Adding a deck to your home can provide years of enjoyment and an opportunity to better utilize your home’s outdoor spaces. The right deck can create both a place for quiet relaxation and the perfect spot for outdoor entertaining.
When you build a deck, there are a wide array of decking materials to choose from. Natural wood, pressure-treated wood, plastic, composite, aluminum…they all look and function differently, and each material requires varying amounts of maintenance to keep it in great shape and looking its best. Ideally, you want a decking material that looks the best yet doesn’t leave you spending all of your relaxation time on maintenance, right? That’s where low-maintenance decking comes in.
Both natural and pressure-treated wood require a fair amount of maintenance to keep them looking great, so if you’re on the hunt for a low-maintenance deck you can strike these options from your list. That leaves you with a choice between composite, plastic, and aluminum decking. Let’s take a closer look at these choices and the benefits they provide.
Composite Decking: Low-Maintenance, Affordable, and Highly Durable
- Composite decking is composed mainly of wood fibers and recycled plastic. It is extremely weather- and stain-resistant and highly durable—it won’t splinter, warp, rot, or split. With the convenience of plastic and the strength and beauty of wood, it truly is the best of both worlds.
- This type of decking material is extremely low-maintenance: it will never need sanding, refinishing, or staining. The only maintenance it needs is an occasional washing with soap and water.
- An added plus—in most cases composite decking is made of up to 90% post-industrial and post-consumer waste. And with mid-range pricing, composite decking is affordable.
- Composite decking has the best combination of features for a sustainable solution and the best long-term value. Outdoor Solutions offers two brands of composite decking—Trex and TimberTech.
Plastic Lumber: Popular, Versatile, and Easy to Care For
- Composites and plastic lumber are the fastest-growing types of deck materials sold today. Unlike composite decking, plastic lumber contains no wood fibers—it is 100% plastic, made of a combination of recycled and virgin plastics.
- Plastic lumber is highly resistant to staining, decay, mold, mildew, and moisture, and is extremely low-maintenance. It will never need sanding, refinishing, or staining, and is free of knots, cracks, and splinters.
- It is also available in a wide selection of colors and textures, making it easy to match the design of your home. The pricing of plastic lumber is mid-range and generally comparable to composite.
- The brand of plastic lumber that Outdoor Solutions carries—Azek—is specially engineered to look like real wood, so it retains more of the natural beauty of wood than other brands.
Aluminum: Strong, Long-Lasting, Low-Maintenance Decking
- Aluminum decking is three to four times lighter than wood, composite, or plastic lumber, and is two to three times stronger. It is extremely weather, mold, and slip resistant, and won’t rot, rust, warp, splinter, or crack. Its powder-coated finish lasts virtually forever—it will never peel or blister.
- Aluminum decking can’t catch fire, is completely insect-repellent, and won’t get brittle in extremely cold weather. It is also totally recyclable.
- Most aluminum decking has interlocking edges, creating gap-free watertight decks. And surprisingly, aluminum actually stays cooler in the sun than most other types of decking because of its excellent heat-dissipation properties.
- Because of these superior qualities, aluminum decking is extremely low-maintenance, requiring only occasional washing with soap and water.
Aluminum decking does have a higher price tag than other options, so it may not be for everyone. But if it fits within your budget, aluminum decking will more than makeup for the cost with its durability and low maintenance care.
Based on our 30+ years of experience here at Outdoor Solutions, we’ve found composite and plastic lumber to be ideal choices for low-maintenance decking materials for the majority of the customers we serve. But no matter which option you choose, having a low-maintenance deck will give you more time to lounge, BBQ, gather with friends and family, and simply enjoy the outdoors.
Ready to start planning your new deck? Give us a call today at 952.440.4791.