If you are looking to install a new deck or upgrade to a new and improved version, the first thing you should consider is the type of materials you will use. There are three categories from which to choose, including wood, vinyl, and composite. Years ago, decking options were mostly limited to redwood or cedar wood. But today, vinyl and composite products have increased the variety, quality, and longevity of decks
If wood is what you desire, pressure treated wood is a great option. Pressure treated wood has either a tan or brown appearance that can be enhanced with stain. It can last for decades but it requires sealer or stain every other year. Redwood was once the be-all-end-all in decking, but now it’s only available on the west coast. While this wood is lightweight, very strong, and easy to work with, it’s also very expensive. With proper treatment, redwood can last for fifteen to twenty years. Cedar is a beautiful wood that’s both easy to work with and inexpensive. This wood is good for DIY enthusiasts who want to try their hand at installing a deck themselves. With yearly refinishing, cedar can last fifteen to twenty years.
If vinyl is your choice of decking material, you’ve chosen a decking option that’s relatively maintenance-free. Officially called Polyvinyl Chloride or simply (PVC), vinyl has no wood content and color options include, white, gray, tan, and brown. The premium varieties also come with a twenty-five year warranty. There are, however, advantages and disadvantages of vinyl. One advantage is color customization. If you can think of a color, they can create the material in the color you’re looking for. It can even be made to look like wood if you like. Another advantage of vinyl is its durability. Vinyl decks are very stable, but unfortunately there are a few disadvantages as well. Vinyl is prone to cracking and expansion when exposed to excessive heat or direct sunlight. While vinyl is certainly easy to maintain, It’s simply not wood.
And last but not least there is composite. This material is made of wood fiber and recycled polyethylene. Composite decking looks nice and is generally inexpensive. It comes in many colors and textures and resembles real wood. Premium options come with twenty-five year warranties. Composite is easy to maintain but it can retain mold if it is not cleaned properly every three to four years.
While wood remains a popular decking material today, vinyl and composite have taken their place among modern decking options that offer more variety, beauty, and functionality. Which of these three main decking products you choose depends on your budget, lifestyle, and design preferences. Wood, vinyl, and composite each have advantages and disadvantages, but you really can’t go wrong with whichever one you choose.