An Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Right Outdoor Decking Products!
It's more difficult than ever to choose an outdoor decking material if you're planning on building a wooden deck this summer. Wood was the sole material available just a few years ago, and there were only a few different kinds. It's now possible to choose from a variety of outdoor decking options that include plastic, composite, and hardwood imports.
Consider all of your alternatives before making a final decision on the sort of decking material you'll select, as well as the degree of upkeep necessary to keep your deck looking its best for many years. Here are a few of the most common materials for your deck's construction.
No wonder pressure-treated (PT) decking remains the most popular kind of outdoor decking on the market today; it's inexpensive, reasonably durable, and can be stained in any color you like.
The majority of PT decking is made from southern yellow pine and chemically treated to prevent rot, fungus, and wood-boring bugs. 2x6s (90 cents per linear foot) and 5/4 x 6-in. planks ( $1 per linear foot) are the two most prevalent sizes of PT decking. A 2x4 may be utilized (at 65 cents per linear foot) for smaller decks, although this is rare.
However, when exposed to weather, this kind of timber is susceptible to warping and shrinking as a result of its poor dimensional stability; this is why PT lumber is not recommended for use in exterior construction. Due to significant warping, it is not uncommon for a deck board to be replaced within a year or two but Classic Composite Fascia / Cladding Board is something else. It has long lifespan as compared to others and also resistant towards rain, water and sunlight. So you can go for it.
Additionally, PT decking has a higher upkeep need than the majority of other decking options. An annual power wash and a fresh coat of exterior-grade stain or clear wood preservative every two to three years are required to keep the deck looking new and lasting longer than normal. Not all chemically-treated decking requires no upkeep.
The Redwood And The Cedar
Redwood and Western red cedar round out the top three most common types of outdoor decking timber. They are regarded for their rich color, natural beauty, and lack of additives or preservatives, all of which contribute to their popularity. They are both inherently resistant to rot, decay, and ravenous insects because they contain tannins or oils.
It is important to remember that the degree of weather and pest resistance in the boards is directly proportional to the quantity of heartwood in the boards. The heartwood of a tree, which is found closer to the tree's core, is particularly dense, robust, and decay-resistant. Sapwood is found on the tree's exterior limbs, close to the bark, and is softer and more prone to rot than the wood found within. If you want to build a deck, talk to your lumber merchant about what quality of wood would be ideal. Here are a few ideas:
Both the structure and deck typical grades of redwood decking are striped with sapwood and have knots. B-grade redwood, on the other hand, is a better option since it has fewer knots and is mostly made up of heartwood. If you want a deck made entirely of heartwood, consider construction redwood.
Red cedar decking comes in four distinct grades:
- Architect clear
- Custom clear
- Architect knotty
- And custom knotty (in that order)
There are just a few grades of cedar and redwood at most lumberyards, but they can typically order anything you need.
Redwood and cedar are three to five times as expensive as pressure-treated timber in much of the nation, depending on the grade. But on the West Coast, especially in California and the higher Northwest, both species are far less costly.
An annual power wash and finish coat are required for redwood and cedar decking, respectively. If you use a water-repellent wood preservative, you should be less likely to see checking in your wood's surface (fine splits). The silvery-gray tint of redwood or cedar will gradually deteriorate despite the use of clear coats. For cedar or redwood, you'll need to use a semitransparent stain that's colored and prepared particularly for use on the wood.
About 20 years ago, the market for tropical hardwood decking began to emerge. Several species, such as garapa, massaranduba, cumaru, red tauari, tigerwood, and ipe, are now widely accessible from coast to coast, thanks to the widespread distribution of these trees. Highly robust and resistant to rot and insect infestations due to its dense grain structure. A pilot hole must be drilled before screwing into a piece of tropical decking, and this is why concealed fasteners are often used to hold it to the edge of the boards.
In the beginning, tropical hardwoods were prohibitively costly, but now they're just slightly more expensive than fine-grade redwood or cedar in most regions of the country. There are several other names for ipe (EE-pay), but the most frequent is Ironwood (EE-pay). In appearance, it resembles mahogany, but its darker crimson color gives it a more luxurious feel. ipe decking measuring 5/4 x 6 in. will set you back roughly $5 per linear foot.
The dense nature of tropical hardwood outdoor decking makes it difficult to stain. The patina will develop over time if left unpainted. Apply a UV-blocking clear wood preservative every two or three years if you don't plan on staining the deck to improve water resistance and reduce checking.
If you want to preserve the wood's original color by staining it, choose a penetrating stain developed for hardwood decking. For softwood decking, the most common deck stains are not suitable for use.
It's important to verify with your lumber dealer before purchasing tropical wood or any other wood to be sure it was obtained lawfully and sustainably by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
In today's market, composite decking and PVC decking, which are closely related, are the fastest-growing outdoor decking goods. Decking made from recycled plastic and wood dust is molded into long, dense boards and is known as composite decking for example Capped Composite Decking Board from The Composite Company. Known as synthetic decking, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a plastic composite that contains no wood fibers or fillers.
Outdoor decking made of composite and PVC materials is gaining in popularity since it requires little upkeep. These two materials are extremely durable, easy to maintain, and will never warp, cup, splinter, or rot. Also, they don't need to be sanded or stained before use. Colors and wood-grain textures abound, giving the impression of real wood from a distance.
Even though many homeowners believe that composites are better at simulating genuine wood than PVC. When it comes to carrying and lifting PVC decking, it is far lighter than composite decking. In addition, many composite and plastic decking manufacturers provide matching railings, balusters, and fascias as an additional option.
PVC decking is 10 to 15 percent more expensive than wood composites, but wood composites cost two to three times as much as pressure-treated wood.
Aside from the fact that you may have never seen an aluminum deck or even heard of one, aluminum is a near-perfect outdoor decking product: Not only does it have an extraordinarily high resistance to mold and mildew but it will also not decay or corrode. Its powder-coated surface is very indestructible, and it will never peel or blister under normal conditions. You won't catch fire with it since it's made of aluminum, which is also resistant to wood-boring insects.
Aluminum decking is three to four times lighter and two to three times stronger than wood, composite, and plastic timber. The same saws and carbide-tipped blades that are used to cut wood may be used to cut this kind of material. Also, don't be concerned about your deck appearing like the bleachers from your high school. Wood-grain textures and hues may be found on most aluminum decking.
Watertight decks may be created by interconnecting aluminum deck planks. For second-story decks, self-draining channels are a great feature since they collect and dispose of rainfall while keeping the area below dry.
Right about now, you're probably wondering whether the sun doesn't make metal sizzle? The better heat dissipation capabilities of aluminum decking allow it to keep its temperature lower than most other forms of decking. Because dense materials like wood and composites can keep the heat for a long time, hot surfaces may be created. However, compared to the other outdoor decking materials, aluminum is the most costly.
There are many options when it comes to outdoor decking, and choosing the right one is critical. Each style of decking has its visual appeal, maintenance needs, and other key elements to bear in mind while making a decision.
As a result, there has been a lot of disagreement regarding how sustainable certain species are. If this is a concern, several internet tools may assist you in making an informed decision.
In addition to cost and aesthetics, there are several other considerations to keep in mind while selecting outdoor decking products. It helps to be well-versed in your options if you want to make the best decision for your deck.