Best Decking Materials: Ranked
When making design plans for your home’s exterior, a deck is typically the epicenter of outdoor living. The material that you choose for the space will impact your overall budget, design of the space, and time spent maintaining it over the years. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve ranked the best decking materials based on durability, affordability, customization options, and weather-resistance.
Best Overall Pick: Composite
Composite decking is made from a combination of recycled plastic and wood fibers. They’re blended together to create a strong material that’s one of the most durable decking options available today. It can withstand the elements, meaning it won’t rot, warp, or split. It doesn’t require continual maintenance and upkeep like pressure-treated wood, which means you won’t have to repeatedly sand, stain, or refinish it.
Are there disadvantages of composite decking?
While it’s not a highly customizable option, composite decking is available in a wide range of colors that closely resemble real wood. This material is more expensive than pressure-treated wood. However, with the higher price you do gain a product that’s the most durable decking option on the market.
Top composite decking brands
If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly decking option, Trex is a great choice. Trex composite decking is made from reclaimed wood and 95% post-consumer plastic film. This eco-friendly composite decking option is known for its deep wood-grain pattern that provides a beautiful and realistic appearance. In addition to being available in a variety of multi-tonal colors, it’s also resistant to scratches, mold, and fading.
TimberTech’s vast offering includes three separate product lines that each offer their own stunning colors, advantages, and durability. Top features include realistic woodgrains, the ability to stay cool on hot summer days, and Limited Fade and Stain Warranties. Whether you’re looking for an everyday deck to withstand the elements for years to come, or a safe option to surround your pool, TimberTech has you covered.
At Standard Lumber & Supply, we carry a wide range of composite decking brands to suit your budget, design, and durability requirements. Trex and TimberTech are two of the highest-quality options available.
Most Affordable Pick: Pressure-Treated Wood
Pressure-treated wood is both very durable and highly cost-effective. Using the latest lumber treatment technology, it’s treated with safe substances with few toxins to make it resistant to mold, rot, and pests. This makes your deck more durable for the long haul while also being safe for your family.
This more affordable decking option can also be painted or stained to match the aesthetic of your outdoor living space. It’s easily accessible, and it’s also easy to cut and work with. The downfall to pressure-treated wood is that it does require regular maintenance in order to keep up its appearance and usefulness for the future. This care typically involves power washing, sanding in order to prepare the surface for painting or staining, and re-staining regularly, which does increase the long-term cost of your deck.
Most Customizable Option: Hardwood
Hardwood is probably the most customizable decking material available. Because of it’s superior durability, it can be cut, shaped, stained, or colored to create almost any desired shape. This expands the possibilities when designing your outdoor living space. Choose from unique patterned deck designs, or opt for a variegated wood for a subtle, yet visually interesting take on the traditional wood deck.
There is a vast range of hardwood options available to build a deck. From traditional oak to tropical ipe, hardwoods offer significant benefits when it comes to customization and durability. Hardwoods are naturally more resistant to water, pests, rot, and other concerns than softwood decking. Ipe, for example, is known to be almost as hard as concrete, and just as insect repellent.
What’s more, because hardwood is an all natural decking material, it raises fewer concerns when it comes to recyclability and sustainability. And, because these materials can construct a deck that will last for decades, there’s little concern for maintenance.
The downside to hardwood decking is that its initial cost is higher than other wood options, and sometimes even composite decking. But, since there’s truly no better option for both durability and the finished appearance, hardwood will always be a top decking material option.
Highly Weather-Resistant Pick: Cedar Decking
Cedar decking is another durable option that will withstand the elements over time. A beautiful, rich wood that lends great color, cedar is naturally resistant to rot, which means it can weather rain, snow, and direct sunlight with ease, often lasting for 15-20 years or more.
Cedar is also well known for its resistance to pests and insects, which makes it stand out when compared to other wood decking options. Because of this natural resistance, cedar requires much less maintenance for staining and sealing than other types of wood.
Cedar decking has very few disadvantages, especially if you’re looking specifically for a weather-resistant decking option. That said, cedar is typically more expensive than other wood decking materials. It is comparable, if not slightly less expensive than composite decking, but that added investment can be a barrier, depending on your budget.
Standard Supply & Lumber: Your Source for the Best Decking Materials
Whether you’re building a new deck or updating an existing one, trust Standard Supply & Lumber to provide all the quality materials you need. And don’t forget the railing! We offer a variety of railing options to outfit your new deck. As your one-stop-shop for all decking resources, we also supply accessories, screws, deck clips, and tools.
We source our products from top-name brands in the industry, so you’re sure to have a great outdoor entertaining space with minimal hassle and maintenance. Give us a call or contact us online to get your project started.