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7 Popular Decking Material Types

Wooden Deck

Although decks can have many purposes, the main purpose of the deck is to extend the living area of the home, add more usable space, security and comfort. Looking to build a deck or upgrade your current one? The next step is to pick the type of decking material to use for your project. Until recently the only material options were cedar and redwood, but there are so many more types of material available today! Here's a look at your top options:

  • Pressure-Treated: Pressure-treated deck materials are very popular because they are perfect for places with high exposure to moisture and are very cost-effective. The materials come pre-treated to protect against dry rot, termites, and insects. The main downside to pressure-treated wood is that, in the past, it contained arsenic which is hazardous to your health. Since 2004 a different anti-rot treatment is used in it – copper, which can only be hazardous to your health if it is burned.
  • Cedar: Nothing can beat the natural charm and character of real wood. Cedar deck material naturally looks beautiful, is easy to work with, and is inexpensive. If you were thinking about installing cedar decking by yourself, purchase only darker colored “heartwood common”. All other materials are not very durable and can develop rot very quickly. Cedar decks can last up to 15 – 20 years, but they require regular maintenance and refinishing every year.
  • Redwood: Contrary to the cedar deck material, redwood is quite expensive. It’s also very durable and easy to work with. If you are thinking about redwood as your deck material, choose only high-grade material. High-quality materials will last for a long time. Stay away from the light-colored sapwood that can decay quickly when exposed to different weather elements. Darker-colored redwood is naturally resistant to decaying and rotting. Redwood too, can last for up to 15-20 years if properly maintained. Both cedar and redwood decking materials provide natural beauty and durability for years. They are fire-resistant and are easy to maintain. Cedar and redwood decks can be cleaned and washed annually, and this will help them last for a long time. They both require regular annual sealing, staining, and painting or staining to extend their longevity.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl or PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) is a new deck material that is quickly becoming very popular. t’s generally maintenance-free and does not contain wood. It’s often supplemented with a 25-year warranty and comes in many color varieties.
  • Composite: Composite decking materials also require very little maintenance and come in a variety of colors and textures. It looks very similar to real wood. Composite planks can also be bent with specific heating equipment and made into a variety of designs, making them more versatile when compared to other decking materials. This decking material is becoming more and more popular over the years as it provides similar charm to real wood materials. It doesn’t develop rot, does not shrink, and can last a lot longer if properly maintained. The composite deck needs to be maintained and cleaned and washed every 3 to 4 years to prevent the internal wood components in it from developing mold. You can paint it to avoid weathering that might develop over the years.  Composite deck material can be quite expensive, but it is a very good investment for a long-term deck option. Premium composite decking material can last up to 25 years and often comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Ipe: Ipe is a beautiful hardwood that is very durable and resistant to rot, it is imported from Brazil, mostly. It does need annual sealing and some cleaning. If well taken care of, it can last up to 25-years and even longer. It is a very dense material which makes it hard to work with.
  • Metal: If you are thinking about building a deck on an upper level then metal deck material is a good choice. Metal decking material also comes in a variety of colors.

It needs to be cleaned and washed at least once a month. If exposed to the sun for a long period of time it might lose its color and can be affected by hot weather temperatures, but it is still very durable and will last much longer than other decking materials. This explains its high cost, which can also be considered as an investment into your home. If you are looking to build a beautiful deck and are not sure what material will work best for you, call Good Life Construction today on (916) 833-1379 and we will help you to make the right choice!

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