Outdoor living spaces are essential for many homeowners. They provide excellent places for relaxation, entertaining, and family time. Installing a deck is a great way to open up outdoor space directly from your home, or you can even build floating decks almost anywhere in your yard with no attachments to your home.
A deck is a great choice because it can be so versatile. If you have an uneven or sloped backyard, a deck can be built around these flaws, and you can build decks up multiple levels or keep them at ground level. Yes, decks take maintenance and have limited lifetime, but with a little care you can enjoy them for many years. If you are uncertain if a deck is right for you, read on to see the options in decking materials including their durability, lifetime, and maintenance requirements. If these options don’t seem right for you, consider installing a patio for your outdoor space instead of a deck. Patios are known for lower maintenance and cost, but come with their own negative aspects as well.
Pressure Treated Lumber
Decks are traditionally made of this natural wood lumber, and this is still the most common type of decking used. Decks using this material can warp, split, and splinter easily and need to be maintained and resealed every few years. The sun will turn the wood gray overtime, but pressure washing can reverse this. The lifespan can be anywhere from 20-50 years depending on the environment (moisture, shade, etc.) and the quality of care you put into it.
Redwood or Cedar
These wood species are much less susceptible to warping and splitting, but are more expensive. Redwood and cedar both have natural defenses against rot and pests, however these are soft woods that can be damaged and scratched easily. Just like PT lumber, these woods will slowly gray overtime so you will need to reseal them annually to maintain their rich color. These decks can last 20 years or up to 40 years if maintained properly.
Hardwoods like Ipe, Garapa, Teak, etc. are a great option for high traffic areas and homeowners with pets and children. Tropical hardwoods are pest resistant, dense, durable, and scratch resistant. Many species don’t even need any sealants or preservatives. There is a higher price tag for these beautiful hardwoods, but to many homeowners it is worth the extra cost. With good maintenance, these decks can last over 40 years.
Extremely resistant to warping, cracking, or splintering, composite decking is a mixture of plastic and wood fibers. It requires no staining, stealing, or painting. Typically, composite is more expensive, but this is an exchange for much less maintenance and risk of decay when compared to wood. Mild cleaning may be needed to keep mildew away. Composite decking doesn’t feel like wood and often doesn’t look anything like wood, making this a major factor for some homeowners. Composite decking is estimated to last around 25 years or more.