How to Opt for Your Decking Materials

There are several decking materials on the market from wood, composite (wood-plastic blend) and vinyl/plastic. Wood has a tendency to have lower initial cost but more maintenance effort and price, specifically if the desired color is not the natural weathered color. Wood appears like wood. Composites usually are in the middle to top quality in initial cost, lower on maintenance effort and cost, and great for color retention. Composites do not look the same as wood. Vinyl/plastic is often the best in initial cost, longest in expected service life, lowest in maintenance cost and effort, and just the thing for color retention. Vinyl/plastic also doesn't look just like wood.


WOOD. Most decking positioned in the U.S. is wood and a lot wood decking is treated pine. Treated pine is treated in order to avoid rot (CCA has become eliminated and contains been replaced with ACQ & anything else). They're acronyms for that chemicals from the treatments. The wood most commonly treated is southern yellow pine. The type with the wood itself, not treatments, helps it be at risk of twisting, splitting, warping and splintering. Some other woods in use are cedar, redwood, IPE, Tigerwood, Massaranduba and Garapa.

COMPOSITE. Composite decking is often a distant second in popularity after wood but is currently accepted ever in new deck installations and re-decks (re-use old deck framing and replace old deck boards and railing with new composite materials). "Composite" means that the decking is molded or extruded coming from a secret formula this is a combination of wood and plastic or vinyl. The wood is often a wood flour of various grinds and species. The plastic is often times polyethylene or polypropylene. There are various ratios of wood to plastic and different mixtures of recycled & virgin plastic. All of these things affect performance characteristics. Composite decking is available in regular plank, tongue & groove, grain finish, solid colors, and mixed colors.

VINYL/PLASTIC. Vinyl/plastic decking has become more popular which is primarily taking market share out of the composite deck segment. Decking profiles are typically plank however with a few manufacturers supplying a tongue & groove. Vinyl/plastic decking can be found in a grain or smooth finish, solid colors, and mixed colors.

Areas to consider

"Wood seems like hardwood along with the initial expense is reduced with pine although not necessarily so with some from the other woods
"Wood weathers and changes color - requires periodic cleaning and staining to take care of a colour besides the naturally weathered color
"Southern yellow pine splits, cracks and splinters over time
"Exotic woods like IPE, Tigerwood, Massaranduba and Garapa can be more expensive such as the split and crack like pine.
"Wood have to be replaced (usually before many other materials) eventually which varies with exposure, maintenance and luck
"Wood requires some maintenance for the most powerful performance fix life - usually pressure washed to have clean
"Maintenance costs time and/or money and may offset any initial cost benefits.

"Initial price is significantly above pine, but exactly like the exotic woods
"Longer service life
"Lower maintenance cost as well as than wood - usually cleaned having a power washer or a chemical solution wash & flush
"No painting, staining or sealing
"No splinters
"Variety of colours
"Variety of textures - embossed wood, grain, grooved, smooth
"Mixed colors and grains
"Hidden fasteners
"May grow fungus from the wood component - can be challenging and troublesome to scrub completely
"May stain - cleaning methods vary with type of stain and wood component

"Initial expense is usually same or older than composites
"Longer service life
"Least amount of maintenance as well as - usually cleaned having a water hose
"No painting, staining or sealing
"No splinters
"Maintains original look and color lasting
"Variety of colors except for dark colors like brown
"Variety of textures - embossed wood, grain, grooved, smooth
"Mixed colors and grains
"Hidden fasteners
"No mold or mildew
"No stains
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