Choosing Decking Materials
Choosing the right decking material for your project is one of the most important decisions.
Here are some factors to consider:
And these are the different categories of deck materials that are available.
- Softwood Decking (Pressure treated or Cedar)
- Composite Decking (Fiberon, Trex, Timbertech and others)
- PVC Decking (Fiberon Promenade Series, Wolf, Azek and others)
- Hardwood Decking (Ipe Decking, Garapa, Tigerwood, Cumaru)
Now let us describe these categories of decking to help you make the best choice for your project.
Up until 1995 this was the only option available to clients in North America. Most people got pressure treated decks (used to be green color, now it is brown) and those who wanted a premium material - went for cedar. These remain the most popular decking choices in terms of the quantity of decking sold, but every year this category is losing ground as consumers become more educated about the choices and as the technology continues to improve in the composite/pvc decking category. Pressure treated or cedar decking is still the cheapest option, but it is only marginally cheaper than entry level composite decking.
Softwood decking looks reasonably good when new, but it will warp, crack, grey and splinter if it is not maintained annually. The amount of work that needs to go in to maintain a cedar or a pressure treated deck exceeds the initial savings. Additionally, cedar decking last an average of 10 years and pressure treated around 15 years. Cedar has a great small and appearance when new, and we recommend installing it for some projects on fences and screens - but on the decking surface, it just does not last and requires too much maintenance.