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Comparing the Top Deck Materials: Which One is Right for Your Outdoor Space?

Updated: May 22


So, you’ve decided to put a new deck on your house but now you’re wondering, where do I even start looking at the material options? Or, maybe you didn’t even know there are other material options outside of basic wood! Well let me tell you, there are tons of options, and we’re here to help sort them out for you! Quick disclaimer, the types of materials we will be discussing here are typical for our area in the Midwest. Your home location may have other great options that aren’t on this list! We always encourage speaking with local lumber supply companies as well as high-quality deck contractors who know what you have available in your area.



PRESSURE TREATED

(Most Affordable Option)

Pressure-Treated Deck

Let’s talk about pressure-treated decking! This type of decking is most common among production-builder-level homes and has been around for ages. Before all of the modern options became available, everyone used wood. Pressure-treated decking in the midwest typically is going to be southern yellow pine due to its availability and affordability. Pressure-treated decking typically has decent durability due to the treatment process the boards undergo during production but ultimately still requires regular maintenance to keep them looking nice for many years. If you are looking for a very budget-friendly option, this is it!



NATURAL WOODS

(Slightly More Expensive)

Cedar Deck & Porch

When it comes to natural wood options for your deck, the most typical are cedar and redwood. Although you could typically expect to pay 20-30% more than pressure-treated decking, many homeowners love the look of cedar decking and appreciate the natural resistance that cedar wood has to rot and decay so they are willing to pay the extra price for the look, smell, and feel. Many people like to use cedar or other natural woods for decking on a covered or screened-in porch since it is mostly out of the harsh elements and will last longer.







PREMIUM NATURAL WOOD

(More Expensive)

We couldn’t make a fair list of natural wood decking options without mentioning Ipe. What is Ipe? Ipe is an extremely dense natural wood, giving it great resistance to rot or decay. While also being very scratch-resistant, Ipe does not require regular staining or painting over its lifespan providing homeowners with a long lifetime investment rather than having to worry about it year on year. Ipe as shown below has a beautiful rich color that can be maintained with a simple UV oil coating every few years, or some prefer the gray look of a weathered Ipe deck and they choose not to oil the boards. Although there is a greater initial investment, the longevity, look, and feel of this dense hardwood has sold many homeowners over the years. As far as price, Ipe is more expensive than the other wood options mentioned above, but still compares very well to a synthetic deck option. Here in Michigan, we tend to see a lot of Ipe decks being used around the Lakeshore on homes that are consistently exposed to the elements that the lakeshore presents. Outside the Midwest, we typically see Ipe being used along similar coastlines where storms, winds, and blowing sands can weather a less dense natural wood much faster. Overall, Ipe is a great option for those wanting a natural feel and look while still having the longevity that synthetic decks can provide.


Ipe Wood Deck



BUILDING WEST MICHIGAN

Here at Pastoor & Co. we are always seeking to serve the needs of our clients first and foremost. We are here to provide quality, communication, and clarity for every one of our clients throughout Michigan whether it’s through the Real Estate home buying/selling process or through Construction projects ranging from deck remodels to full new construction builds. Reach out today if we can serve you or someone you know!



COMPOSITE DECKING

(More Expensive)

Composite Deck

Composite decking is a hybrid deck product made of mostly recycled wood fibers and plastic. This material is very dense and offers a hard, durable surface that can stand up to extreme temperatures and moisture. Composite decking has quickly become one of the most commonly used products with many homeowners choosing this material for its lifespan, low maintenance, and color options available to match any design. A good composite decking product will carry, in our experience, at least a 25-year warranty which for many homeowners is what they want to give them peace of mind down the road. The initial investment, like an Ipe deck, is greater than if you choose to go with a pressure-treated option, but the tradeoff in the long run is worth every penny. Here in Michigan, our favorite composite deck providers are Trex and TimberTech. Both provide a fantastic selection of colors, styles, and price points to meet the needs of every homeowner! In the past, homeowners weren’t fond of composite, complaining that the texture didn’t accurately reflect that of natural wood, but in recent years, technology has made it possible to create a composite product that truly does feel like real wood without all of the headache.




WRAPPING IT UP

The right deck is going to be different for every person and every situation. There is not a “one size fits all” solution, but by talking with your local experts and sourcing quality material, you can find the perfect fit for your needs. As a homeowner, don’t be afraid to ask questions when you meet with a contractor. Make sure you get options presented so that you can make the best decision for your needs.


Want to Learn More? Reach out today!


Local to West Michigan? Check out our friends at Zeeland Lumber!


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