Choosing Decking Materials

Choosing the right decking material for your project is one of the most important decisions.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Aesthetics
  • Maintenance
  • Cost
  • Rigidity

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)
image choose

Now let us describe these categories of decking to help you make the best choice for your project.

Image Softwood Decking

Softwood Decking

Aesthetics

Maintenance

Cost

Rigidy

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.

Image Composite Decking

Composite Decking

Aesthetics

Maintenance

Cost

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Composite decking has improved significantly since it was first introduced in the 90's.  It no longer fades or stains (with the exception of a few chemicals that can stain the composite deck) and it does not accumulate mole (when properly ventilated).  The scratch resistance has increased and the cost has come down significantly. Today, entry-level composite decking installed cost is only slightly higher than cedar.  There are many manufacturer's of composite decking.  Our suggestion is to select one of the major North American Brands - Trex, Fiberon or Timbertech. Delta Decks has a showroom with all of these major brands on display.  Apart from aesthetics, these materials vary based on scratch resistance, rigidity and heat absorption.  It is best you speak to one of our representatives to help you navigate through the countless choices for composite decking.    

Image PVC Decking

PVC Decking

Aesthetics

Maintenance

Cost

Rigidy

PVC decking is very similar to composite decking, with the main difference being the fact that it contains no wood fibers. These products are not as environmentally friendly, but some clients choose them for aesthetics and because they do not get as hot as composite decking in direct sunlight.  Another advantage of PVC decking products is that they perform really well in high humidity environments.  These deck boards will never absorb any moisture because they are 100% PVC.    The disadvantages of these products are high cost, lower rigidity and greater expansion and contraction rates.  The major brands of PVC decking are Fiberon, Azek and Wolf.  You will find all the major brands and colors of PVC decking in our showroom and our associates would be more than happy to help you choose the best plastic PVC decking product for your project.    

Image Hardwood Decking

Hardwood Decking

Aesthetics

Maintenance

Cost

Rigidy

This category of decking is for those clients who are looking for a natural wood look and feel and the least amount of maintenance. We carry several Brazilian hardwood such as Tigerwood, Garapa, Cumaru and Ipe, but by far the most popular decking is Ipe Decking Delta Decks became the largest installer of Ipe decks in Ontario since 2005.  Ipe decking is the most dense and scratch resistant product that is available on the market.  Ipe decking is dimensionally stable and there is very little cracking or splintering with this wood. Another advantage of Ipe decking is its rigidity.  It is several times stronger than softwood, composite or PVC decking.  Ipe decking is a natural product and thus it requires some maintenance to retain its color.  It needs to be oiled every year.  Some clients choose not to oil their Ipe and that is a good choice also, Ipe will grey, but it will not crack or warp and it will still last for over 40 years.  Ipe is very resistant to insects and rot.  Its disadvantages in relation to the other product categories are its high cost and the requirement for some maintenance.  Speak to one of our associates to get more information about Ipe decking.  We carry our own stock of the highest grade of Ipe decking and our carpenters are very experienced in working with this hardwood.                            

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