Modern Deck Dilemma: The Pros & Cons of Different Decking Materials
Where do you begin when shopping for decking materials that can work with your deck?
Be it product lifespan, or choosing the right material there are several ways to go about shopping for a modern deck.
There is no single answer as it relates to what solution will work best for you but you can certainly narrow down the options as you begin researching.
Below we’ve outlined some considerations to account for, let’s begin.
Wood Material #1: Pine
This is the most common material used in roughly 85 percent of single-family homes.
Out of this 85 percent, the majority tend to be treated pine. Yellow pine is a common form of pine used in this industry.
A material like yellow pine is relatively inexpensive, and treated lumber looks very good for the purpose of a deck.
If you stain the pine, it can then be refinished easily as it weathers over time. Ideally, you will be getting 15 to 18 years of solid life out of a pinewood deck.
Wood Material #2: Redwood
Redwood decks look awesome. However, redwood comes in different grades so that is a factor to be aware of.
Regarding the grade, this is based on which part of the tree the wood came from.
Usually, the most sought-after portion of the tree is located near the center or heart. For example, “construction heart” material can be the best type of redwood material to use in a deck.
The great thing about this type of wood is that it can last easily over 30 years.
Wood Material #3: Cedar
Cedar also works quite well for a decking material.
Similar to redwood, pay attention to the grade of the wood as designations like “custom clear” and “architect clear” tend to be the best grade options. Again, the center of the tree is the most desirable location to source from.
For color options, cedars come in a variety ranging from reds to yellows.
Wood Material #4: Mahogany
A less frequently used deck material, but this one is highly variable depending on location.
Good locations to source mahogany from are: South or Central America, Mexico and the West Indies.
This type of wood is highly resistant to water and insects. Its deep red color can provide a stunning look.
Modern Deck With Wood from the Center
Turns out the center of the tree contains an important element called ‘resins’.
Resins help make the tree less vulnerable to weather and possible damage.
Also, depending on how close together the growth rings are at the center, the wood can have a tighter grain. A tighter grain makes sense as a decking material as that should make the material less susceptible to warping.
Aluminum Deck Materials
If you are considering going with aluminum for your modern deck, be aware it is usually the most expensive option.
Note that aluminum will outlast almost all the alternatives.
Additional benefits of aluminum are its positive impact on the resale value of a house and it is very strong given its lack of weight. This material will also stay cool in the sun while providing a very clean, and modern look.
Plastic Deck Materials
Plastic deck materials use no wood in their construction and come in at roughly 15% more expensive versus composite materials outlined earlier. Plastic offers many of the same characteristics as composite, but they aren’t 100% similar.
Plastic offers a very consistent appearance, that is uniform across the entire structure.
Insects and rot will not be an issue if you choose to install a plastic deck. Also, modern plastic decks are quite good at hiding the screws used to hold it together which helps with the final appearance.
For the area underneath, plastic decks use an interlocking mechanism which helps to seal out and prevent water from dripping when it rains.
Composite Deck Materials
Some people believe that composites offer a deck that will be maintenance free over its lifetime. Unfortunately, this isn’t entirely the case.
Note that composite is a hybrid made partially of both wood, and plastic.
Sometimes an issue can still arise if a portion of the wood is exposed to the elements, it can begin to rot just like a standard wood deck. There are a lot of cheap “knock-off” options on the market where this can be a problem.
Composite decks also may fade over time, especially if you live in a hot and dry climate.
An Environmentally Friendly Option
Some people like the look of the hardwoods, but have concerns regarding its viability for the planet.
It turns out that bamboo can be a great option for a modern deck. And it’s definitely sustainable for the environment.
Bamboo provides a lot of natural beauty and elegance while requiring a similar amount of maintenance versus the other wood types mentioned.
Top Factors to Consider
Here are the most important considerations to make as you begin shopping for your new modern deck:
- Does the material fit your budget and is it available in your area?
- You may need a specialty installer for your new modern deck, and what does that installation cost add up to?
- Maintenance of the new deck and will you be able to maintain yourself versus hiring someone else?
- What is the expected lifespan of the new modern deck you are installing and will you still be in the house by then?
Your new modern deck should provide you and your family with years of enjoyment. To have your questions answered about building materials, maintenance and more check out Decks & Docks Lumber Company.
Start Building Your Modern Deck Now
Aside from being a fabulous addition to your home, the construction of your new modern deck allows you to enjoy all the benefits that an outdoor space has to offer.
Just imagine yourself with this new reading space, or an area to host a dinner party for your friends.
With a delivery area ranging from South Florida to Virginia, log on to Decks & Docks Lumber Co to get your project started.
- About the Author
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Dan has worked for Decks and Docks for over twenty-five years. He managed the original Decks and Docks store in St. Pete, which is our largest store. Dan is simply the best all around. He knows more about this company and our products than probably anyone else. Dan currently works in Sales at our corporate office.