What Is The Best Material To Use For A Deck?
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Your choice of decking material depends on a variety of factors, including your budget, aesthetic considerations, and maintenance requirements. On this page, we will discuss what makes the right decking material choice for your situation.
Adding a deck to your house is a good way to increase its value. It can also boost the odds for a quick sale in a buyers’ market. By some estimates, a deck has an ROI as high as 75 percent.
But even if you don’t intend to sell your house, a deck will boost curb appeal and add an outdoor recreational space that will give you greater enjoyment out of your home.
But with such a wide variety of decking materials that you can choose and all of which have different qualities, it is clear that decks quality can range widely. The focus should therefore be on choosing the right decking material for your needs, not necessarily the best.
How to choose the right decking material
As an outdoor structure, especially considering Ontario’s harsh average climate, your deck has some quite rough conditions to stand up to. You must be honest about the strengths and weaknesses of your preferred decking material.
Among the most popular decking materials are pressure-treated wood, composite decking, and plastic lumber (HDPE), and steel. Each of these has its own qualities.
Pressure-treated wood is the traditional and most popular decking material. Natural, it is widely available, affordable, and has possibly the strongest aesthetic credentials.
There is a fine line between a sun-bleached appearance and a natural patina, but that silver-grey patina of older wood decks is much desired.
Though chemically treated to improve its resistance to bugs and rot, this material does not last as long as the other decking materials. The hardier redwoods will last longer but come at a higher cost.
Made to mimic the characteristic warm color tones of wood without being a natural product, composite decking, which is made from plastic and wood fibers does not warp and fade as wood does.
Composite is comparable in price to some of the stronger woods like cedar and redwood but is longer lasting and low-maintenance. It is a sustainable material for its use of recycled plastic and sawdust.
For a deck that you can install and never worry much about maintenance, plastic lumber is a good option. It doesn’t mimic wood as well as composite plastic/wood, is more expensive than wood, expands, and gets quite hot to walk and sit on in hot weather. But it has a lot of the qualities that wood lacks.
Plastic lumber is durable, waterproof, does not splinter, fade, nor stain, and requires very little maintenance.
Metal - steel/aluminum
A very strong material if protected and maintained well, steel can last well over 30 years, which represents a good return on your investment.
Steel is however quite expensive and may not be an accessible choice for large decks. Steel also produces a distinctly smart and polished aesthetic.
What is the best low maintenance deck material?
A common trap is to focus on the initial cost of installing a deck on your property and ignore the costs associated with maintaining your deck. Depending on your choice of decking material, maintenance costs can pile up.
Composite, a synthetic material, has to be the best low maintenance decking material. Fairly inexpensive, it spots a wood-like grain but does not require any refinishing as wood does. Choose solid boards over hollow ones if you want a deck that can handle heavy traffic and looks and behaves a lot more like wood.
Resealing should waterproof the deck and protect it from the ensued wet seasons.
What decking material lasts the longest?
Steel and aluminum are all hard-wearing, long-lasting materials for your deck. But when you factor in the considerable maintenance bill, composite decking boards stand out as the best choice for a deck that you will enjoy the longest.
Many composite decking manufacturers offer fade and stain warranties of up to 30 years. That tells you how confident they are about the endurance of this material. But if you can protect and maintain it, a natural wooden deck is the best thing you can see on a property.
Ultimately, the right decking material depends on your particular situation. Your budget, how much maintenance work you’re prepared to put in, and your personal style and aesthetic demands all influence your choice of decking material.