Thinking of building a deck, but you’re confused by the variety of decking materials available to you?  Here’s a quick guide to understanding decking materials that’ll help you choose.

Pressure-Treated Wood.  Pressure-treated wood is lumber that’s saturated with chemicals that form a shield against rot, pests, and fungi.

PROS:

  • Standard for structural elements in decks of all sorts.
  • A hardy option for boards and railings.

CONS:

  • Be careful not to install it where it can come into direct contact with food or drinking water.
  • New installations require an entire summer in the sun to air out before you can seal or finish them.Alt=how to choose decking material

Natural Wood.  Natural wood choices include cedar, redwood, and ipe, a beautiful and resilient exotic hardwood.

PROS:

  • Natural beauty.
  • Pest-resistant.

CONS:

  • Requires periodic finishing and sealing to retain its beauty and fend off rot. 
  • Natural wood requires the most ongoing maintenance.

CompositeComposites are easy-care blends of wood and recycled plastic, available in a range of colors and styles that imitate favorite wood varieties and grains.

PROS:

  • Dimensionally stable -- will stand up to the elements for years.

CONS:

  • Requires periodic cleaning to prevent the formation of mildew that can be attracted by the wood that’s in the mix.
  • Decking boards are not as stiff as conventional lumber and therefore can look wavy.

With the right information about your decking options, you'll know which material to choose when building a deck onto your home. Enjoy the outdoors!