Urban Oasis’ Advice on Decking Materials
There are many things to consider when upgrading your deck including, initial cost, maintenance costs and time and the style of your home. Selecting the right decking and railing materials is a crucial step in the process to assure the success of any project. If you are debating which materials would be best for your deck space, look no further. Here are a few options our team frequently uses, and the pros and cons of each.
Composite decking is a durable and sustainable building material. It integrates wood and recycled plastic which makes it sturdy, long lasting, and a great choice for reducing environmental impact and maintenance costs.
Pros of Composite
Composite is a great choice for homeowners and outdoor projects of all kinds. At Urban Oasis, Azek Building Products is one of our go-to brands for composite because of their product’s quality, durability and appearance. The benefits of this type of material include:
- Easy Care: Composite is low maintenance, so it does not require much upkeep from the homeowner. Simply spraying it down will keep it clean and looking good.
- No Need to Paint or Stain: This material is aesthetically pleasing – and today’s composite wood looks very much like the real thing. It holds its color well without protective stain or paint. That means one less step in the building process and much less work over the lifespan of your deck.
- No Splinters: This surface will be non-slip but smooth enough for bare feet – and no splinters.
Cons of Composite
While composite decking and railing has many benefits, its main downside is that it gets hotter than natural wood when exposed to direct sunlight. Composite decking may not be the best choice for a sunny South or West facing deck, if you like to walk barefoot on your deck in the summer.
Sustainable Hardwoods are elegant, durable, and great choice for reducing environmental impact. Opting for these types of woods means you are choosing producers who are not contributing to deforestation and water pollution.
Pros of Sustainable Hardwoods
These types of woods are great for the environment, but those aren’t the only benefits they offer. Woods such as Ipe (Ironwood), Tigerwood, Thermory and similar hardwoods give homeowners the following benefits:
- Durability. These woods are harder than cedar and therefore have a longer lifespan with less maintenance.
- Staining is Optional: Staining is the only color treatment needed to maintain nature hue or in most cases these woods can also go untreated and will weather to a teak-gray color. These hardwoods are less maintenance than cedar by far.
- No Splinters: This surface will be non-slip but smooth enough for bare feet – and no splinters!
- Cool to the Touch: Natural wood will not heat up in the sun like composite will do.
Cons of Sustainable Hardwoods:
Any natural product will require some care. In order to maintain the vibrant stripy character of Tiger Wood or the deep brown of ironwood, for example, stain must be applied every year to two years depending on exposure.
Cedar is a classic choice for decks. This durable wood gives your outdoor space an elegant, natural look. Some reasons to choose this wood include:
Pros of Cedar:
- Less inexpensive. Compared to the alternatives above, choosing Cedar is often the least expensive solution for construction.
- Matches Some Architecture. For clients who wish to match the style of older homes, cedar may be the best choice to stay within the period style of a home.
Cons of Cedar:
The cost benefit from initially lower construction price is often outweighed over time by the increased upkeep costs for homeowners over the lifetime of the deck. Some reasons to avoid cedar decking include:
- High maintenance both for cleaning and painting/staining
- The wood is softer and less durable than other alternatives
- Cedar often splinters
- Shorter overall lifespan will likely result in more frequent repairs and replacement
At Urban Oasis, we specialize in creating elegant and functional outdoor spaces for homes of all kinds. If you’re looking for a professional to help you update your outdoor space, we’re here to help. To learn more about Urban Oasis or to view our portfolio, visit our website today!
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