A Contractor’s Guide To Choosing The Right Decking

deck materials

Owners looking to get work done on their homes usually have a particular look in mind, with consideration for materials taking a backseat. As such, choosing the appropriate materials for the job is often left to contractors.

This article discusses the different aspects contractors must consider when choosing deck materials to create the best outdoor spaces for homes.

Decking material options

There are three primary materials used to deck outdoor spaces, including:

  • Wood decking: This is a popular choice, as it seamlessly blends with the outdoors. Its natural aesthetic and price make wood one of the first deck options.
  • Composite decking: While wood brings an undeniable rustic charm to outdoor spaces, it also entails regular maintenance, which offsets the lower initial investment costs. Composite decking materials are ideal since they provide a natural timbre look while requiring little to no maintenance. Additionally, it’s more durable than wood, as it combines wood fibres with other materials like resin, recycled plastic, and polyurethane.
  • Plastic decking: Another popular option for decks, plastic is a similarly durable material that requires almost no maintenance work. However, despite the advancements in manufacturing technologies, it still doesn’t offer the look of natural wood and can get hot with sun exposure.

Keep reading to learn more about the best decking material options and their pros and cons.

Factors to consider when choosing a decking material

Every homeowner will have a priority when it comes to the primary material for their outdoor decks. While some will want the cheapest possible one, others won’t mind paying more if it means they don’t have to perform regular maintenance. Below are the factors you need to take into account.

1. Aesthetics: Of course, nothing can compare to wood if you’re aiming for a natural aesthetic. And with the different treatments available to make wood fire-, insect-, mould-, and rot-resistant, you can offset the traditional downsides of using wood. However, while you can pressure-treat hardwood and timbre to dampen the effects of weathering and the elements, keeping it in mint condition will remain challenging, as it will still be vulnerable to fading and warping.

If homeowners want to avoid resurfacing, staining and painting their decks, composite decking is their best option. For example, Millboard is a durable material designed to mimic the natural beauty of hardwood while eliminating the inevitable warping, rotting, and splintering of wood and timbre. It also comes in different wood grain hues, allowing you to seamlessly match and flow the house’s aesthetic to the outdoor space.

2. Durability

Regarding durability, composite materials like Millboard can withstand outdoor spaces’ demands while resisting scratches and stains and maintaining their finish. In addition, its mineral fibres are reinforced with fibreglass and coated with a polyurethane Lastane layer, making it a solid option when durability and strength are primary considerations.

Meanwhile, plastic materials, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), contain additives that make them resistant to insect infestation and rotting. Similar to composites, they can last anywhere between 25 to 50 years, making up for the higher upfront costs.

3. Cost

Speaking of costs, wood is the most affordable among the three primary decking materials. However, the maintenance costs of buying paint, stain, sealants, and labour can offset the initial savings in the long run, especially for those looking to keep their homes.

4. Installation

As a flexible material that’s relatively easy to cut and shape as necessary, wood decking usually entails lower labour costs. It’s also easier to alter its hues according to the client’s preferences.

But if you’re looking for a truly versatile decking material, it’s best to go with composites like Millboard, as it offers unique design applications. This includes the following:

  • Millboard’s range of colours allows you to create flooring effects for the deck. For example, you can create patterns to lead the eye toward focal design elements.
  • It allows you to match a room’s motif and colour scheme to transition into the outdoor space seamlessly.
  • The best composite products also offer edging and fascia, allowing you to turn challenges into design opportunities, such as built-in seating and stairs for limited spaces or sloping gardens.

With some creativity, composite decking materials offer an abundance of design opportunities that can elevate a home’s outdoor living space.

5. Sustainability

While wood involves cutting down trees, composite and plastic decking materials are made partly from recycled materials, making them ideal for more environmentally conscious homeowners.

Final words

Wood will always be a timeless choice for outdoor spaces, but there are innovative alternatives that beg your consideration. While these alternatives may entail higher upfront costs, your clients will be thankful for the recommendation, as the best decking materials bring the best out of outdoor living spaces and add to a home’s curb appeal.

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