An outdoor deck will create a comfortable outdoor space that’s perfect for entertaining and relaxing on warm, sunny afternoons. With the right materials, your deck will provide years of outdoor enjoyment for your family.
To create an inviting space, think about how you plan to use your deck. Do you want to cook and dine outdoors, entertain family and friends, or just relax on a lazy summer day. Once you decide how you plan to use your deck, you can choose deck materials that fit your needs and your budget.
Choosing Deck Materials
When choosing deck materials, it’s important to consider your climate and weather conditions, the style of your house, and your budget. There are numerous materials available that offer different appearances, maintenance requirements and price ranges.
If you are a purist at heart, you may lean toward the natural beauty of cedar and redwood, but be prepared to pay more for these materials. Both species contain natural oils and tannins that make them naturally resistant to decay, rot and insects. Although cedar and redwood weather naturally to a soft gray color, you can apply a clear, wood stain to preserve the wood’s natural color.
If you want a unique, exotic look, tropical hardwoods like bamboo, ipe, tigerwood, and Phillipine mahogany provide a richly-grained appearance. Tropical hardwoods are comparable to cedar and redwood in cost, but they are much denser and harder. This contributes to long-term durability and resistance to decay and insects.
With a small budget, consider pressure-treated lumber that’s affordable, readily available, and easy to cut and install. Most pressure-treated lumber is made from yellow pine and chemically treated to resist decay, fungal diseases, and wood-boring insects. For best results, pressure-treated decks should be power washed every year and treated with a wood preservative or stain every two or three years.
Composite decking is made from polyvinyl chloride or polyethylene and comes in a wide range of colors. Composites are extremely weather-resistant, stain-resistant, and will not rot, warp, split or splinter. Most composite decking manufacturers also offer a line of deck balusters, handrails, and decorative trim for finishing touches.