The Facts About Popular Decking Materials

If you are in the market for a new deck, you’ve probably already realized that there are a lot of materials you can choose from in today’s world. At one point in time, treated lumber was just about the only choice for Carolina families who wanted to have decks constructed. Now, though, composite materials, exotic woods, and other materials are all available for sale as well. You’re probably wondering how to pick the ideal option for your upcoming project (and maybe even feeling a bit overwhelmed!) Don’t worry. This guide features just the facts about popular decking materials. 

Treated lumber:

Upkeep – Treated lumber requires more upkeep than some other decking materials. It needs to be power washed annually and will require restaining or repainting every summer or two. Depending on where you reside in the Carolinas, you may also need to treat it to prevent termites and other pests. 

Pricing – Treated lumber is the most affordable decking material available to modern consumers. It generally costs about $6/square foot uninstalled. 

Lifespan – With proper maintenance, treated lumber decks can be expected to last for about 30 years. There are, however, certain situations in which wood rot, insect or vermin damage, or mold growth can lead to faster replacement. 

Pros – One of the main perks of treated lumber decking is its pricing. Even families who are on tight budgets can generally afford this material. Another perk is that treated lumber decks are more eco-friendly than many other modern options.

Cons – Treated lumber can have a greenish tone when it isn’t stained or painted. This can be visually unappealing. It also requires more maintenance than synthetic materials and still has a shorter lifespan. 

Composite decking: 

Upkeep – Composite decking is quite easy to care for. It only needs to be wiped down with mild detergent and water from time to time. If your area of the Carolinas gets a significant amount of rainfall, you can even rely on precipitation to wash your deck off from time to time. 

Pricing – Composite decking is more expensive than treated lumber, with some brands costing as much as $35/square foot installed. Many retailers offer frequent sales on composite deck boards, however, so keep your eyes peeled if you want to go this route. 

Lifespan – Brands like Trex and NextGen create deck boards that can last as long as 50 years. Composite decking is not susceptible to insect damage, which is something to keep in mind if you live in a rural region.

Pros – One of the biggest selling points of composite decking is that it requires essentially no maintenance. Another perk is that it is available in a wide range of colors, including cream, blue, and red, which makes it easy to match your personal tastes. 

Cons – The primary downside of composite decking is that the production process can have a negative impact on the environment, so if you are making a significant effort to go green, it might not be the best choice for you. Furthermore, some homeowners report that composite deck boards mold over time, but this is not a common problem. 

Exotic woods: 

Upkeep – Exotic wood decks do not require a great deal of upkeep. Many of these wood species, including ipe and tigerwood, are sourced from rainforest regions and, therefore, hold-up well against precipitation. Furthermore, they have beautiful natural colors, so they don’t need to be painted or stained. Some homeowners choose to apply polyurethane topcoats, but this is optional.

Pricing – The most expensive decking materials on the market, all exotic woods tend to run almost $100/square foot after factoring in installation costs. 

Lifespan – Your exotic wood deck is likely to outlive you. Ipe, tigerwood, and other materials in this category will last for up to a century if they are kept in good repair and they are not damaged by weather events, such as hurricanes. 

Pros – The selling points of exotic woods are their beauty and durability. They make for stunning outdoor living spaces that will set the stage for any decor style. 

Cons – The only real downside of exotic wood decking is the price associated with it. Many Carolina homeowners simply cannot afford to pay for this decking material without taking-on debt to do so. 

If you have questions about any exterior renovations on your property, contact the team at Hatch Homes today. One of our staff members will be happy to walk you through our service offerings and help you understand more about what we do. We look forward to getting to know you!

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Hatch is your partner for exterior remodeling.

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