Adding a composite deck to your home is an excellent remodelling investment as a homeowner. It’s a great place to enjoy outdoor get-togethers and meals with your friends and family. A deck also offers a perfect area to place your décor like garden sculptures and potted plants, which add to the overall appeal of your home, a huge factor in property valuation.
The need for an extended living space outdoors explains why decking has become a popular part of the construction industry in recent years. Today, thousands of homeowners have built decks for their homes. If reports are anything to go by, the global wooden decking market could reach over AUD$13.56B (USD$8.7B) by 2027.
As this market grows, consumers now have a wealth of options in terms of design and material. This surplus of alternatives might make you feel intimidated when renovating or building a new deck. So how can you go about choosing the best decking material for your project?
The main types of decking materials
There are several options when it comes to decking materials. However, the main types are wood, vinyl and composite decking. Wood is still the most commonly used material, hence the rapidly growing global wooden decking market. Some types of wood you can choose from include pressure-treated wood, cedar, and hardwood. Each of them has its pros and cons depending on your project.
Another category of materials is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Sometimes referred to as vinyl, these low-maintenance plastics are available in many designs and levels of quality.
The third option is composite decking. Composite refers to a mixture of different materials. Technically, it combines the strengths of the items used to make it, hence their excellent durability. Polythene and wood are often used together, but you’ll also find some with rice hulls and other products.
What should you consider when deciding the best option? Here are some factors:
1. Total cost
Materials determine more than half of the total construction costs for a deck. On average, you’ll have to shell out AUD$120–AUD$180 per square metre (sqm) for lumber decks and AUD$250–AUD$550 per sqm for composite materials. Therefore, it’s important to consider your available budget when shopping for the best items for your project. Be sure to compare the prices across various stores before making your final decision.
Nonetheless, there are several things that influence decking cost. Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean high quality and vice versa. More often than not, cheaper materials will have a financial advantage in the short term. But they can lead to high maintenance costs down the road.
On the other hand, with high-quality materials, you’ll only incur high costs upon purchasing them. The installation process may also cost more money. But after that, the maintenance expenses are always considerably lower compared to their cheaper counterparts.
Another important factor to consider is how long the materials will last before they require any repairs or replacements. Using durable materials, you’ll spend less on maintenance in the long run. So how will you know the durability of the items you choose? It all comes down to the type and quality level of the building materials.
On one hand, wood gives your home a natural, rustic beauty. However, when not treated regularly, it tends to deteriorate over time. It’s even worse if your area experiences extreme weather conditions. The solution to this is to treat wood to increase the lifespan of your deck.
In fact, studies show that decks made of untreated wood might last between 20 and 30 years. On the other hand, their treated counterparts and composite-based decks can make it past 50 years. The latter options are an ideal investment. They’re less likely to warp or rot even in extreme conditions. Most composite decks are also free from insect infestation because the combined materials are less appealing to the insects.
3. Deck appearance
Before you start building or renovating a deck, it’s a good idea to picture the finished product. See if it matches your home’s design and, most importantly, your needs. The materials you choose will have a huge impact on your property’s exterior aesthetic appeal.
If you want a classic look and natural beauty, for many wood would be the first choice. But be prepared to spend time cutting wood into your desired shapes for a unique appearance. Also, make sure you’re ready for the maintenance cost because it might change colour over time.
On the other hand, composite materials may fit into any design of your choice. Depending on the quality and brand, you can find some composites that match the authentic appearance of lumber. For a virtually maintenance-free composite material with a high anti-slip rating (P5), you can check out composite Millboard decking by Concept Materials for your deck construction or renovations. It features the natural look of wood but is timber-free, so you won’t have to deal with mould or algae.
No matter what, be sure to take your time when choosing such materials for your decking project.
There is no one-option-fits-all approach with decking materials. Wood can be a great choice for some projects, while vinyl and composites might work better for others. Therefore, you must consider your budget, the material’s durability and the design you had in mind before making your final decision. With these factors, you’ll have all it takes to build a deck you can be proud of.