4 Types of Decking Materials

Installing a deck is a great way to expand your living space while also increasing the value of your property. You can enjoy pleasant weather with friends and neighbors on the backyard deck. Choosing the right material is an important decision whether you’re building a new deck or renovating an old one. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of commonly used types of decking materials.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Southern yellow pine is the wood that is most often used for pressure-treated lumber. This material has been chemically treated to resist insects and rot. It is one of the most widely used types of decking materials because it is readily available and affordable. Decks, sheds, and pergolas are often built from this type of wood.


  • Installation is easy.
  • Materials are inexpensive.
  • It is available at any home improvement store.
  • The chemicals used to make pressure-treated wood help the wood last longer.


  • This type of material requires a lot of maintenance.
  • It may crack or warp over time.
  • Every few years, this wood needs to be repainted or resealed.
  • If properly maintained, it has a lifespan of 10-15 years.

Composite Types of Decking Materials

Composite decking is made up of a mix of plastic, wood fiber, and a binder. These components combine to create a material that is denser, heavier, and harder than pressure-treated lumber.


  • It’s simple to maintain. You won’t have to stain, paint, or seal it.
  • These decking materials are not prone to splintering.
  • Composites resist warping, insects, and rot.
  • This material is durable and has a life expectancy of several decades.
  • Most composite products include a guarantee.


  • This material is more expensive than pressure-treated wood.
  • Composites made of wood scrap will deteriorate over time.
  • Mold can grow on them in wet environments.
  • These types of decking materials can be scratched and the color may fade.

Types of Decking Material: Cedar and Redwood

Because of its resistance to moisture, cedar is often selected as a decking material. Despite its softness, cedar resists rot and pest infestations better than most other woods. Redwood is similar to cedar in terms of durability and toughness. It is resistant to humidity, rot, and insects.


  • These materials are aesthetically pleasing due to the attractive wood grain.
  • They are less expensive than other hardwoods.
  • Because installation is not difficult, the labor costs are reasonable.
  • They are resilient to pests and rot.


  • They require regular upkeep.
  • Once a year, the deck will need to be pressure-washed.
  • It is prone to chipping and cracking if not well maintained.
  • To preserve its color, the decking will have to be stained. Otherwise, it will fade to grey.

Tropical Hardwood Decking

Ipe and mahogany are two of the many types of decking materials available in this category. Because of their natural oils, they’re resistant to warping, termites, and moisture damage, making them ideal for decks and other outdoor structures.


  • Tropical hardwoods are available in most areas.
  • They’re firm, long-lasting, and naturally resistant to decay and insects.
  • They can last up to 50 years with proper maintenance.


  • Compared to other types of decking materials, tropical hardwoods are more expensive.
  • Because they are dense, drilling holes into them is difficult.
  • Installation takes longer because of the hardness of the boards.

When planning for a new deck, weigh the pros and cons of each type of material. You’ll find one that is right for your style and your budget.

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