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How to Choose the Right Decking Materials for Your Project

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How to Choose the Right Decking Materials for Your Project

Photo of a residential decking renovation in progress, showcasing an array of decking materials. Partially disassembled wooden deck boards are visible, with new, fresh lumber laid out next to existing brown-stained planks. A crowbar and a cordless drill are on the deck, indicating ongoing work.

Building a deck is an exciting project that adds value, functionality, and visual appeal to your outdoor space. Whether you’re dreaming of serene summer nights outdoors or lively weekend gatherings, the materials underfoot play a crucial role in your deck’s appearance, durability, and maintenance requirements. With a myriad of options, ranging from natural wood to composite materials, selecting the right decking materials for your project can seem overwhelming.

At Dupont Decks, we understand that each project is unique. That’s why we offer a personalized approach to help you navigate through the maze of options to find the perfect decking material that aligns with your vision, lifestyle, and maintenance preferences. What’s more, our team of construction professionals handle deck-related projects across Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding areas. If you’re looking to construct a new and improved functional deck, fill our contact form, and one of our knowledgeable experts will reach out to you.

Understanding the Importance of Right Decking Materials

The importance of choosing the right decking materials cannot be overstated. The material you select for your deck not only defines the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space but also determines its durability and maintenance requirements. Here’s a closer look at why this choice is so critical:

Aesthetic and Functional Harmony: The material you choose should complement your home’s exterior and landscape. Whether you opt for the natural beauty of wood or the durability of composite materials, your choice should align with your vision for the space.

Longevity and Durability: Different materials offer varying levels of resistance to weather, wear, and tear. For instance, composite decking is known for its resilience against elements, requiring less maintenance over time compared to traditional wood decking, which will need regular staining and maintenance.

Maintenance Requirements: Your lifestyle and willingness to upkeep your deck play a significant role in material selection. Some materials require more maintenance to retain their look and integrity, while others offer ease with minimal upkeep.

Environmental Impact: The sustainability of the decking material might also influence your decision. Many homeowners now consider the environmental footprint of their choices, opting for materials that are sustainably sourced or made from recycled components.

Budget Considerations: Finally, your budget is a key factor. The cost of materials can vary significantly, and it’s important to find a balance between quality, longevity, and your available budget.

Exploring Various Decking Material Options

Close-up image of composite decking materials on a newly constructed deck with a person in the background using a cordless drill. In the foreground, cut cross-sections of composite deck boards reveal the internal structure, alongside a selection of metallic screws and brackets arranged on the brown textured surface.

As you embark on the journey of choosing the right decking material for your project, it’s important to explore various options that align with your requirements and preferences. Here are a few popular choices to consider:

Composite Decking

Composite decking has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its durability, low maintenance requirements, and design versatility. Composed of a combination of wood fibers and recycled plastic, composite decking offers a sustainable option for outdoor installations. Here are some key points to consider when exploring composite decking:

  • Low maintenance: Composite decking requires less maintenance compared to traditional wood decking. It doesn’t require staining, sealing, or painting, making it a convenient choice for busy homeowners.
  • Long-lasting durability: Composite decking materials are designed to withstand the elements, including UV rays, moisture, and natural wear and tear. They are resistant to fading, staining, scratching, and mold growth, ensuring the longevity of your deck.
  • Sustainable choice: Composite decking materials are made from recycled materials, promoting environmental sustainability. By choosing composite decking, you can contribute to reducing waste and supporting sustainable practices.
  • Design options: Composite decking comes in a wide range of color options and wood grain patterns, allowing you to create a deck design that matches your aesthetics. The visual representation of composite decking closely mimics the look of real wood, providing a natural and appealing outdoor space.
  • Cost considerations: While composite decking may have higher upfront costs compared to traditional wood decking, its long-term cost savings due to low maintenance requirements make it an economical choice. Consider the long-term maintenance costs of traditional wood decking when evaluating the cost of composite decking materials.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood decking is a popular choice due to its cost-effectiveness, natural durability, and availability. Here are some key aspects to consider when exploring pressure-treated wood decking:

  • Treated for durability: Pressure-treated wood decking is chemically treated to resist rot, decay, and termite damage, enhancing its natural durability. The treatment process involves injecting preservatives into the wood, extending its lifespan.
  • Cost-effective option: Pressure-treated wood decking is widely available and often less expensive than other decking material options, making it suitable for various budgets. It offers a traditional wood deck look with the option of staining or painting for customization.
  • Regular maintenance requirements: While pressure-treated wood decking provides natural durability, it requires regular maintenance to prolong its lifespan. Power washing, sealing, and periodic inspections are necessary to prevent potential issues caused by weathering and natural wear.
  • Visual appeal: Pressure-treated wood decking allows you to achieve a natural wood deck look, enhancing the aesthetics of your outdoor space. With regular maintenance and proper care, it can retain its visual appeal for years to come.


