It can be hard to choose a material for your deck as there are so many choices and good options out there in today’s market.
Which decking material is best for you? When making your decision, you should consider factors such as durability, maintenance, price and design. You’ll want a quality material within your budget and something that goes with the look and feel that you want to achieve for your yard.
Let’s discuss the prime options available, including soft wood, hardwood, PVC and composite decking, to help you better decide.
In general, wood decks are made out of durable wood material which comes in many rich natural colours and appealing textures. Easy to find and at an affordable price, many people choose wood decks to enhance their landscape and maintain a natural feel.
Wondering, “What type of wood should I use for a deck?” Overall, pressure-treated and cedar lumber is a good affordable option, and readily available. However, more unusual options like Massaranduba and Philippine mahogany are extremely durable and resistant to insects and rot.
Let’s take a closer look at the two main categories of wood decks, soft wood and hardwood.
Soft Wood Decks
Pros of Soft Wood Decks:
- Commonly made from trees such as pine or spruce which are durable
- Will last for many years especially when pressure treated
- Easier to build with than hardwood
- Tends to be cheaper than hardwood
Cons of Soft Wood Decks:
- Limited natural colour options – needs to be stained if you prefer other colours
- Soft wood tends to wear out faster than hardwood
- Requires more regular maintenance as wood decks have a tendency to collect mould and mildew
- Needs to be stained and sealed at least every 2-3 years to maintain its look
- If you burn the wood, you can be exposed to chemicals that are embedded in it
Pros of Hardwood Decks:
- Commonly made from ipe and teak trees
- Comes in a wide range of beautiful natural colours
- Extremely durable material that can last up to 40 years or more, longer than soft wood
- Naturally resistant to rot, decay, and scratches
Cons of Wood Decks:
- More difficult to build with than soft wood
- More expensive than soft wood
- Similar to soft wood, it requires more regular cleaning and maintenance
How to Clean a Wood Deck
In order to clean a wood deck, you should use a reputable wood deck cleaning product. Afterwards, apply a sealer and toner. Soft wood decks especially should be cleaned at least twice a year with the appropriate solutions and protective treatments to enhance their durability and longevity.
PVC and Composite Decking
What is the best composite deck material? There’s no simple answer as it can depend widely on your personal tastes and the brand you choose.
Most composite decks are made from polyethylene or polyvinyl and come in a variety of styles and colours. Similarly, PVC decks, made from recycled plastic, are a great low-maintenance choice for homeowners who want a long-lasting deck without the hassle of constant upkeep.
Pros of PVC and Composite Decking
- Low maintenance
- Does not require sanding, staining or sealing
- More durable than wood and resistant to warping and bug infestation
- Resistant to mould which is especially ideal for locations close to water or with a lot of rainfall
- Flexible enough to be curved into patterns and shapes, which may be too expensive when using wood.
Cons of PVC and Composite Decking
- Lower priced options can sometimes look cheap with a plastic finish
- Can also be susceptible to swelling and cupping
- Difficult to repair if a section is damaged
- The PVC coating found on composite decking can get hot in the sun, making it uncomfortable to walk on barefoot
How to Clean PVC and Composite Decking
Mild soap and water should do the trick. Apply the solution with a deck scrub or plastic bristle brush. Don’t use a natural fibre brush as it may dull the appearance of your decking.
Choosing the Right Deck Flooring
There are benefits and drawbacks to each of the above materials. Your preferences will determine which decking is best suited to you and your needs. You may want to go for the luxury of a natural wood, or maybe a recyclable and economical PVC or composite material is more up your alley.
Are you still having trouble deciding which decking material is best for you? Let Green Scene Landscaping help find the right fit for you. Contact us today for help choosing and advice on how to calculate decking material.