Choosing the Best Materials for Custom Decks

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Building a new deck can be easy, but you have to know exactly what you want first. Different materials can drastically change the look of your deck. If you choose the wrong materials, you aren’t just losing out on a few extra benefits, you might wind up with something that clashes with the overall style of your home. At Woodcraft Design & Build, we understand that a deck is an investment and you deserve to have a finished
product that is the perfect combination of beautiful and functional. Use this guide to learn more about different materials so that you can choose the best option for your home.

Are Manmade Materials Superior to Natural Ones?
Before you start exploring individual options, you need to learn a little bit about the differences between natural and composite decking materials. Traditionally, decks and patios have been constructed using mostly hardwoods, with redwood being a very popular choice.
Manmade materials are quickly becoming a hot topic within the industry because they require less maintenance and tend to last longer. Most of these materials use a combination of PVC and vinyl to create a flawless, colorful look.

Here are just some of the things to consider when deciding between materials:

Color availability – Will you be able to get a shade that works well with your home?
Weather resistance – Can your new deck withstand heavy rain, snow or sun?
Rot resistance – What are the odds that you will need to replace these materials?
Availability – Will your project be delayed if you choose this option?
Price – What choices are in your price range?

As you can see, both manmade and natural materials have their advantages. If you are hoping to save money on the initial cost of building a deck, you may want to stick with wood options. Those who want to save money in the long run may be better off with a manmade product from a quality manufacturer. Remember to consider the ongoing cost of maintenance in your buying decision.

What is Pressure Treated Lumber?
Pressure treated lumber is by far the most popular option for new decks. This is because it is readily available and one of the cheapest options. It is also very easy to work with, resistant to rot and can easily be painted to match your home. While pressure treated lumber has a lot of benefits, it requires a lot more care than many of the other options. Color fading, for example, is a problem many homeowners have when they use this chemically treated wood. They also have to worry about the cheap wood cracking and warping over time.

Popular Hardwood Materials
When it comes to choosing hardwood decking materials, there are more choices available than cedar and redwood. While these are by far the most popular choices, it is important to remember that they aren’t the only choices. Some imported and exotic woods, for example, are more resistant to insect infestations and internal rot. This can make them well worth the investment. Here is a brief list of woods that can be used in your deck:
Cedar – This popular wood tends to be a light brown, but is easily stained. It is very durable, easy to work with and readily available.
Redwood – Known for its pinkish to red hue, this hardwood is popular due to its moderate rot resistance and distinct odor.
Massaranduba – Also known as bulletwood, this exotic Caribbean wood sports a medium reddish-brown color that darkens as it ages. It is very dense, but also very durable and highly resistant to rot.
Tigerwood – This Brazilian hardwood is a medium brown with a red tint and dark streaks throughout. This creates a very distinct look, making it a favorite among homeowners. Tigerwood is very weather­resistant, so it is perfect for areas prone to a lot of rain or snow.
Ipe – Also known as Brazilian Walnut or Lapacho, this tropical wood is very dark in color. It has a distinct look that sometimes consists of black or yellow stripes. Ipe is often chosen for its insect and weather resistance.

If you aren’t sure which wood would work best for your home, talk to a custom deck builder like Woodcraft Design & Build. They can help you choose based on your location, how you will be using the deck and the look you are trying to accomplish.

Composite Materials that Get the Job Done
For those wanting to invest in manmade materials, there are dozens of choices available. Composite and plastic wood is a very competitive market and innovative designs are always being created. This popular choice for custom decks also combines a wide range of materials to reduce maintenance, avoid rot, resist the elements and promote durability.

Composite materials combine wood fibers with plastic materials, rather than solely relying on recycled materials. This helps give it a more natural look that still feels like wood. Manufacturers have come up with many ways to keep the boards from splitting and warping, so they are a great investment if you are looking for more curb appeal.

The choices you have for composite boards depends on the builder you are working with and availability. Remember, the industry is always changing and it isn’t uncommon for builders to suggest brands that are fairly new. At Woodcraft Design & Build, we have a variety of choices and can help you select the best one.

If you are planning on building a custom deck, you need to start researching materials right away. Learn about what is currently on the market and how it can affect your project. To learn more or get help selecting the best materials, contact us today.