Nowadays, most backyard and outdoor areas are designed and built to feel like an extension of the inside of the home, rather than a completely separate space. One creative solution to achieving this is to add a beautiful deck area that bridges the gap between interior and exterior.
A well-planned deck not only adds a modern dimension to your backyard but it can offer a fantastic space where you can truly create an outdoor living area, rather than a feature that you simply walk across. But which type of deck do you choose? How many types are there?
If you are considering a backyard or patio redesign with a newly-built deck and are confused about which type is right for you, this article should help to make things a little clearer. Read on to learn about the different types of decking available for you to choose from, their pro’s and con’s and which is right for you.
Types of Decking
When it comes to the types of decking, there are three types which are the most popular amongst homeowners. These are hardwood, plastic and composite. Let’s take a closer look at each of these decking types.
Hardwood decking is probably the most popular decking choice out of the three as it is the most traditional. It is made from real hardwood, providing homeowners with a natural, organic outdoor look and feel. It compliments many garden features nicely and isn’t overly expensive, making it a great option for many deck designs.
However, these benefits do come with some drawbacks. As is it made from real wood materials, it requires a tremendous amount of upkeep to stay looking good. This includes regularly staining and painting as well as general cleaning whenever it gets dirty. This may not sound like a lot but over the lifespan of your deck, this will no doubt add up to a countless number of hours as well as huge amounts of money spent on top of the initial cost of installation – something you’d probably like to avoid!
Now, the second option available to choose is plastic decking. The major difference from hardwood decking is, of course, it is made entirely from synthetic materials and not real wood. This again offers a variety of advantages as well as some pretty hefty issues. The first benefit of using plastic decking over natural hardwood decking is that it is cheaper. Being produced my manmade materials rather than natural materials means it is cheaper to produce and therefore costs less to purchase. This can be a real plus for anyone looking to save initial costs on a backyard redesign. The second and most important benefit is the low-maintenance properties that plastic decking offers. Unlike hardwood, plastic decking requires zero treatment to keep it looking good. No painting, sealing or deep cleaning is ever required.
However, the one major drawback of plastic decking is that it is very porous, meaning it absorbs water very easily. This isn’t an ideal choice for backyard spaces that are situated in areas that experience high amounts of rain. By absorbing a lot of water, plastic deck boards begin to warp and bow, creating a rather ugly look. When this happens, you will need to replace the boards with newer ones, which of course leads to more spending.
The third and final deck type that you can select is composite decking. This is the youngest out of the three types of decking that has gained a lot of popularity over the last decade or so due to the wide range of benefits that it offers.
Firstly, composite boards are created using a combination of both real wood and synthetic materials, combining the best of hardwood and plastic decking. This allows the final product to not only look like a real-wood product but also provides the low-maintenance qualities that you gain from plastic boards. Perfect for those who want an authentic wood feel with none of the upkeep requirements.
Composite decking also comes in different options, including capped and non-capped, solid and hollow boards. These again offer numerous benefits when installed. Capped composite boards are created with a protective polymer sleeve that wraps around each side of the board. This works to stop moisture from penetrating the composite core, eliminating the risks or warping and splitting, meaning your deck lasts for longer. The sleeve also provides a great layer of protection from all types of scratches, abrasions and fades.
As a result of the low-maintenance requirements and longevity of composite decking, you will save yourself a lot of time and money over the lifetime of your deck, which also happens to be a lot longer than a hardwood or plastic deck. However, the initial costs of composite decking can be quite expensive.
When taking upkeep requirements and the costs associated with keeping your deck looking good and replacing boards when needed, composite decking for sure stands out as the better option when compared to hardwood decking or plastic decking. The decision, of course, is entirely up to you and will depend on several factors including budget and personal preference!