grow. The other type of wood is known as heartwood which is the center of the tree. Sapwood is around half the price of heartwood because heartwood is much denser, dryer, and stronger than sapwood.
There are many types of wood to choose from but a safe option to go with if you wanted wood would be redwood or cedar. For redwood decking the cost of sapwood is around $17 per square foot (all prices are subject to change, especially in 2021!) whereas the cost of heartwood is closer to the price range of $30-$35 per square foot.
Real wood decks have been known to attract bugs. However, as long as the lumber has been pressure treated bugs won’t be an issue for your deck. Something to think about when considering using pressure-treated wood is that the cost per square foot is higher than non-pressure treated due to the cost of additional processing. However, it might be worth the investment in the initial purchase because the maintenance costs of the non pressurized wood could end up being more expensive.
Cedar decking is especially good regarding bug resistance because it’s naturally bug proof but it usually doesn’t last as long. One downside to wood porches however is the fact that in the hot summer weather it will burn your feet if you walk on it.
Plastic (PVC or Composite)
Another type of deck material you should consider getting is composite or its close cousin PVC. These are the two main types of plastic decking materials.
Composite decking is a mixture of recycled plastic and wood dust. PVC decking however is made completely of plastic with no wood byproduct added to it. Composite and PVC are especially nice due to the fact that they take very little to no maintenance. Both types of decks are very resistant and don’t weather very easily. Because they are mostly plastic they’re easy to clean, won’t splinter, won’t rot, and won’t attract bugs.
Composite and PVC also allow for a variety of choices regarding design, color, and texture. Another bonus about PVC and composite decking is that it won’t burn your feet when you step on it barefoot in warm weather.
Composite decking is priced around $45-$55 per square foot and PVC ends up costing about $5-$13 per square foot. Even if the company you buy from ends up pricing the PVC/composite at more than the wood prices, it might be worth the investment because of all of the benefits they provide compared to wood. You should also consider that with PVC and composite you could make it look like the wood you like best or at least have a similar look to it.
The final option for the type of deck material you could get is aluminum decking. Aluminum decking is 100% recyclable and provides better slip resistance than any other type of decking. It doesn’t attract any bugs, is very good at resisting color fading and scratches, and won’t burn your feet on hot summer days as long as it is powder coated, which minimally affects the price of the porch. The deck is completely recyclable meaning that when you’re done with it, it’s able to be repurposed and won’t negatively impact the environment.
Similar to composite decking, aluminum decking is able to be colored, designed, and textured in almost any way. Aluminum decking can cost anywhere from $10-$35 per square foot depending on where you purchase it. A few more bonuses about purchasing aluminum decking are that it won’t give you splinters, the design won’t chip away, and it can be designed however you want it to look so it closely matches the look of your house.
Ultimately the choice is really up to you regarding which decking material you want. It all just depends on what you’re looking for in terms of texture, color, looks, sustainability and price.
If your deck needs help, whether that be repair or complete replacement, contact us. We’ll provide a free, no-hassle quote so you can get your deck ready to use as soon as possible. Don’t miss the good grilling weather and family time.