Best Decking Material for Your Deck; Compare Composite Decks vs Wood Decks
Compare The Best Decking Material
Oftentimes the most difficult decision to make when building a deck is which decking material is the best to use. The prices from the cheapest to the most expensive decking material is; pressure treated decks, cedar decks, composite decks, PVC decks, Ipe decks. Composite decks and PVC decks are quickly becoming more popular than traditional decks due mostly because of their low maintenance requirements. There are several options to consider when choosing the best material for your new deck. Let’s explore each of your decking options in detail…
Some people prefer the look of natural wood. Compared to composite or PCV which mimic the look of natural wood. Treated lumber is a real natural wood so it has that genuine look.
There are several advantages of treated lumber beyond it just being the most economical option. Although it requires to be sanded and stained every other year, this gives the homeowner the opportunity of selecting a new stain color each year. With Azek decks or composite decks, whatever color you choose will have to remain that color for the lifetime of the deck. If you paint your house a new color and wanted to match the deck with your house trim, this is no problem with a treated lumber deck.
A drawback to a treated lumber deck is the required intensive maintenance necessary to keeping the deck looking its best and withstand the harsh weather elements over time. Most homeowners neglect their deck’s maintenance needs which causes rapid deterioration and ultimately the need to replace the deck.
Another drawback is that pressure treated lumber will inevitably split, twist, warp, and not lay flat on the deck framing. Nothing really can be done to combat this problem. The reason that these issues arise is because new treated lumber is full of moisture and over time the deckboards begin to lose moisture and the deckboards begin to shrink at different rates. Direct sunlight is another killer of pressure treated wood decks.
If you are looking for an economical deck and can be committed to deck maintenance then go with a pressure treated deck. A ballpark price to construct a treated lumber deck is around $20/ square foot. But there are many variables and designs options that could make this price fluctuate.
Are Ipe Decks The Best Decking Material?
Ipe is the Lamborghini of decking material. It is imported from Brazil and easily out performs domestic wood species in every category. Ipe (pronounced e-pay) is undoubtedly the superior decking selection. Ipe is the only natural decking material that is rated to last over 35 years. Ipe is also known as Ironwood because of its density and superior strength. All grades are virtually knot-free, and ipe’s tight grain patterns make this wood impervious to water. Ipe is so dense that no insects even bother to try to penetrate the wood.
When choosing a contractor to build your new Ipe deck, you want to make sure that they have experience working with this species of wood. Ipe is actually so strong that it is unlike working with any other decking material. Special techniques are required when working with Ipe. The same saw blade that could last building several traditional decks would dull only after an afternoon of cutting the dense ipe wood. So not only is the material more expense, the labor is more expensive as well.
Build your decking using ipe if you want the ultimate deck. You will not be disappointed with ipe. Although you might be disappointed in the high cost. A ballpark price to construct an ipe deck is around $50-$60/ square foot. But there are many variables and designs options that can make this price fluctuate.
Are Cedar Decks The Best Decking Material?
Before the birth of composite and PVC decking, cedar decks used to be the high-end decking option. Cedar decks share some of the same qualities as treated lumber decks. However Cedar has a natural resistance to insects and fungus. Cedar decks are much more aesthetically pleasing compared to treated wood decks. Nonetheless, without the proper maintenance, over time the elements can take its toll on cedar just like pressure treated decks.
Moisture and sunlight are the two worst enemies of your deck. Although nothing can be done about the sunlight, cedar does not readily absorb moisture. Moisture is what creates decks to warp and split, so cedar decks often lay more flat and uniform compared to pressure treated lumber decks.
Hidden fasteners can also be used on cedar decks. These are fasteners where no screws are visible through the face of decking. Pressure treated decks contain too much moisture and movement for hidden fasteners.
Another major advantage of cedar over treated lumber is that it is a better looking species of wood. A clearcoat can be applied to a cedar deck and the natural beauty of the wood will really stand out.
Some people prefer the look of natural wood. Compared to composite or PCV which mimic the look of natural wood. Cedar decks provide the look feel and smell of natural wood.
If you are looking for a moderately priced deck and enjoy the look of natural wood then a cedar deck is your best decking selection. Redwood decks are also very comparable to cedar decks. But Cedar is more readily available in most areas in the US. A ballpark price to have a contractor construct a cedar or redwood deck is around $25-$35/ square foot. But there are many variables and designs options that can make this price fluctuate.
Are Composite Wood Decks The Best Decking Material?
Composite decking is a relatively new material and homeowners around the country are moving toward this new low maintenance deck. Although composite decks carry a greater upfront cost compared to traditional wood decks, the composite deck pays dividends each year by never requiring any sanding or staining. Decks are meant to be a relaxing, enjoyable space in your home, not an extra headache that takes up your valuable time trying to keep up with proper maintenance.
Furthermore, composite decks resist cracking, warping, splintering, rotting, mold and fungus. Composite decks are child friendly! No more worrying about children getting splinters or being exposed to chemicals that are found in some traditional decks.
There are numerous color choices available for your composite deck. It will be easy to get the perfect color that fits your home. And that color will last for many years without ever having to stain it.
Composite decking is also a green material. It is made out of recycled wood fibers and recycled plastic. Your new composite deck will be promoting a healthier environment and no new trees will have to be cut down to provide your decking material.
If you are looking for a low maintenance deck and can afford to spend the extra money then composite may be your best selection. But beware, not all composites are created equal. When it comes to composite material, you definitely pay for what you get. A ballpark price to have contractor construct a composite deck is around $30-40/ square foot. But there are many variables and designs options that can make this price fluctuate.
Is Azek PVC Decking The Best Decking Material?
Azek brand PVC decking is my personal favorite decking material. Azek is less expensive compared to Ipe but share some of its strong characteristics. Azek decks often get confused with composite decks but they are actually constructed out of PVC. As a synthetic decking material Azek decking shares some similar qualities to composite decking. But Azek is better than regular composite decks.
The advantages of Azek decking versus composite decking is that Azek decking is scratch resistance, stain resistance, and it is a stronger material. Azek Deck Boards have been engineered to withstand heavy deck usage.
Even spilled wine, fruit punch, and hamburger grease are no match for Azek deck’s stain resistance. And since Azek Decks are scratch resistant, you won’t have to worry about marks from patio furniture or pets.
If price is less of an issue and you desire the most durable synthetic deck, then Azek decking may be your best selection. A ballpark price to have contractor construct an Azek deck is around $40-$55/ square foot. But there are many variables and designs options that can make this price fluctuate.
According to Remodeling magazine “Cost vs. Value Report,” you’ll get back nearly 75 percent of what you pay for a deck if you sell your home within the first year after the deck is built. So whatever decking material you use, it will be a wise investment that you can enjoy over the years.
Hopefully this deck comparing guide will assist you in choosing the best decking material. Visit our deck photo gallery if you want to view more pictures of the different types of decks. Please leave your comments below letting us know which decking material you chose.