Whether replacing an old deck or building a new one, the decking materials matter. Material selection is one of the most important things to consider when building a deck, and for good reason. Building materials affect everything from the project budget to the lifespan of your deck.
Today, there are more building materials to choose from than ever. The right materials for your project will depend on your goals, design and budget. From achieving the right look to extending the life of your deck, planning pays off. Consider these four questions before choosing decking material.
1. Repair vs. Replace
Excessive weathering, rot and broken boards are signs your deck is in trouble. You'll have to decide to replace damaged areas or the entire deck. There are many more material options in the market today. Mixing new material types with old isn't recommended, however. Replacing your deck outright gives you the chance to construct with better materials.
2. Deck Design
Your personal goals and home size will influence your deck design. If you want a deck capable of hosting large parties, your blueprint needs to accommodate larger meeting spaces. Resist the urge to go too large. An oversized deck means bigger budgets and longer build times. It will also look out of place. As a general rule, a deck shouldn't exceed more than 50% of the square footage of the main level or yard.
Materials directly impact deck upkeep. Some materials require annual maintenance, while others can go largely ignored for years. In any case, it leads to trade-offs in cost, appearance and durability with different deck building materials. Your climate may limit the material options available, as extreme weather conditions will render some choices inappropriate.
4. Deck Appearance
Changing building materials will change the deck's appearance. Wood, composite materials and aluminum offer different aesthetic values. Composite materials are available in light and dark colors, helping repel or retain sunlight for better management of warmth. Material selection can help you accomplish a rustic look complete with wood trimming, or a modern appearance with engineered composites.
Deck Building Material Options
Different deck building material options are available to help you achieve your goals and remain within budget. Get to know the different deck building materials available, including:
- Pressure-treated lumber: Pressure-treated wood is conditioned to repel insects and prevent water damage. It is generally less expensive than other options. Pressure-treated wood decks will last up to 30 years with annual upkeep.
- Natural woods: Redwood, cedar and cypress offer a natural look. These woods are naturally-resistant to damage from rot. Decks made with natural woods will, if adequately maintained, last for 30 to 40 years.
- Hardwoods: It's recommended that you have a professional install your hardwood deck. This includes imported hardwoods like ipe, ironwood and balau. Their density means they will not accept stain well. With proper care, a hardwood deck can last for up to 50 years.
- Composites: Our Wolf Perspective Decking is made of composite materials and are manufactured from 94% recycled plastics and wood fibers. These materials are more expensive than wood alternatives. Decks made from composites are virtually maintenance-free. They can last up to twice as long as decks made with pressure-treated wood.
- PVC: Our Wolf Serenity Decking is made of PVC and features a proprietary ColorWatch100® premium ASA capstock, which helps block harmful UV rays to promote color retention. It features a clean, crisp aesthetic and low maintenance needs while boasting high longevity. What’s more, it’s available in a number of colors to suit your preference.
Choosing Decking Materials
Building a deck is a big undertaking, but Wolf Home Products can help you get there. Add to the look and value of your home with our selection of premium deck and home-building materials. To start building the deck of your dreams, find a contractor near you.