Learn About the Different Types of Decking Material

A deck is a flat surface capable of supporting the weight, similar to a floor, but typically constructed outdoors, often higher from the ground, and usually connected to a building. Decks can be used in a number of ways but normally are designed to extend living areas of houses and as an alternative to stone based features such as patios. Now is the time to start building your deck, but there are many products that could be used as decking material. Which is the right one? Let’s go over several products that you might want to consider as your decking material.

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Types of Decking Material: Redwood and Cedar

redwood deck
Photo © Gold Beach Real Estate

Redwood and cedar are two similar types of decking material. Both of them offer great durability and provide superior insect resistance and the wood will not decay that easily. Redwood and cedar are fire resistant decking material and are easy to seal, stain and/or paint. Redwood especially will absorb almost any type of finished really will lasting at least 20 years.

Both wood materials are subject to marring and denting although they provide a beautiful decking surface. It is recommended to wash the wood at least once a year so it can extend the life of the product even more. These decking materials should cost you about $3-$4 per square foot, and add a couple more for the installation or labor pricing.

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Types of Decking Material: Pressure Treated

treated wood deck
Photo © bgottsab

Pressure treated wood is ideal for places with high humidity or decks that will be directly in contact with the ground. Pressure treated wood will be protected against insects and it will not swell, split or wrap if maintain properly. It is recommended that this decking material shall be protected with a lumber preservative to reduce shrinkage, every year so it will last longer. It can last over 30 years when maintained adequately, and it will cost you between $1.50 and $3 per square foot.

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Types of Decking Material: Wood and Plastic Composite

composite deck
Photo © Morticide

Composite materials are playing a larger role as decking material over the last decade. Due to several benefits, homeowners and contractors are choosing composite materials as they could provide you with the elegance of wood but don’t rot, shrink, or splinter like real wood. Another important factor is that it could be manufactured in different colors and textures, and the also reducing their maintenance cost.

Composite materials can be cleaned easily and do not need to be painted yearly, although some darker colors may show weathering throughout the years. Now if you decide to use a composite as your decking material you should know that it will cost more than other traditional materials. It is estimated that composite decking material could be around $5 per square foot, without the installation cost.

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Types of Decking Material: Metal

Metal decking could be the right way to go when considering an upper-level deck. Metal decking material is manufactured in several colors and it is best when installed over large spans. Metal decking forms an interlocking surface creating a watertight surface ideal on upper-level decks.

It is recommended to wash the metal surface at least once a month to protect and avoid water ponding on the surface. It could be affected by extreme temperatures and darker colors will also be affected when exposed to the sun over a long period of time. It could cost you over $7 per square foot, material only, but will last longer when compared to other decking alternatives.

There are also many other such as vinyl, PVC or plastic based decking, and new materials that are being introduce every day, but lastly, it will be a cost and life cycle decision.