Choosing The Right Decking Ė What Material Is Best For You?

A deck is a welcome and necessary addition to any home. So much so that homes without a deck, or even a patio, seem to be missing something. Itís rare to buy a home thatís missing a deck. But, even if your new home does have a deck, the age and quality of the decking may be questionable.

Just like anything else in your home, decks need to be treated and even eventually replaced. If you bought a new home with a less than desirable deck, or even if your longtime deck isnít what it used to be, youíre probably in the market for a brand new deck. But, choosing the right decking material at the right price isnít always easy.

With recent advances in technology and installation techniques, decks are built to be stronger and last longer. It may seem like your choice of materials and finishes are endless, but there are really only two materials worth considering for a new deck. Read on to learn about the best materials to choose for your new deck.

Pressure-Treated Lumber OR PTL

A classic and always popular choice for decking material is pressure-treated lumber. Also known as PTL, pressure-treated lumber is an easy and economical choice for your new deck. This type of wood is treated with chemicals to add longevity and durability to the beams. The treatment process prevents moisture absorption, insect infestations, rot and fungus, and normal wear and tear.

Since PTL is such a popular choice of decking, itís widely available and inexpensive compared to other materials. More than half of decks you see today are still built using pressure-treated beams. This material is versatile and easy to work with Ė with just the right amount of strength and durability. Even more, you can seal and finish pressure-treated wood to your liking to make sure your new deck matches your style.

PTL will give you the traditional look of a full-grain wooden deck without the vulnerability. Something like cedar or redwood looks beautiful but it is extremely hard to take care of. Pressure-treated lumber is a better, lower maintenance option. You can still get the same effect as more exotic woods, just at a better price and option.

Composite Decking

Composite beams are an up-and-coming trend in new-build homes and upscale remodels. These beams are usually made from wood scraps like sawdust and leftover plastic bits and pieces. These scraps are then formed into beams and given the appearance of wood with a woodgrain finish and natural color. This makes composite decking an eco-friendly, environmentally conscious choice for a decking material Ė no trees are harmed in the production of composite beams.

Even better, composite decks are built to last the test of time. Thereís no sanding, refinishing, or resealing here. Once the beams are in place, they are there to stay. Unlike traditional wood, composite is not susceptible to rotting, shrinking, or warping. Granted, composite decking can be more expensive than PTL or traditional wood. But, itís a worthy one-time investment. You can purchase composite beams in a wide variety of colors and styles meet any design.

The best part about composite decking are the finishing touches designed to complement the beams. You have less flexibility in your design when working with PTL. Instead, vinyl railings, decorative molding, and light posts add another level of design. Adding preformed, elegant railings to your Lancaster, PA deck is a design touch you canít get with wood.

Itís clear that PTL and composite decking are the leaders when it comes to decking material. Real wood tends to give you a more classic, rustic look while composite feels more modern. No matter what you choose, your deck is sure to provide many years of outdoor fun!