What is the Best Decking Material and How to Choose One?

Oct 26, 2023

The beauty of an outdoor deck is undeniable. Whether you’re hosting a barbecue, enjoying a quiet evening under the stars, or soaking up some sun, the right decking material can make all the difference. But with so many options available, how do you decide?

Decking Material

The decking material you choose defines the look, feel, longevity, and maintenance level of your deck. From natural woods to composites, every material has its strengths and challenges, making it crucial to understand the differences before making an investment.

What is the Best Decking Material: 5 Best Options

1. Hardwood & Softwood Decks

  • Hardwoods like teak, ipe, and mahogany are known for their durability and luxurious look. They resist decay but require regular maintenance to retain their appearance.
  • Softwoods like pine, spruce, and fir are less expensive but might need frequent upkeep to prevent rot and insects.

2. Pressure-Treated Wood Decks

  • Often made from southern yellow pine, these decks are treated with chemicals to resist rot, decay, and termites. They’re affordable and widely available but may warp or crack over time.

3. Composite Decks

  • Made from wood fibers and recycled plastics, composite decks are both durable and low-maintenance. They come in a variety of colors, resist fading, and won’t splinter.

4. Cedar Decking

  • Cedar is naturally resistant to decay and insects, making it a popular choice. However, to maintain its reddish-brown hue, regular maintenance is essential.

5. Redwood Decking

  • Like cedar, redwood offers natural decay and insect resistance. Its rich color and dimensional stability make it a premium choice for decking.

How to Choose the Best Decking Material?

Selecting the right decking material requires consideration of:

  • Budget

    Price varies widely between materials. Determine what you’re willing to spend upfront and on maintenance.

  • Climate

    Some materials weather better in certain climates. Consider local weather patterns.

  • Maintenance

    How much time are you willing to invest in upkeep?

  • Aesthetics

    Your personal preference in terms of look and feel will play a role.

Choosing Deck Material by Type

Navigating the myriad of decking materials can feel overwhelming. To simplify the process, it’s crucial to understand the specific attributes of each type and align them with your unique requirements. Let’s break it down:

How to Choose Composite Decking Material:

  • Durability

    Composite materials vary in quality. Opt for higher-quality composites that resist fading, staining, and scratching.

  • Color & Texture

    Composite decking is available in a wide array of colors and grain patterns. Whether you desire a warm wood-like appearance or a more modern aesthetic, there’s likely a composite for you.

  • Eco-Friendliness

    Many composites are made from recycled materials. If sustainability is a priority, look for brands that tout their green credentials.

  • Installation & Fastening

    Some composite decks have grooved edges for hidden fasteners, while others require face-screwing. Decide on your preferred installation method.

How to Choose Pressure-Treated Wood Decks:

  • Type of Treatment

    Not all pressure-treated woods are the same. Look for wood treated with low VOC (volatile organic compound) solutions to ensure safety and environmental care.

  • Source & Sustainability

    Responsibly sourced pressure-treated wood is more eco-friendly. Check for certification stamps like SFI, FSC, or PEFC.

  • Maintenance Level

    While more resistant than regular wood, pressure-treated decks still require maintenance. Understand the frequency of sealing or staining needed.

How to Choose Cedar Decking Material:

  • Grain Quality

    Cedar ranges from fine to coarse grain. Depending on your aesthetic preference, you might opt for one over the other.

  • Natural Oils

    Cedar has natural oils that make it resistant to pests. However, over time, these oils can deplete. Consider if you’ll replenish them with sealants or let the wood age naturally.

  • Color Preference

    Cedar’s hue can shift from reddish-brown to silver-gray if not maintained. Decide if you want to preserve its original color or let it age gracefully.

How to Choose Redwood Decking Material:

  • Heartwood vs. Sapwood

    Heartwood, the older, harder central portion of the tree, provides greater resilience against pests and decay compared to younger sapwood.

  • Finish & Seal

    Redwood can be left to weather naturally, turning a silver-gray over time, or be sealed to maintain its reddish tint.

  • Cost & Availability

    Redwood is less common in some regions, making it pricier. Ensure it fits within your budget and is accessible in your area.

How to Choose Hardwood & Softwood Decks Material:

  • Tropical Hardwoods

    Woods like Ipe, Cumaru, and Tigerwood are incredibly durable but may require specialized fasteners and tools for installation.

  • Maintenance & Longevity

    Hardwoods, especially tropical variants, tend to last longer but can be demanding in terms of upkeep. Softwoods might require more frequent treatment to fend off pests and rot.

  • Aesthetic Variation

    Both hardwoods and softwoods offer a spectrum of colors and grains. Choose based on the ambiance you aim to create for your outdoor space.

Remember, the best decking material is one that fits your lifestyle, budget, aesthetic preferences, and local climate conditions. Consulting with a decking expert or doing a tactile comparison by obtaining samples can further guide your decision.

Decking Material Supplier in Tulsa, OK

If you’re in the Tulsa area, look no further than DeckIt for your decking needs. We offer a range of decking materials and hardware to suit every style and budget. Plus, our knowledgeable staff can guide you through the decision-making process. Ready to create the deck of your dreams? Reach out to DeckIt today! Call now at 918-804-3636.