Your New Outdoor Deck: What Type of Material is Best?

IMG_3331Many homeowners spend years thinking about a new outdoor deck before they actually make the decision to build one. When the deck starts to become a reality, and people start to research options and designs, they end up wondering what type of material to use. This is, after all, a huge part of how the deck will turn out.

You could go with a natural wood surface, or a pressure-treated material. On the other hand, you could choose a composite decking material. There are many variables, and it’s important to make the right decision up front in order to avoid regrets later.

Natural wood or high-tech composite?

First off, it’s good to determine whether you want natural wood or modern composite material for your outdoor deck. There are different types of natural wood, and various brands of composite—but in general, what are the pros and cons of each?

Certain types of wood, such as cedar and redwood, are naturally resistant to insects and weather damage. They also give you a fantastic natural appearance. But even the most naturally resistant woods will break down over time. Keeping them in top shape will require regular maintenance (including stripping, sanding, staining, etc.). Over the course of years, these maintenance costs can add up.

Composites all but eliminate these factors. These artificial blends of wood fibers and plastic are highly resistant to weather and insects, requiring very little maintenance over the course of decades.

Is one type of natural wood better?

Natural woods that are commonly used for outdoor decks include cedar, redwood, pressure-treated woods of all kinds, and various tropical hardwoods (ipe, tigerwood, etc.). It’s important to choose a wood that is already established as a good choice for outdoor decks. Otherwise, you could end up with serious problems with a year or two.

Rare tropical hardwoods are imported and usually cost more than redwood and cedar. Whichever type of wood you choose, opting for professional installation and treatment will ensure the most reliable long-term results.

PT lumber

Pressure-treated wood is actually the most popular decking material on the market today. Yellow pine is usually used, and the pressure treatment process gives it anti-aging properties similar to cedar and redwood. The price point is also lower—hence the popularity. Warping and cracking, however, are common drawbacks of PT lumber.

Composite decking materials

Although they come at a higher price point, composite decking materials have the power to save you money down the line. That’s because they are composed of recycled wood and plastic elements, which gives them superior strength and longevity. Composite materials need very little maintenance and have longer lifespans than natural or PT materials. Composites do not crack or splinter, and the look/feel of the material has improved drastically in recent years.

Which one is right for me?

Budget, maintenance needs, and stylistic preferences will all come into play when choosing between these popular decking materials. If you aren’t sure which way to go, getting in touch with a respected outdoor deck contractor can give you valuable perspective. It might also give you an idea of how much a professional result will cost, and whether it fall within your budget.

Thanks for stopping by our blog! We look forward to seeing your comments below.

Client Testimonials

J.Widener from Newton, NJ

“Outstanding team. Very impressed with the whole process and the most with my new beautiful deck!”

S.Long from Franklin Township, NJ

“The deck looks FANTASTIC. I still can’t believe that Deck Guardian was able to resurface my old, ugly deck. Our neighbors have stopped by to comment on how great the deck looks. The attention to detail, work ethic and professionalism set this company apart. I highly recommend Deck Guardian!”

M.Lewis from Fleminton, NJ

“We have received numerous compliments from Neighbor’s and friend’s who think that the finished project looks terrific. Not only do I appreciate the “quality job”, but I really appreciate the professional manner Skip handled all the details!”

L.Cohen from West Orange, NJ

“When I came home yesterday, I could not believe how amazing my newly resurfaced deck looked. Crew did an amazing job. It was also a pleasure to work with your salesperson, very professional and knowledgeable!”

S.Smith from Chester Township, NJ

“I’m completely impressed. I have dealt with my share of contractors as I have been updating my home for several years. Deck Guardian gets the gold medal. Deck Guardian restored my 10 year old deck & fence to a brand new condition. I am amazed!”

P.Tang from Westfield, NJ

“Deck Guardian Team did a good and pleasant job to give us a professional service and a beautiful new deck, without replacing it. We love the color and the way it feels like. Highly recommended!”

Kathryn Barchi from Piscataway, NJ

“My husband and I had recently moved into a new home and quite quickly we learned of so many things that both us and the home inspector missed prior to the purchase; the deck being one huge item. We quite desperately wanted to use our deck and know that it was safe for us, our kids, our pups, and our guests, which in the original state, was definitely not the case. Deck Guardian to the rescue! The Deck Guardian team, from the free estimate to the point of project close, were quite wonderful to work with entirely. They even pointed out additional things we had missed with regards to the safety of our deck. Of course, best of all, the Deck Guardian team was able to work within our budget, while giving us back our deck with a new lease on life. Deck Guardian far exceeded our expectations and for that, my husband and I can not thank them enough!!!”

Jessica Ravitz from Skillman, NJ

“Deck Guardian completed an amazing deck replacement project for us in less than 2 weeks after we signed our contract. Not only did they provide an extremely competitive price, we got a beautiful deck that so greatly exceeded our expectations! Everyone at Deck Guardian is wonderful – from the estimator, the crew and the administrative staff – very friendly, professional, meticulous and hard working. We are so pleased and give the highest recommendation!!! Thank you Deck Guardian!”

Paul Cichello from Bridgewater, NJ

“I contacted Deck Guardian and was given an estimate the very next day. The representative was very knowledgeable and fair. The workers were polite and professional. We are satisfied with our new deck and would recommend Deck Guardian to anyone who wants quality work.”