If you, like many out there are planning on building a deck this summer take some time to review all of the decking options available. This step can be quite the task since each material has unique properties that effect the way you choose colours, install and maintain it. Each option also includes different positives and negatives that need to be carefully considered before you even begin planning.
I have laid out the most popular decking options available with a brief overview of the qualities and properties for each one.
Red Cedar Planks
Red cedar is a popular choice for a building material and is quite often used over the entire home. It can be used as wood siding shakes, fencing material, pathways and of course decks. This wood is aromatic, warm and naturally resistant to bugs and rot. It can be painted, stained or stripped down and refinished if you ever change your mind. You can even leave it unfinished to naturally age overtime to a silvery gray colour.
Even though it is resistant to rot it may still need to eventually be replaced especially if boards start to split. This wouldn't happen for many years but is still something to consider.
Pressure Treated Wood
Pressure treating is a process that used pressure to force preservatives deep into wood so that its resistant to bugs and decay. A number of different woods can be pressure treated but the most common type you will see is pine. You can easily paint or stain pressure treated wood like any other but some types require a time for curing before doing so. Its best to research exactly what your buying to know when you can safely paint or stain it.
One thing that might sway you away from pressure treated wood is the fact that its essentially a chemical saturated material. Eventually this protection will leach out into the surrounding soil and the wood will rot like anything else but this shouldn't happen for a couple decades.
Composite Decking Material
Composite decking is a combination of recycled materials and a bonding agent like glue or resin that is moulded into the shape of planks with a wood like grain pattern. The colour is usually integrated into a protective coating that is applied to 3 or 4 sides of the board and is resistant to scratches, dings and fading. Composited are also extremely resistant to warping or splitting which means you may never need to replace it.
Some composites cannot be repainted or stained as these coatings will not bond to the surface. This means that you may not be able to change the colour in a couple years if your plan on renovating.
Cellular PVC is an extruded plastic that is coated with a pre-coloured wood grain foil or vinyl wrap. They are essentially maintenance free and impervious to moisture. It wont rot, attract bugs and would probably never need to be replaced for as long as you live in your home.
While it does remains extremely resilient its also nearly impossible to fix or touch up if ever scratched. Cracked boards cant be filled or sanded and must be replaced all together. Since some degree of fading occurs new board will stick out like a sore thumb. These also can never be repainted or stained a new colour which means you have to live with one colour for the life of the deck which could be a very long time.