With spring, comes the time for home improvement. We may be a little bias on this, but what is a better way to improve your home than with a deck or outdoor living space? Now there are a lot of aspects to think about when planning an outdoor space; size, space, materials, price range, etc. All of these factors affect each other, but your materials can be an important choice in determining size and price. When it comes to decking materials there are many variants, and today we are going to discuss wood and composite decking; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
When it comes to wood decking, most wood decks are made of pressure treated pine, which is reasonably priced if you are planning on building larger decks. Although, with a cheaper price tag, comes greater maintenance. Pine tends to chip and warp, but with proper deck care this aging processes can be delayed. Wood materials, like redwood and cedar are more resistant to the weathering of time, and tend not to warp as easily or quickly. Overall, maintenance should be done or a wood deck every 1-2 years, depending on the wood type, to keep your outdoor space looking fresh. Wood can also be an advantage when it comes to price. Although it may depend on what type of wood you choose, wood decking tends to be about half the cost of composite decking, keeping your original building costs lower.
Composite boarding is a pricier material, but comes with some advantages. When it comes to composite, there are hollow and solid boards. Solid boards have more of a likeness to wood than the hollow boards, but tend to expand and contract more. Whereas the solid boards can shift, or hold water within the board. Composites usually contain some wood material within the board, so water held within a hollow composite will cause deterioration at some point.
Although they are not maintenance free, they have less long term maintenance care. They will fall ill to the same fading and deteriorating as natural wood, but at a slower rate if properly taken care of. Unlike some natural wood decking, composites will fade evenly. Updating an aging composite deck may be more difficult, though. While it is convenient that these boards fade evenly, replacing a single board will cause you to have a bright board among your sad ranks. Also, most composite materials can not be painted without chipping and peeling within the year. One thing that you will want to keep in mind, if thinking about composite decking is the placement of your deck. If composite decking is in the sun, it tends to retain heat more than natural wood of the same color. The plastic component in a composite holds the heat within the board, causing your outdoor living space to become uncomfortable. If you are set on composites and fear this outcome, a lighter colored composite with retain less heat than a darker board.
Ultimately, the decision on material depends on your preference. Whether you would like to go with cost effective natural wood or low maintenance composite decking, depends on you as a home owner. Just remember that if you are unfamiliar with regulations and codes, research and hire a deck building professional.
Update: The decision for decking materials is ultimately yours. This information is not meant to put bias on either material. If you decide on wood decking, please research the wood choices to make sure you are aware of that specific wood’s maintenance needs. In deciding on composite decking, research the company you choose to purchase materials from. Not all composite decking is made equal.