Are you in the market for the perfect deck? It's a bit like choosing between a trusty old pickup truck and a slick new SUV, isn't it? We get it. In this article, we're going to dive into the world of composite and wood decking, giving you the lowdown on what works and what doesn't.
Composite Decking: The Low-Maintenance Alternative
Composite decking is the superstar of low-maintenance. It scoffs at issues like rot, insects, and the dreaded decay. There's no need to fuss over staining or sealing - a simple cleaning with water, maybe a bit of soap and a brush if things get rowdy, will do the trick. And here's a nifty tip - while composite decking is generally on the pricier side, the most trusted and largest composite decking manufacturer (Trex and Timbertech-Azek) has recently introduced more budget-friendly lines that are worth checking out. You get the look of real wood without the real wood fuss. Plus, it's got longevity in its genes, boasting warranties that often stretch beyond 20 years.
Wood Decking: Hardwood vs. Softwood
Now, onto wood decking, where we have hardwood and softwood playing their parts. Hardwood is the heavyweight champ, shrugging off decay, insects, and rot like it's a walk in the park. It's the go-to for casual backyard gatherings or sophisticated garden parties.
And the aesthetics? They're off the charts. It's like owning a piece of art, with a rich, elegant appearance and grain patterns that age like fine wine. Our favorites in this hardwood category include Ipe, Mangaris/Kayu Batu in Red Balau, or Golden Balau. But, there's a catch - it's the fancy sports car that needs regular care, with sanding and oiling to keep it looking its best.
On the flip side, softwood is like your friendly neighbor next door. It's easy on the wallet and easy to find at the local lumberyard. We particularly like working with Redwood, as it's one of the densest softwood materials out there. When considering Redwood, you'll come across different grades, each with its own cost, longevity, and appearance. These grades range from clear heartwood, which is the highest quality and often the most costly, to lower grades with some knots but still solid. The choice of grade affects not only the cost but also the overall longevity and appearance of your deck.
For a quick summary of these materials, check out the helpful spreadsheet below that breaks down the key aspects of composite and wood decking. Deck on!
In the end, the choice between composite and wood decking comes down to your preferences, budget, and willingness to maintain it. Composite decking offers an easy, low-maintenance option with a range of styles. Wood decking, whether hardwood or softwood, brings a natural, timeless feel with varying levels of care and cost. It's your outdoor space, and the decision is all yours. Choose wisely and enjoy your deck!