Which Decking Material Is Best?

Written by jessica kolifrath
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Which Decking Material Is Best?
Wood is a category of decking material with hundreds of options. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Building a deck adds value and outdoor living space to your home. There are few choices when it comes to the concrete anchors a deck requires, but the number of choices available in decking material for posts and floorboards is staggering. Avoid being distracted by exotic woods and the newest fads by focusing on the best decking materials.

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Composite

Composite decking materials are pressed planks consisting of wood pulp and one of two types of plastic. The best composite decks stay one colour for many years, resist scratching and simulate the look of real wood, says Decks.com. Choose a composite decking plank that is compression-moulded for the maximum strength and for a more realistic look. If you are looking for an environmentally friendly material, choose a brand that uses waste wood pulp. Composite decking can't be stained or refinished.

Aluminium

Aluminium may look futuristic, but it is a durable and strong decking material. Interlocking aluminium deck systems are the best for creating a dry space below your deck, and aluminium planks require almost no maintenance. Powder coatings are applied to the decking to create a matt finish and neutral colours. Despite the heat absorption qualities of other metals, aluminium decking doesn't get very warm in the direct sunlight of summer. The nontraditional look is the main drawback to this material.

Wood

Decks have been constructed of wood since they were first built. Wood remains popular as a decking material because of its natural style, easy installation and familiarity, says This Old House. Close-grained hardwoods tend to last the longest when exposed to weathering, but redwood and cedar may be the best wood for decking due to their natural resistance to water and sunlight. You can also cut wood planks smoothly and easily yourself using a handsaw, while other decking materials may require high-powered saws.

Plastic & Vinyl

A variety of plastics and PVC vinyl are used to create alternative decking materials at a lower price than composites or aluminium. However, many of these products lack strength and become brittle after sun exposure. If you've chosen plastic as your decking material, find the best brand by looking for PET, HDPE or LDPE plastics. These are recycled materials that do not create excess pollution the way PVC vinyl does. Recycled plastics are also stronger and more durable than vinyl decking.

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