Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Building a deck is a process that involves several decisions. After choosing your deck’s location, size, and style, it’s important that you choose the material that best suits your taste and budget. We took a look at some of the most popular decking materials, as well as the pros, cons, and affordability.
Starting off the list is cedar, a classic option for a good quality, stylish deck. There are many different kinds and grades of cedar, like white cedar, a common decking and fencing choice in the area that is also locally sourced. At $4 per square foot, cedar is also the most affordable option, and makes for an easy installation as it is screwed in on top with exposed fasteners. Although, cedar is the most prone to decay, which can mean it will need treatment every few years to remain in good condition.
Trex is a wood fiber–polymer composite material and contains up to 95% recycled material. This decking never requires refinishing, does not rot, splinter or twist as it ages and resists insect damage. Just a little soap and water or a quick power washing is all the maintenance Trex requires.
Fiberon is a wood-alternative product, free of toxic chemicals and contains up to 94% recycled plastics and lumber mill scraps. The decking is available in a wide range of styles and price points, all providing the warmth and beauty of natural wood without the costly, time-consuming maintenance.
CaliBamboo decking made with 60% recycled wood fibers, and 40% high density plastics. A 3G core and next-generation composition ensure higher tensile strength and resiliency, while a full protective wrap shield guards against stains, scratches, snow, and sun damage.
Other Tropical Hardwood
Beyond ipe, there are several excellent tropical hardwood options for choosing decking like tigerwood, cumaru, garapa gold, lacewood, and many more. These woods match the cost range and performance as ipe, but are often more malleable, making them a good option for curved decks. They also come in a much larger variety of grain patterns, and provide better resistance against rot and insects. Similar to ipe, they are a pricier option at $8-12 per square foot, and require a lengthier installation process than most hardwoods.