Understanding Wood and Plastic Decking Options

Flowers on a deck

When it comes to building a deck in today’s world, there are numerous decisions homeowners need to make. Where pressure-treated lumber was once nearly the only option for deck builders, now there are dozens of choices on the market. These range from exotic woods to composite materials to everything in-between. This guide is designed to help you understand more about some of the most common decking materials available right now.

Pressure-Treated Lumber

Tried-and-true, pressure-treated lumber has long been used to build decks throughout America and the world. It is made of pine and has a greenish hue, for which it is somewhat infamous; don’t worry, it can be stained any color you choose! Even with all of the other options modern homeowners can choose from, on an annual basis ¾ of them still choose pressure-treated lumber for their new decks.

It is the most cost-effective of the materials you’ll read about in this guide, averaging a bit under $15.00 for a standard 16-foot board. One of the downsides of pressure-treated lumber is that pine is a very soft wood, making it prone to warping and cracking. This means you might have to replace your deck boards more frequently than you would with other materials. If, however, saving money is a major priority for you, this is a great option that will look nice once it has been stained and sealed.

Redwood and Cedar

Redwood and cedar are both quite popular among homeowners who are willing to spend more money to avoid the chore of staining their deck boards. Both of these woods are known for their natural reddish hues. Although redwood is generally pricier than cedar, both species of wood are priced approximately four times more (about $60.00) than pressure-treated lumber for a 16-foot board. In addition to their beautiful coloring, though, these two decking material options are known for their hardiness. They withstand weather elements well and rarely require maintenance. This makes their additional cost worth it to certain homeowners.

Exotic Hardwoods

Although tropical wood options are relatively new to the decking industry, they are becoming quite popular among homeowners who have large budgets. Popular hardwoods in this category are camara, tigerwood, ipe, and jatoba. These woods are typically guaranteed to last for 50-60 years and generally have stunning appearances. Tigerwood, in particular, is known for its dark veining. Standard 16-foot exotic hardwood boards tend to range from about $75.00 apiece to several hundred dollars apiece. Because these materials are mainly from tropical rainforests, they require very little maintenance, withstand moisture well, and do not need to be sealed or stained.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is one of the most popular options among today’s homeowners. It is usually priced in the range of $45.00 to $90.00 per 16-foot board. Composite boards are made-up of two parts, composite cores and outer shells, crafted from a combination of sawdust and recycled plastic. Composite decks are incredibly low-maintenance, requiring nothing more than an occasional wipe down and periodic pressure-washing.

These boards are available in many colors, which is one of the things that tends to attract homeowners to composite decking initially. Although there are quite a few brands available to consumers, Timbertech and Trex are two of the most well-known and trustworthy names.

No matter what kind of deck you are interested in replacing on your property, the Hatch Homes team can help. Our experts can repair your current deck to transform it into your dream outdoor oasis! We’ll work with you (and your budget!) to put together a plan that really works. To schedule a consultation and start talking to us about your upcoming project, just give us a call. We’ll meet with you at your earliest convenience.

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