If you’re planning to build a deck, you need to find the right material. You have two main options: wood or composite. Although composite is often cheaper, it isn’t as strong as wood. So you should think about how often you’ll need to replace it, and how long it will last. It also takes some maintenance, so you’ll need to keep it clean and stain it regularly.
Wood is the traditional choice for building a deck, and it’s still the most popular option. However, there are other choices, and a few newer materials have become more viable.
Among the most common and durable decking materials are redwood and cedar. Cedar is naturally resistant to decay and rot, and it is also easy to work with. Plus, it has a great natural look. Redwood has a dark color and a tight grain. The board can be stained or painted, or left as is. Depending on the type of redwood, you may want to refinish it every few years to avoid stain bleed.
Another alternative is composites, which are made from plastic and waste wood fibers. These boards are not as stiff as wood, so they will move a bit more in response to temperature changes. They are also able to bend more easily than wood. As long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. But they do cost more than most other types of decking.
Besides composites, other alternatives to wood are teak, mahogany, and Cumaru. The latter is also known as Brazilian Teak, and it’s much stronger than other woods. Both of these woods can be used for a wood deck, but they are more expensive than others.
Ipe is another wood that is gaining popularity among deck builders. This wood decking hardwood is naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insect infestations. Despite its reputation for being hard to work with, it’s a good option for those who don’t have the time or inclination to handle other kinds of materials.
Another popular option for decking is Cumaru, also known as Brazilian Teak. Like Ipe, it’s an environmentally friendly option. Cumaru is more dense than other hardwoods, and it doesn’t have the same splinters that southern pine can. However, it does require proper ventilation under the deck. Also, it needs to be spaced 1/4 inch apart, or it will buckle.
Pressure-treated lumber is another popular option for building a deck. However, the chemicals in the process can be highly corrosive, so you should always wear a mask when working with pressure-treated wood.
Composites are also a good option for those looking for a low-maintenance deck. However, composites can be more expensive than other woods. Unlike wood, composites don’t need to be painted, stained, or cleaned. Additionally, they are resistant to UV damage.
While pressure-treated wood has become more popular, the shortage of chemical solution has driven up the price of some woods. If you’re on a budget, try using southern yellow pine instead.