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How to Choose the Right Decking Materials for Your Home

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

A deck is always an excellent addition to your home. It’s a place for both recreation and reflection. Decks are so versatile that you can host a small cocktail party on the weekend or simply lounge by yourself at the end of a grueling workday.

Natural wood is no longer the only option for decking materials. Choose from the list below and see which works best for your home.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Its low price point and ability to withstand rot, mold, and insects make pressure-treated wood a popular choice among homeowners. Today, almost 75 percent of new decks are made of this material.

Maintenance can be an issue since pressure-treated wood is prone to cracks and may warp over time. But if maintained properly through regular washing and sealing, it can last up to 30 years.

Tropical Hardwood

Grainy and durable, tropical hardwood is the material of choice for a truly luxurious-looking deck. Install a picket handrail, and you’ve got yourself a five-star lounge area. But luxury comes at a steep price. Tropical hardwood is two to five times more expensive than pressure-treated wood.

It’s also not suited for DIY projects since it’s a pretty dense wood, making it hard to drill into. Plus, it doesn’t accept common stains or finishes well.


Concrete isn’t a popular decking material since some feel it lacks warmth and character compared to wood, which is a more common option. But when designed and constructed correctly, concrete can give your deck a modern and chic look. It’s easy to clean and doesn’t take much to maintain since concrete doesn’t rot, making it more long-lasting and low maintenance.


A favorite among purists, cedarwood has a deep natural hue and is widely available throughout the country. It’s an ideal material for places with inclement weather because it’s lightweight but strong. Cedar is also resistant to rot and insects because it has tannins and naturally occurring oils, but the price may be an issue for budget-conscious homeowners. Cedarwood will run $3.75 to $5 per square foot.


Much like cedar, redwood is also naturally rot-resistant, but redwood costs more because it can be hard to source, especially in the eastern parts of the United States. It’s usually found in coastal areas, particularly in the West and South.

Redwood is lightweight and has a gorgeous color, but it is also a high-maintenance material. It requires annual power washing and a coat finish every three to four years.


Composites are a mixture of wood fibers and recycled plastics. More and more homeowners opt for composites on their decks because of their durability. They won’t warp, split, or rot that quickly.

Composites require little to no maintenance, but they can be susceptible to mold and mildew, growing on damp spaces. And since they’re artificially created, composites don’t have the texture and deep color of natural wood.

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

Synthetic Lumber

The low-maintenance synthetic lumber will last you a long time, even without staining and sealing. It is made of vinyl, polystyrene, or cellular polyvinyl chloride (PVC), but it requires a good contractor to install since synthetic lumber needs special tools. Note that synthetics cannot be used for structural support; you will need natural woods for this one.


Bluestone is called such because of its naturally blue-grey hue. It’s been quarried in the United States since the 1900s and is a mixture of sand compound and quartz particles. Bluestone is known for its versatility, making it ideal for constructing decks. But expect it to get hot when it’s exposed directly to the sun.


Breathe life into your deck and turn it into a grassy lawn by opting for grass instead of wood. At 8 to 30 cents per square foot, grass is one of the cheaper alternatives. However, regular sun exposure is needed to keep grass healthy and thriving.


Aesthetically, aluminum is an unconventional choice for a deck, but it comes with many benefits. It is durable since it doesn’t rot, is resistant to mold and insects, and won’t crack or warp in the long run. Aluminum is also three to four times lighter and two to three times stronger than wood and composites. The only downside is that it doesn’t come cheap at $11 per square foot.

Each type of decking material has its pros and cons, so choosing the perfect fit will largely depend on your budget, ability to maintain, and aesthetic preferences. Upgrading your home to fit your current needs will require a lot of planning, so it’s always best to consult your contractor or an expert before you hit the home improvement store.

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