Choosing your own decking material to create an outdoor space is a great option for any homeowner, as it's not very complicated to build a deck on your own. However, you need to be careful about the decking material you choose so you know your deck will last for many years to come. Note a few commonly asked questions about choosing decking material so you can ensure you make the right choice for your home.
What is meant by composite decking material?
Composite decking material is made of wood and plastic pieces, mixed with a resin to make it strong. This material looks and feels very similar to solid wood but may last much longer over time, as the plastic in the mixture makes the wood less susceptible to rot, insect infestation, mildew, and the like. The wood pieces can be from a number of different species and may be chips or sawdust, either virgin or recycled material; the plastic may contain recycled pieces as well. This can make it a very eco-friendly choice for your deck.
What is meant by pressure-treated lumber?
Natural wood has many nooks and crannies that absorb moisture, causing the wood to expand and contract as it gets wet and then dries out over time. This makes the wood bow, cup, and otherwise become warped, or causes it to crack and chip. That moisture can also lead to mildew and mold inside the wood.
Pressure treated lumber has been put through a type of pressure that helps close up those nooks and crannies and which makes the wood more solid and much stronger overall. The wood is then less likely to warp, chip, crack, be infested with termites and other insects, or become mildewed. Note that pressure treated lumber will still need regular sealing for added protection over the lifetime of your deck.
Are redwood and cedar the same?
Redwood and cedar look very similar, but they are actually different types of wood. Redwood is usually considered stronger than cedar and it may be better at retaining its color over time, although it can also be one of the most expensive woods you might choose. Cedar is a bit softer and may be more prone to chipping and cracking so it's not always the most popular choice for deck flooring. You might use it for railings and privacy walls around your deck, while choosing a stronger material such as redwood for the deck flooring.