How to Choose The Right Deck Materials

The materials for your deck are like choosing a jacket you need to wear year-round—it needs to go with everything and it needs to match the environment. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, your deck materials are going to be vastly different than ones used in Hawaii. It’s all about blending aesthetics with durability and cost, but you really can have it all. Check out these popular deck options and see how they fit your needs:

Cedar: It’s not just for hope chests. This wood resist rot which makes it extremely durable and strong. Most common along the west coast and in the south, it ages beautifully, turning a delicate silver unless a sealer is applied. As a bonus it’s much more affordable than some other “luxury woods” like redwood.

Redwood: For those with distinguished tastes, this is also a rot-resistant choice and with a bi-annual clear sealer applied it can last a lifetime. You’ll spot this regularly in the Pacific Northwest and it can be picked up at any major home improvement store. You’ll know it by the gorgeous red colors that complement any style of home—however, it’s the most expensive wood for decks, so prepare your budget accordingly.

Cypress: Resistant to rot, this is the go-to choice in the southeast part of the country. It’s not quite as strong as the other options, but it holds its own. If you really want “genuine wood”, consider adding a pressure-treated option for the framing and cypress for the actual decking.

Pressure treated lumber: Strength and accessibility are available in spades with pressure-treated options. You’ll notice a green hue when it’s first installed, then it ages to a silvery-gray much like cedar. However, you can also customize a stain so that it looks like redwood, cherry or any other color you like. It’s also the most affordable, and since the latest regulations regarding chemical usage have green leanings, it’s safer than ever.

Vinyl lumber: Vinyl as decking material? It’s actually very beautiful and can come in white or any color you prefer. Just make sure to seek out vinyl lumber featuring UV inhibitors that are “built in” to the material. Otherwise, you risk having an inhibitor that’s sprayed on and not nearly as good.

Synthetic options: If you’re low maintenance and want your deck to be, too, synthetic might be the match for you. There are plastic options, which are often green and made from recycled grocery bags or jugs. They’re non-absorbent and can be made in any color—they can even be painted. However, it’ll never look like wood, so you can’t have your heart set on an all natural looking vibe. You’ll also need to take care if installing this yourself, since sliding clips are necessary.

Wood-polymer lumber: Half recycled plastic and half “waste wood”, this is the eco-friendly material you’ve been searching for. Stain it or paint it—it looks just like real wood and feels like it but needs almost zero maintenance.

Ready to get all decked out? Find your perfect material match today and see how gorgeous your home’s exterior can really be.