Installing a new deck on your home or refinishing an old deck is a great investment.
Homeowners can expect a deck to help them increase their home’s value and recoup nearly 70% of the cost to install a new deck.
Imagine it now, a spacious deck where you can place a reclining chair and put your feet up with a cup of coffee before work. Or a place to gather with friends and family and form new relationships.
What’s it take to install a deck? First, you’ll have to choose the materials.
Best Decking Materials for Homeowners
Beyond just the wood or composite boards that make up the decking, there are other costs. But deck materials are by far the largest financial consideration.
These are the top decking materials used by homeowners:
- IPE Hardwood Decking
- Pressure-Treated Pine
- Composite Decking
- Aluminum Decking
- Plastic or PVC Decking
Here’s more info on each of these materials.
IPE Hardwood Decking
IPE hardwood decking is a great material choice for homeowners. It’s extremely durable and can last on average for up to 40 years. The wood is imported from Brazil, making it a premium and expensive option but unique and durable.
IPE is also insect and rot-resistant, perfect for wet or humid climates.
- Resistant to scratching
- Beautiful dark color
- Very expensive
- Difficult to repair
Cost: $20-$25 per sqft
Redwood trees can be hard to come by in some areas of the United States, but the West Coast is full of these trees. Redwood decking is a popular choice for homeowners because of its natural beauty and resistance to rot and decay.
Redwood decking is red and looks unique.
- Beautiful grain patterns
- Widely available
- Unique colors and features
- Very Affordable
- Naturally fades
- Prone to scratching
Cost: $4-$6 per sqft
Cedar is arguably one of the most popular decking materials because it’s been widely used throughout history. Cedar offers a natural resistance to rot and termites, making it famous as a premium building material.
These decks can look great as natural wood color, but they quickly fade when exposed to sunlight.
- Long lifespan
- Can be easily re-stained
- Similar benefits to redwood
- Expensive material
- Starts dark or red and fades to grey quickly
Cost: $17-$22 per sqft
Bamboo isn’t wood, but the material does seem like wood after being manufactured. It shares many benefits of wood decking but is also very environmentally friendly.
Bamboo decking can be harder to find than traditional deck materials, but it’s affordable. Because bamboo can grow back within 3-5 years, it’s a very sustainable choice.
- Growing industry means better products all the time
- Works well in damp and humid climates
- Durability isn’t clear
- Hard to find
Cost: $4-$6 per sqft
Mahogany is another exotic decking material. This material is specifically hardwood and is very strong and durable. Mahogany decking is a great choice for homeowners in dry climates, but it can be hard to come by.
- Very strong
- Beautiful wood grain and color
- Dries quickly and doesn’t warp
- Very expensive
- Hard to find
- Can be difficult to install
Cost: The cost can range dramatically but expect between $10-$30 per sqft.
Pressure-Treated Pine Boards
Pressure-treated pine boards are some of the most common decking materials used throughout the country. Pressure-treated decking is affordable and durable. It’s also resistant to rot, pests, and weathering.
The downside to this material is that it can be expensive and needs to be stained or painted regularly.
- Good lifespan of 15-20 years
- Takes stain well
- Can be expensive
- Looks green until it’s stained or painted
Cost: $10-$15 per sqft
Composite decking has been slowly growing in popularity because it’s a maintenance-free decking option that can last more than 25 years and still look almost new. Composite decking is made from a mix of wood fiber and plastic.
The downside to composite decking is that it’s not as environmentally friendly as wood but can be made from recycled materials or recycled when removed from a home.
- Looks like real wood
- More expensive than some materials
- Not always eco-friendly
- Can’t refinish or change the color
Cost: $8-$15 per sqft
Aluminum decking is a slightly newer material that has been growing in popularity. This metal decking option doesn’t warp, rot, or rust. It’s also very lightweight, which can be good or bad depending on your deck location.
Of course, there are some downsides to choosing metal for your decking option, and heat is one of them. Aluminum reflects heat and can get really hot when in direct sun.
- Easy to clean
- Never rots or warps
- Can be dented or scratched
- Reflects heat
- Saltwater causes corrosion
Cost: $8-$30 per sqft
Plastic or PVC Decking
PVC, plastic, and vinyl are all alternatives to composite or aluminum. They come in many colors, styles, and price points. These materials can come in a variety of styles and sizes. But plastic and PVC can fade over time and crack or chip as they age.
- Smooth and splinter-free
- Lightweight and strong
- Fades over time
- Prolonged sun exposure causes damage
Cost: $15 per sqft
When to Add a Deck to Your Home
Everyone wants to add a deck to their home, but it can be a costly project, and you’ll want to time it just right. If you plan on living in your home for several more years, then you should choose a long-lasting material.
For homeowners who plan on moving within the next 2-3 years, a more affordable material might offer a better ROI. Homeowners can expect around a70% return on most quality decks.
What Season Is Best for Installing a New Deck?
During the winter, you might start thinking about getting a deck installed as part of your home’s outdoor space. Installing new decking in the winter isn’t easy and likely isn’t worth the challenge.
Instead, call your contractor and start planning a spring or early summer installation.
The best time to install a deck is when you’re ready to enjoy it!
Patios vs. Decks: What’s Right for Your Home
Many times, homeowners will choose between a concrete patio area or a deck. It’s difficult because patios offer a lot that decks can’t, but they also aren’t quite the same.
Benefits of a Patio:
- Patios are cheaper to install
- Patios last longer
- Patios are maintenance-free
Benefits of a Deck:
- Built above ground level for greater comfort
- A great view of the yard and surrounding area
- Decks can be built on uneven terrain
- Decks absorb and retain less heat
- Decks offer a higher resale value
When you’re trying to choose between a patio and a deck, talk with a contractor who has experience with both. Our design team at TB&A would love to chat with you about your options and what might be right for you and your home.
Add a Deck During Your Remodel
If you’re remodeling, renovating, or adding on to your home, installing a deck simultaneously may be the perfect addition to your home. You could add a deck off your kitchen, master bedroom, dining, or family room.
When adding a deck during your remodel, you’ll need to consider the decking material and deck installations extra cost.
Finding the Right Contractor
The TB&A team would love to help you add a deck or patio to your home. As an experienced design-build contractor with 30+ years in the industry, we’ve found many creative ways to incorporate outdoor spaces.
You shouldn’t have to work with more than one contractor to add a deck and remodel your home. We’ll help you take care of both projects in one easy timeline.