The Pros & Cons of Common Deck Materials

Building a deck is a great way to add value to your home. It’s also the perfect place to escape after a long day at work. You probably already have some ideas about what you ideal deck looks like. Next you’ll want to think of how you’ll use your space. Lifestyle will play a large role in the type of deck material that you choose. If maintenance is required you’ll either need the time to do the work, or invest in having someone do it for you. Let’s explore the pros and cons of your common deck materials and see which one is right for you.

Wood Decks

Wood decks will always have the allure of their natural beauty. There are a variety of stain colours available for pressure treated wood so you can create whatever look your heart desires. Cedar has it’s characteristic warm, rich colour already and is one of the most environmentally friendly products available on the market. This beautiful wood is naturally resistant to rot and insects, harsh weather and is toxic free. Wood decks do, however require maintenance. Like all decks they need to be checked and cleaned regularly. But every couple of years they’ll also need to be sanded and re-sealed.

Pros:

  • Least expensive type of deck to build.
  • Mold and mildew resistant
  • Natural insulator keeping it cooler on your feet in the sun.
  • Biodegradable and earth friendly.
  • Can last over 15 years with good maintenance.

Cons:

  • Regular maintenance required every 1-2 years.
  • Pressure treated wood has the potential to rot.
  • Can splinter in spots requiring more frequent sanding.
  • Sorting through boards at the lumber yard i.e. for flat boards or boards with fewer knots.

Vinyl Decking

 

This type of decking is not typically a do-it-yourself project. Most vinyl companies require they be installed by certified professionals in order to maintain their warranty. Vinyl decking offers a water-tight seal around the deck to protect the structure underneath. This is especially important because if water were to get trapped underneath the vinyl surface it will cause the wood to rot. While this is a very low maintenance option, it does carry higher up front costs than wood due to the waterproof vinyl membrane and professional labour.

Pros:

  • Water proofs your deck.
  • Sloped for proper drainage of water to avoid rot and decay of structure.
  • Long life expectancy.
  • Stain and scratch resistant.

Cons:

  • Can develop mold in areas if sloped improperly.
  • Is slick when wet.
  • More expensive than wood decks to install.
  • Specialized solutions for cleaning increases annual costs of maintenance.

Composite Decking

This deck is often referred to as the most environmentally friendly due to the recycled wood and plastic used in the manufacturing process. Unlike vinyl and stains, you can be a bit more creative using different coloured boards to make patterns or to outline your deck. One of the downsides to composite decking is that your current deck structure may not be compliant to hold the extra weight. If you have an older deck and you’re only in the market for a new surface, composite decking may not be a viable option.

Pros:

  • Low maintenance which saves money over the long run.
  • Good warranty, lasts 25 years or more.
  • Looks like real wood.
  • Good for the environment as recycled wood and plastic is used.

Cons:

  • Deterioration of structural wood joists due to water sitting underneath the composite boards.
  • Most expensive option.
  • Stronger frame required due to heavier weight.
  • Can stain from grease or melt from hot BBQ coals.
Just like your home, proper up-keep of your deck is required. Not only will it help maintain it's value, it'll also keep everyone safe. Click To Tweet

If you’re still not sure which deck is right for you give us a call. We’ve been building decks on Vancouver Island for over 25 years and would be happy to review deck materials with you in a free in-home consultation.

Check out who you’ll be working with here.