The options are nearly limitless when it comes to picking a material to build a deck. Wood and plastic are two popular choices that homeowners struggle with. Before you decide to go with either, evaluate several factors. Questions such as the budget you have, the location of the deck, its applications, size and style all need answers before you can make a final choice. The material you pick will determine the durability, appearance and comfort levels of a deck, making it essential to weigh the pros and cons of each. So, should you opt for plastic or wood?
Plastic as a decking material is very low maintenance since it does not contain wood fibres or fillers. It means that even with exposure to moisture, there is no chance of water sipping through the material. The lack of wood fibres also prevents the growth of mould in the deck, which makes it highly resistant to decay. If you are building a deck in an area where it is bound to get wet, say near a swimming pool, plastic is an ideal choice. Another plus point for plastic is that it does not splinter, which is a common concern with decking material. Lack of splintering allows you to walk on a deck barefooted, and it also is safe for children. Timbertech plastic decking is stain-resistant, thus, adding to its trait as a low-maintenance deck material.
With this decking material, you can get plastic lumber, which is 100% plastic (virgin or recycled), or composite that contains components of wood fibres. Composite decking offers the advantage of very quick installation. Even with its benefits, though, plastic still presents some challenges. Typically, manufacturers sell it as part of a system; and so, the installation process has to be precise, consequently requiring the expertise of a professional. Another downside you may experience with a plastic deck is that when the temperatures are too high, the surface can get very hot, making it uncomfortable to walk on if you have no shoes on.
Wood PT Lumber
Wood decking material provides incredible versatility with pressure treated lumber being a leading choice. Even with other decking materials, PT lumber is still utilised on the beams, joists and posts. Pressure treated wood is widely available; and therefore, affordable. It is also treated chemically to resist fungus, decay and bugs. One shortcoming of the material is its dimensional instability that leaves it susceptible to warping, swelling, splitting and cracking.
Tropical hardwoods are making quite a splash in the decking market with their extreme durability, high density and natural resistance to rot. If you are going for that real wood deck, and cost is not an issue, then tropical hardwoods are a sound investment. Even with the variety of species, it can be hard to find a tropical hardwood supplier because they are rare exports.
Redwood & Red Cedar
For a deck that offers a naturally gorgeous look, redwood and Red Cedar are common choices. Both are resistant to harsh weather and provide more resilience against splitting and warping than PT lumber. The cost depends on the grade of the wood, which differs across a broad spectrum.