As a first time home owner, I face new problems and undertakings on an almost daily basis. A lot of it has been simple – a little paint here, a little plaster there – nothing I can’t handle. However, this summer I have been working on a lot of new outdoor projects that have challenged my thinking, and tested my patience. My newest project is adding a deck onto the back of the house. I thought this would be simple: buy some wood, get some nails, and start hammering. Little did I know there are many options, and I am now more befuddled than I was before.
The first decision I have to make is whether I want to use regular hardwood decking or composite decking. While doing some research, I found some information that will, hopefully, help me to get some clarity on how to build the best deck for my home. If you are considering adding a deck onto your home, the following pros and cons may help you make a decision as well.
Pro: Cheaper option.
Pro: Most hardwood decking options are very dense, rich in natural oils, and rot resistant. It is easy to seal them and many different colors of stains are available if you do not want to keep the natural color.
Pro: Most hardwoods have a lifespan of around 20 years. Properly installed and maintained hardwood decking will last for many, many years.
Con: To keep the natural color, your deck will need to be sealed immediately after installation. This process will most likely need to be repeated every year, or even more often depending on weathering. If you are staining the wood, this process should also be repeated every so often.
Pro: Low maintenance! Composite decking is made from recycled plastic and wood chips – just spray it off to clean. Composite won’t rot, splinter or twist once it has been installed.
Con: Plastic. This is not the way to go if you enjoy a natural wood look. Also, composite can be cold on bare feet in the shade and very hot in sunnier places.
Con: It will take a while for the color to fade, but once it does there is no way to fix it. Composite can’t be stained or painted.
Con: Much more expensive than hardwood decking.
Hopefully this helps you make your decision. I think that after going through the pros and cons I will be going with the hardwood decking. I prefer the natural look and a little maintenance every so often seems worth it for a deck that will last for over 20 years!