Best Decking Material Options

- Cost and Comparison

Planning on installing composite decking or any other decking material? We compiled a list of some of the major considerations you should take into account before making a decision, by creating a decking material comparison chart that reviews various decking material options. Furthermore, the following comparison chart would allow you as well to better understand the pros and cons of various decking options.

In addition, you can click here to get a free installation cost estimate for your project.

Composite Decking vs. Cedar Wood vs. Vinyl vs. Aluminium

Comparison Chart: Composite Decking vs. Cedar Wood vs. Vinyl Decking vs. Aluminium Decking:

  Composite Decking Wood Decking (Cedar) Vinyl Decking Aluminium Decking
Durability Composite decking have a lifespan of about 12-15 years. However, since composite decking is also insect and rot-resistant, it can last up to 25-30 30 years and even longer. Cedar decking require significant amount of work to keep them resistant to insects and weather conditions. The care needed for wood decking is effective for a short period of time, and overall it is less durable compared to composite decking. The most durable synthetic vinyl deck (which is scratch and stain resistant) can last up to 45-50 years, and will not be vulnerable to potential damage from pets or patio furniture. Aluminum decks are the most durable and can last for even 100 years without a scratch.
What is it made of Majorly, composite decking boards are made up from woods and plastic, and may contain either virgin components or recycled materials. Majorly made from soft woods that is reddish brown in color. Composite decking materials cannot be recycled. Majorly not made of wood. So in terms of look and feel, Vinyl decks are absolutely different in a very noticeable manner. Vinyl decks are made from either hollow or solid pieces of PVC. However, vinyl decks can be made to resemble natural wood, especially the type that is made from solid pieces. Extrusions are formed by forcing heated aluminum under hundreds of tons of pressure through a special procedure. The resulting shapes can be quite intricate and follow close tolerances. Different alloys and tempers are available depending on the strength required. Aluminum decking is made from one of the strongest alloys available.
Availability Although composite decks have a greater upfront cost compared to the other three, this type of decking material is always available throughout the year. Not less than 65% of American homes make use of composite decking due to its low cost of maintenance. Before the arrival of composite and vinyl decking, cedar decks used to be the high end decking option. Cedar decks seem to be more aesthetically pleasing compared to the other common decking materials. Nonetheless, cedar decking is widely used, and has a wider range of applications than composite decking. PVC decking is not very common since a lot of homeowners find it difficult to install and maintain. The availability of aluminium decking is on an increasing scale, though not as much as the alternatives. Homeowners are now making a shift to this material since thanks to its low maintenance cost.
Cost The composite decking is less expensive than most decking options. A ballpark price to get a contractor construct a composite deck is about $40-$45 /square, although there are numerous variables and designs that can make the price fluctuate. Cedar decking is a moderately priced decking material, and is the least expensive among the other common decking materials. Most contractors can construct a cedar deck for about $25-$35/square foot. Vinyl decking is more costly than composite and cedar decking. An Azek vinyl deck for example is about $50- $65 /square. Aluminum decking is the most expensive decking material, costing about $10-$12 per square foot.
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Ease of Installation Composite decking are quite easy to install as they do not require significant expertise. Same as composite decking, though wood decking requires the use of hidden fasteners. Vinyl decking requires some expertise to install. Aluminum decking requires a significant expertise to install.
Care and Maintenance Composite decking will resist cracking, warping, splintering, rotting, mold and fungus. Composite decking is also child friendly - no need to worry about small kids getting splinters. If you're in search of a low maintenance deck and can afford to spend the extra money, this decking material may be your best selection. While cedar decking is very beautiful, it is also very hard to maintain. Moisture and sunlight are the two primary enemies of this decking material. Without proper maintenance, over time these two elements can take their toll on cedar. You'll have to spend extra cash to maintain cedar decking. Maintenance is probably the single biggest benefit of a vinyl deck. Just spray it clean - no need to bother with refinishing or staining, thanks to the materials that is made of. Aluminum deck does not require much maintenance at all. They don't need to be sealed since they are already resistant to water and other elements. For the most part, the only maintenance aluminum deck owners need to worry about is cleaning the deck off debris throughout the year. To keep the deck in its best state at all times, power washing the deck itself at least twice per year is recommended.
Safety and health Safe to use since it's main source is from natural woods. Also safe, since it contains natural preservatives. Vinyl decking materials are safe to use, and are coated with synthetic preservative to avoid hazard when in contact with then PVC. Aluminum decking materials are safe to use, but not in all areas. Tropical areas should not make use of this material due to certain chemicals that are present.
Color Options Composite decking has numerous colors, and you can pick any color that matches your taste. Cedar decks come in shades of red. Vinyl decks come in different colors, sizes and shapes. Mostly come in shades of Gray.

Decking can be difficult to install if you're inexperienced with this material. If you're considering hiring decking pros for this task, we can instantly connect you with prescreened professional installers in your area.

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Please note: The above data is provided for general information purposes only. Even though the best efforts were made to ensure its accuracy, such general information can never take into account differences between different products from different manufacturers, nor your unique personal circumstances and needs. It is therefore always recommended to seek advice from a qualified professional and carefully follow the relevant manufacturer's instructions.
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