Building a deck for your home is a worthwhile project that can add tremendous value, but you also need to make sure that you are prepared and ready for such a large job. There are a handful of different types of deck materials that you can choose from, and making sure you pick the right one will have a big impact on the overall look and structure of your deck. Some types are more durable, while others may offer a style unique to that material. Before you start designing the deck, it is important to understand the basics of how each material is prepared, used, and treated. Here is a guide that you can use to help you make the choice that is right for your project.
Wood is by far the most popular choice for homeowners when it comes to building a deck. Wood is generally one of the cheapest materials to obtain and can be stained, painted, or even kept natural by applying only a wood sealer. Using wood basically gives you unlimited design options, which can be important if you are going after a certain look or have limited space to work with. The only potential downside to having a wood deck is the maintenance. Wood needs annual maintenance to stay fresh and to keep from rotting. You might also have to paint or stain every few years if the sun has started to fade the color. However, to offset this you can opt to pay a bit more for more expensive paints or stains that will last up to 10 years.
Vinyl has become a very popular choice lately because it is very clean and durable. However, vinyl is one of the most expensive materials you can use to build a deck. Most of the time, people that choose a vinyl deck do so because they have a special look they are going after or they need a deck that matches their vinyl fence. Also, you will never have to paint or stain vinyl, which is certainly an appealing quality when compared to the level of maintenance that a wood deck requires. Although vinyl is durable, it is more difficult to install than wood and the design options are slightly more limited.
Composite decks, which are half polymer and half wood, have also begun to gain popularity because they combine the maintenance free appeal of vinyl and combine it with the natural look of wood. Although they are significantly more expensive than wood, they are also more durable. The only thing you need to be careful about when buying composite material is to make sure you buy quality materials. Since composite decks cannot be refinished, if a deck warps or fades quickly, you will have to replace it piece by piece.
If you are struggling to choose the right material to build your deck, then I urge you to carefully examine your design, budget, and maintenance requirements before choosing a material. Luckily, there are enough options that you can meet any price and design requirement, as long as you know what you are looking for.
This article posted Jan 1, 2009.