Will you use wood, cedar or composite?
Wooden decks can certainly be beautiful (and often less expensive than composite materials), they also require significantly more upkeep as you need to protect the wood from weather damage, insects and general wear and tear. Composite, on the other hand, is made from wood fibers and plastic and, while initially more expensive than wood, boasts a longer lifetime without staining, fading or rotting.
Wood Decking: Pressure-Treated-Treated with chemicals to repel insects and water, Southern pine or fir is the most common and least expensive type of decking. Although pressure-treated wood requires yearly washing, sanding, and sealing, when finished with a clear sealant, it can last up to 30 years if maintained properly.
Wood Decking: Rot-Resistant-Cedar, cypress, and redwood are naturally rot-resistant. These woods cost more than pressure-treated lumber, but will last many years with proper care. You'll find them readily in coastal areas of the West and South for their ability to withstand salt spray. Redwood is the most expensive, while cypress isn't as strong as other wood types.
Wood Alternatives: Composite Decking-Made with recycled materials like wood waste and plastic sacks, composite decking requires minimal maintenance, doesn't need to be sanded or painted, and is generally weather-resistant. It also comes in a variety of colors and styles.
More Frequently Asked Questions
- Stud Vs. 2 x 4. What's the difference?
- OSB Board vs MDF Board vs Plywood – Isn't it all the same thing?
- Why is my 2 x 4 not 2 inches by 4 inches?
- What do all of those letters even mean?
- What are Pressure Treated and ACQ lumber?