by Kimberly Hill
The purpose and design of a deck seems very simple. At first glance, they appear like nothing more than something that is part of a home’s porch or balcony. And the function of a deck truly is simple, it is nothing more than just a form of outdoor flooring in any given home that extends outside of any given home.
However, decks are made up of different materials, and knowing about these materials is very important. Because decks exist outside and stay outside, you will need to know which deck materials are optimized for what kinds of weather, whether they can resist insects, warping, and how easy it is to work with if you have decided to put your deck together yourself. Choosing a deck sight unseen is not a good idea. It is a much better idea to know what kinds of deck materials exist, this way you can make a much better decision as to which deck you should install in your home. Before exploring these types of deck materials, it is a good idea to know exactly what kinds of decks exist and which one works for your home.
Different decks exist for different homes, and something you need to understand before exploring the different kinds of deck materials is exploring different kinds of decks themselves. The first major kind of deck take the form of a porch or balcony. These decks typically extend from the side of any given home and is very common in any home. It is not difficult to build a porch or balcony with your own materials, and you typically do not need to worry about any outside elements with a porch or balcony because they are so small. Composite decks are the second type of deck. These are decks that are usually part of a home. They are usually seen in the front yard or backyard of a home and are usually used for barbecues or other social functions. You need to be aware of what kinds of weather is most common around your home when it comes to composite decks. The weather outside can affect a composite deck, and knowing about deck materials will help you a lot when it comes to composite decks.
Now that you know what the two major kinds of decks are, it is time to explore the different types of materials that make up these decks. Remember that different materials are designed to hold up to different kinds of weather. This is the single best thing to be aware of when choosing materials. If your deck materials are matched up properly with the weather outside, your deck will last a very long time.
There exist dozens of specific deck materials, but knowing about general deck materials is just as effective as knowing every little thing about the dozens of available deck materials.
Furthermore, the various combinations of materials that make up the specific materials are negligible when compared against the general deck materials. There really is no difference between a deck made of redwood and a deck made of a reinforced pine and plastic combination. Both are primarily made of wood.
The following five types of deck materials are all you’ll need to know about. Each one plays its own role in different homes and different kinds of weather.
If you want a deck for aesthetic value, look no further than tropical hardwoods. If you choose this material for your deck, you will have no shortage of types of wood that your deck can be made of. You can tell if a home uses tropical hardwood decks by how impressive they look. If your home is in an area that is very humid and around a lot of insects, you’ll want to use tropical hardwood as a deck material. It is extremely durable and is naturally resistant to insects and rotting which can often accompany humid weather. Not only does tropical hardwood cost a lot of money, but it is also very difficult to work with. If you have decided to put your deck together with tropical hardwood yourself, prepare to go to more lengths than you would using other wood based materials. If you deal with humid, overcast weather and want to really impress anyone who visits your home, go with tropical hardwood. Just be prepared to work a lot harder to put your deck together with it if you want to put it together yourself.
This type of decking material has lasted a very long time, and the reason why it has stood the test of time is because it is so easy to work with. You’ll be able to cut and fasten it very easily. You cannot go wrong with pressure treated lumber. Pressure treated lumber will also resist fungus, rotting, and wood boring bugs very well because it can be chemically treated as such without breaking the wood down. It is also very, very cost effective and if your budget is limited, pressure treated lumber is a good choice. Do not expect any given deck made of pressure treated lumber to look impressive at all. Only the simplest looking wood patterns are made of pressure treated lumber and it is not designed for aesthetic value. Stability in dimensions is also something that pressure treated lumber does not specialize in. you can expect it to crack and warp if it is not maintained constantly.
Not all decks are made of wood, and composite and plastic lumber represent a newer deck material that promises a much different and in some cases better deck experience than their wooden counterparts. You do not need to worry about cracking, warping, staining, decay, or any problem that any wooden deck encounters with composite and plastic lumber. Because of this, you will very rarely need to maintain it compared to its wooden counterparts. Another thing you will not need to worry about with composite and plastic lumber is weather. Because it is not made completely of wood, composite and plastic lumber are not nearly as affected by weather as wooden decks are.
Although, you will not impress anybody with composite and plastic lumber decks. They are as plain looking as plain looking gets, and this is because they are made of plastic more than wood. Therefore, you do not have the kind of wood selection with composite and plastic lumber that you would with something like pressure treated lumber.
Nothing looks more natural than decks made of redwood and cedar materials. This is because unlike other kinds of wooden deck materials, redwood and cedar are completely natural. They don’t utilize chemicals or preservatives like pressure treated lumber or tropical hardwood does. If your deck to stand out, go for redwood and cedar materials. Another good aspect of redwood and cedar is that they contain tannins and oils that make them naturally resistant to rot, decay, and any insect that could infect it. The best part about this is that this gives redwood and cedar the ability to self-maintain in this aspect.
Nevertheless, it can be a toss-up as to how resistant your redwood and cedar materials can be. This is because they contain two kinds of wood in their boards: Heartwood and sapwood. The more heartwood that redwood and cedar contains, the more resistant it will be. But if redwood and cedar contains more sapwood, it will be less resistant. The biggest problem with this is that it is difficult to detect the sapwood and heartwood levels in cedar and redwood based materials. If you were able to choose this would not be an issue, but this is unfortunately not the case.
Finally, we arrive at the newest form of deck material, aluminum. Aluminum decks are extremely rare, but they contain all kinds of qualities that anyone who owns a deck will find valuable. First of all, they are made of aluminum. This means there is no way that they will catch fire at all, and there is no way that it will attract insects. Warping, cracking, and other kinds of wear-and-tear that wooden deck materials encounter? None of these are an issue at all in aluminum decking. If you do not have the time to maintain wooden decks or find it the least bit unpleasant to do so, you’ll want an aluminum deck. You would think that because aluminum would absorb a lot of heat and make the decks that it is made of unpleasant to walk on when it is hot or bright outside, right? Well, this is wrong. Aluminum actually reflects sunlight, giving them a cooling effect. This is something that no other deck material can achieve. You would think that aluminum decks are not easy to work with. You would think that it would be very difficult to cut and drill parts of aluminum deck materials. But this is also wrong, and aluminum materials are just as easy to work with as any other wooden deck material. There are a couple of things that you need to watch out for when it comes to aluminum deck materials. First they are hands down the most expensive deck material in existence currently. You will need quite the budget if you want to use aluminum materials to build a deck or get an aluminum deck installed.
Second, they do not have much to offer in terms of aesthetics when compared to wooden or composite decks. They exist specifically for function and nothing else. Aluminum material decks are not easy on the eyes at all.
Also Check: Best Composite Deck Cleaner
You have a lot to choose from when it comes to building your own deck or recruiting help to build a deck. Even so, this decision does not need to be difficult, and if you are armed with information about deck materials, your decision on what you want your next (or first) deck to be made of will be much easier to make. Choosing a deck material sight unseen can be very risky, and often is an unnecessary risk. All you need to do to choose the right deck for your home is to take a little bit of time and get informed about different kinds of materials that work for you. There is nothing to be intimidated by when it comes to exploring different deck materials. If you take some time and acquire a little bit of information, you will have all the tools you’ll need to choose a deck material that is perfect for your home.
About Kimberly Hill
Now it is just me, Kimberly Hill living in New York city, N.Y.
Loves to blog about various aspects of life that matter most.
Received the BA degree in Art History from Stanford University of California.