If you’re looking for a premium decking material that offers exceptional durability, natural beauty, and rich, hardwood hues, hardwoods may be the right choice for you. Here’s what you need to know about hardwood decking options:

  • Rich, natural wood: Hardwoods, including exotic options like cedar and ipe, offer rich hues and natural wood grain patterns, enhancing the visual appeal of your deck. Each hardwood species has its unique color variations and grain patterns, allowing you to create a deck with distinct character.
  • Exceptional durability: Exotic hardwoods are known for their exceptional durability, resistance to natural elements, and longevity. They have high natural oil content, making them naturally resistant to rot, decay, insects, and weathering conditions.
  • Aging gracefully: Hardwood decking materials age gracefully, developing a beautiful patina over time. This natural aging process adds character and enhances the visual appeal of your outdoor living space.
  • Maintenance requirements: While hardwood decking options require regular maintenance, their natural durability and resistance to natural elements make them a premium choice. Proper maintenance, including regular power washing, staining, and sealing, helps preserve their natural beauty and prolong their lifespan.

PVC Decking

PVC decking, also known as polyvinyl chloride decking, has gained popularity for its durability, low maintenance requirements, and design options. Here are some pros and cons of PVC decking:

  • Low maintenance: PVC decking materials are exceptionally low maintenance, requiring no staining, sealing, or regular maintenance. They are resistant to rot, mold, moisture, and insects, ensuring long-term durability.
  • Color options: PVC decking materials offer a wide range of color options, allowing you to create a deck design that suits your style and preferences. From traditional wood tones to contemporary hues, PVC decking offers design versatility for outdoor living spaces.
  • Durability: PVC decking materials are engineered to withstand the elements, including UV rays and outdoor wear. They do not fade, warp, or splinter, providing long-lasting, low-maintenance deck options for years to come.
  • Plastic decking: PVC decking is essentially a plastic decking material, contributing to its durability, low maintenance, and resistance to natural elements. Its plastic composition makes it a reliable choice for outdoor installations.
  • Cost considerations: PVC decking materials may have higher upfront costs compared to traditional wood decking. However, they eliminate ongoing maintenance costs associated with wood decks, making them a cost-effective choice in the long run. Consider the benefits of PVC decking for low maintenance, durability, design options, and long-term cost savings.

Factors to Consider While Choosing Decking Materials

Selecting the right decking materials for your decking project is more than just picking a color or finish. It involves considering a variety of factors that will influence the aesthetic appeal, functionality, longevity, and ease of maintenance of your deck.

Your Project’s Specific Needs

To meet the specific needs of your project, it’s essential to align the deck material with your requirements. Tailor the choice to match the design and purpose, ensuring a balance of aesthetics and functionality. Consider the outdoor space and evaluate how the decking options meet your project’s unique demands. Whether it’s natural wood for a classic look or PVC material for low maintenance, assessing the decking materials based on your project’s needs will go a long way in creating a new deck that meets your expectations.

Environment and Climate Considerations

When deciding on the right deck material, it’s crucial to factor in environment and climate considerations. Look for decking materials that are suitable for the environmental conditions of your location and can withstand the climate challenges of your geographical area. Consider the impact of local weather and environmental factors on different types of decking, and choose materials that offer resilience against environmental elements and climate variations. This will ensure that your new deck lasts a long time and remains in top condition regardless of the environmental conditions.

Long Term Maintenance and Care

When considering long-term maintenance and care for your new deck, it’s crucial to assess the maintenance requirements and associated costs of different deck materials. Evaluate the maintenance efforts needed for natural wood, PVC deck, aluminum deck, and other options. Choose materials that offer durability with less maintenance, considering the long-term care. It’s important to factor in the regular maintenance needs and costs, including the expenses for square foot replacement as part of the deck design. Consulting a local supplier or deck builder can help you choose the best option for your long-term satisfaction.

Budget Constraints and Material Costs

When planning your new deck, it’s crucial to factor in budget constraints by carefully evaluating the material costs of different decking options. Consider the upfront costs of deck materials in alignment with your budget limitations, including installation costs and long-term maintenance expenses. Assess the overall cost, ensuring to determine the right deck materials that fit your budget and cost preferences. By doing so, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your financial considerations and ensures the successful completion of your new deck project.

Are there Decking Materials You Should Avoid?

There are definitely some decking materials that you should avoid when planning your new deck project. One material to steer clear of is untreated softwood, such as pine or fir. While these materials may be less expensive initially, they are prone to rotting and warping over time, requiring more maintenance and potentially costly repairs.

Another material to avoid is low-quality composite decking. Although composite decking is generally durable and low-maintenance, opting for a cheap option can result in a lower quality product that may fade, stain, or deteriorate prematurely.

Additionally, it’s important to be cautious of exotic hardwoods that are sourced from unsustainable forests. While they may be visually appealing and have excellent durability, the environmental impact and potential harm to ecosystems outweigh their benefits. It’s crucial to choose decking materials that are ethically sourced and environmentally friendly.

What is the cost difference between different types of decking materials?

The cost difference between different types of decking materials can vary significantly. While the exact prices will depend on the specific materials and the size of the project, generally speaking, natural wood decking tends to be more affordable upfront compared to composite or PVC decking options.

Contact Our Team of Decking Experts

Choosing the right decking materials for your project is a journey that requires careful consideration of aesthetics, functionality, durability, and maintenance. At Dupont Decks, we’re dedicated to guiding you through every step of this process, ensuring that your deck meets and exceeds your expectations. Our expert team is well-versed in the nuances of each decking material option, from the timeless elegance of natural wood to the modern resilience of composites and beyond. If you need help building your dream deck, simply fill out our contact form, and one of our knowledgeable team members will be in touch with you shortly.


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