Pressure-treated wood is the most common and affordable decking material. It is usually made from southern yellow pine and then chemically treated to resist rot and insects. It should be stained and sealed after it has properly dried out. There are many stains available so you can customize the color and protect your deck. The boards will warp over time, so pressure-treated wood should be sanded, stained, and sealed every year.
Cedar and Redwood Decking Materials
Cedar and redwood are favorite decking materials for those who want to use natural wood. These softwoods have natural tannins and oils that make them resistant to decay. Heartwood, which grows at the center of the tree, has the most of these oils. There are different grades available based on the grain pattern and knots. You’ll pay more for cedar and redwood than pressure-treated wood but won’t have to seal it as often.
Tropical hardwoods, like ipe, tigerwood, and garapa, come from tropical rainforests. They require little maintenance and are very durable. Because of their density and weight, it is more labor-intensive to build a deck from these decking materials. You’ll pay more in labor and material costs for these exotic woods, however, you’ll get a beautiful deck with a long lifespan.
Composite Decking Materials
Composite decking material is made from recycled wood scraps and plastics. The best part about composite is that it’s maintenance-free. It costs more than pressure-treated wood, but you’ll spend no time sanding and sealing it each year.
Aluminum is one of the most expensive decking materials, but it is an excellent option for a few reasons. It is resistant to the elements, insects, fire, and mold. You can even find aluminum decking materials that mimic wood, so it works for any style of home.