When installing a new deck, your first decision is what materials to use. There are four common types of decking planks that you need to know about.
1. Natural Wood
Natural wood is the preferred choice of decking boards for some, as it has the beauty and the benefits of real wood. This is in part because it provides a chemical-free alternative to pressure-treated lumber.
The main drawback of natural wood is that it will eventually begin to degrade and rot. You can prevent this for a very long time by opting for redwood or cedar woods, as these woods are naturally resistant to rot and pest damage. The wood will need to be sealed annually against rot and damage so that it can have a long life with few problems.
2. Pressure Treated Wood
Pressure-treated decking lumber is less expensive than redwood and cedar, and it still supplies the look of natural wood. The wood is pressure treated with various chemicals that keep rot and insects at bay.
One option is to use the more cost-efficient pressure-treated wood for underpinnings or support posts for the deck, since this area beneath the deck is more prone to moisture damage, and only use more costly natural wood for the visible walking surface. This way, you can enjoy the beauty of the natural wood while taking advantage of the longevity and lower cost of pressure-treated lumber.
3. Wood Composite Planks
Composite decking planks are made with a combination of natural wood sawdust and a variety of plastic or vinyl binders. The decking boards look very much like natural wood, but they won't rot, suffer insect damage, or degrade much due to weathering. In most cases, composite decking is much more durable than natural wood.
A huge benefit of composite is the reduced maintenance, as it won't need to be repainted or sealed. Further, many composite decking systems are designed to quickly fit together, making installation much easier.
4. Synthetic Planks
Synthetic decking planks are much like composite, except they contain no natural wood and are only made of plastic or vinyl synthetics. You can find synthetic decking in a huge range of colors, including natural wood, as well as custom colors ranging from white to brighter hues designed to match a home's trim.
Much like composite, synthetic systems are often designed to fit together easily so that construction goes quickly. Upkeep is minimal once installed.
Contact a local company to learn more about decking supplies.