One of the most basic choices on a deck build is picking materials. Deck-building options cover a wide range, including everything from natural woods to metals. The following four materials are among the most commonly used ones, so here is a look at their strengths and weaknesses.
Cedar is a popular choice for folks who want to use 100% natural wood without any pressure treatment. It has naturally occurring chemicals that serve to ward off both insects and rot, making it an ideal choice for use in a wide range of settings. The only big downside to cedar is that unsealed wood will eventually gray.
Redwood is another common choice, and it provides gorgeous colors and tones. Unfortunately, it's about twice the price of cedar, and it might not be available in some eastern states.
Tropical hardwoods are very appealing, but they come with luxury pricing. While they hold up well for decades, their hardness and oils can make them hard to stain. Also, you'll need a specially formulated sealer to treat them. On the upside, they hold up well in humid environments because that what the trees they come from regularly go through.
At the opposite end of the scale, you can go with a fully artificial solution. Aluminum is easily manufactured to look like many kinds of woods. It is inherently insect-proof, but it doesn't hold up well in coastal settings with high salt content in the air. You will also need to use a fastener system for your deck build because you can just nail everything together. The job also calls for a saw blade that can handle aluminum materials.
An increasingly popular choice is a composite made from wood and plastics. These products provide the appeal of wood without some of the downsides. The plastics deter insects, and they don't readily accept moisture, either. On the downside, they're generally less resistant to mildew and mold so you'll need to clean them more often. They can be colored whatever you like, and that opens up some aesthetic choices you might not have with other deck building materials.
This is the old standby of the industry. Manufacturers apply chemicals under pressure to instill resistance to bugs and mold. Pressure-treated wood is historically the cheapest option on the market, although that sometimes means the materials often use low-grade woods like pine. Cost is the main appeal, and most visual shortcomings can be handled using stains and sealants.
Contact a deck building contractor to learn more.