When it comes to building a deck, using the right type of decking is one of the most important decisions to make. The options are widely varied, and the one you choose should be based upon four main factors: cost, appearance, climate conditions in your area, and local building codes.
Certain decking materials will cost more than others. For example, your standard pressure-treated wood decking is far less expensive than decking materials such as. When building a deck, the best thing to start with is a budget of both time and money to determine how quickly and reasonably you will be able to afford certain types of decking. When factoring in cost, remember certain types of decking are also more difficult and time consuming to install, so you will have to pay more to your contractor or builder for labor.
What do you want the deck to look like? If you want it to look like real wood, then you should probably choose a real wood deck over a composite material. Though wood will break down due to weather conditions and moisture, composite decking color will fade. If you take time to treat and seal your wood decking, you can prolong the life of your deck.
Most wooden decks will last around 20 years, but if treated properly, a mahogany deck could last as long as 40 years. A composite material deck will not break down, as it could last forever in a landfill, but as the colors will fade at different rates at various locations on the deck, it could look quite strange several years later. You can refinish wood decking to restore an appearance of youth, but once a composite fades, it fades.
The climate conditions in your area should play a role in the decision of what kind of decking material to purchase. If you live in an area of high humidity or where it rains often, wooden decking materials could have a drastically shorter life span unless you are willing to take the necessary precautions to provide proper care and maintenance to your deck, by weather treating it and sealing it. If you live in an area where properly caring for a wooden deck could be an issue, then opting for a composite material would be the better choice.
Local Building Codes
Pay close attention to your local building codes. Make sure your deck is built in compliance with those codes. If you are also removing an older deck from the property, ensure it is properly disposed of. Building a deck without consideration for local building codes could prove problematic when the building inspector comes out to approve it, or when it is time to sell the property.
The decking material you choose should be available within your budget. You should choose something you think looks great, or meshes with existing décor, both inside and out. The material should be able to withstand the local climate conditions, so as to provide long-term value. The decking material you select should also make it easier to comply with the local building codes in your area. Finding the right one to conform to all four of these guidelines may be tricky, but once you do it, you will have a beautiful, safe deck that will last.