Decking Materials 101: How to Choose the Perfect Material for Your Dream Deck

Are you dreaming of the perfect deck for your outdoor oasis? Choosing a suitable decking material is the first step toward making that dream a reality. With a wide range of options available, deciding which material is best suited for your needs can be overwhelming.

Please don’t fret; that’s why we’re here to help! Keep reading to learn how to choose the perfect material.

Factors to consider when choosing decking materials

When selecting a suitable decking material, a few factors must be considered. These factors will help you determine which material best suits your needs and preferences.

Let’s take a look at some of the critical factors to consider:

  1. Durability: How long do you want your deck to last?
  2. Aesthetics: Do you have a specific look or style in mind for your deck?
  3. Maintenance: How much time and effort will you put into maintaining your deck?
  4. Cost: What is your budget for your dream deck?


Now that we’ve covered some factors let’s dive into the different types of decking materials.

Wood decking options

Wood decking has been a popular choice for decades thanks to its natural beauty and affordability.

The following are the most popular types of wood used for decking:

  1. Pressure-treated lumber: The most common and affordable type of wood decking, it is treated with chemicals to resist rot, insects, and decay. It is widely available and can be stained or painted to achieve your desired look. However, it may require regular maintenance to prevent warping and cracking.
  2. Cedar: A popular choice because of its natural beauty and resistance to rot and insects. It is more expensive than pressure-treated lumber but offers higher durability and aesthetics. However, it requires regular maintenance to preserve its color and prevent decay.
  3. Tropical hardwoods: If you’re looking for a luxurious and durable option, tropical hardwoods like Ipe or Mahogany are worth considering. Known for their natural beauty, resistance to rot, and longevity, it’s important to note that they come with a higher price tag and may require professional installation due to their density.


Wood decking offers a classic and natural look, but with that being said, it does require regular maintenance to keep it looking its best.

Composite decking options

Due to its low maintenance and durability, composite decking has recently gained popularity. Made from a combination of wood fibers and plastic, it produces a product that mimics the look of wood without needing regular maintenance.

Some of its pros include:

  1. Low maintenance: It does not require staining, sealing, or painting, and simple cleaning with soap and water is usually sufficient to keep it looking great.
  2. Durability: Highly resistant to rot, insects, and decay, and it won’t warp or splinter like wood, which makes it an excellent choice for families with children or pets. It usually has a longer lifespan than wood decking.
  3. Aesthetics: Comes in a wide range of colors and finishes. Whether you prefer a natural wood grain or a more modern and sleek appearance, you have a composite decking option.


Despite its many advantages, composite decking has a few drawbacks. It can be more expensive than wood, especially if you choose a higher-end brand. Additionally, it can get hot under direct sunlight, so it’s essential to consider your area’s climate and sun exposure.

PVC decking options

PVC decking is another common choice for homeowners looking for a low-maintenance, durable option. Made from 100% synthetic materials, it offers excellent resistance to moisture, rot, and insects.

Some of the benefits include:

  1. Low maintenance: Similar to composite decking, PVC decking requires minimal maintenance. There is no staining, sealing, or painting, and it can be easily cleaned with soap and water.
  2. Durability: Incredibly durable and resistant to moisture, mold, and decay, as well as scratches, stains, and fading, which makes it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas.
  3. Aesthetics: Comes in a wide range of colors and styles, which helps you customize the look of your deck. It also can mimic the appearance of natural wood or offer a more contemporary look.


It’s important to note that while PVC decking offers many benefits, it is generally more expensive than wood or composite decking. It also can have a more plastic-like appearance, which may not appeal to homeowners seeking a natural wood look.

Cost considerations for different decking materials

The cost of your dream deck depends on several factors, including the size, complexity, and the material you choose.

Here are some cost considerations for different decking materials:

  • Wood: Generally the most affordable option, with pressure-treated lumber being the least expensive. Cedar and tropical hardwoods are more expensive but offer higher durability and aesthetics.
  • Composite: More expensive than wood, with higher-end brands commanding a higher price. However, it may be easy to justify the cost because of the low maintenance requirements and long lifespan.
  • PVC: Generally more expensive than wood or composite options, but the low maintenance and excellent durability may make it a worthwhile investment if you seek a long-lasting and hassle-free deck.
  • Aluminum: Typically more expensive than other options, but the unique aesthetics and low maintenance requirements can be appealing if you’re looking for a modern and durable deck.

Choosing the perfect decking material for your dream deck

Selecting the ideal decking material depends on your needs/wants, preferences, and budget.

Here are some tips to help you make the right decision:

  • Consider your priorities: Decide what factors are most important to you, i.e., durability, aesthetics, low maintenance, or cost. This determination helps you narrow down your options and make an informed decision.
  • Research and compare: Research and compare different decking materials and consider their pros, cons, and cost. Read reviews, visit showrooms, and consult with professionals to gather as much information as possible so you can make the right decision.
  • Seek professional advice: Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. A deck builder or contractor can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed choice.
  • Consider your climate: Consider your area’s environment and how it may affect the different decking materials. For example, if you live in hot and sunny weather, choose a material that won’t become too hot or warped under direct sunlight.


No matter what you choose, there is a decking material out there that will help you create the deck of your dreams. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and start envisioning your outdoor oasis. Your dream deck is within reach!

Have questions? Contact Monmouth Building Center today!

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