It’s patio season! That means spending time outdoors, enjoying the beautiful weather and entertaining guests on the deck…that is, if your deck is ready! If you’re still in the process of hiring a deck builder to build you one, we can help you decide what kind of material to choose in the meantime. Behold, our ultimate guide to decking materials, including cost and maintenance!
Top Decking Materials
When it comes to choosing deck materials, you have options! There’s plenty of opportunity to find one that suits your needs:
Since these are the top factors homeowners look for when building a deck, we’ve chosen to showcase the following materials that best represent your needs during the short summer entertaining months:
- Pressure-treated wood;
- Western red cedar;
- Cellular PVC;
- Composite decking.
If you’re opting to build your own backyard deck instead of hiring a decking contractor, then you may want to consider working with pressure-treated wood. A majority of decks built in Canada are constructed using pressure-treated wood. Why? It’s the most affordable option. It’s also a very easy material to work with, which is great for those who are building a deck for the first time.
Pressure-treated wood does have a few downsides. While it’s built for longevity, there are some important maintenance steps you should take to ensure it lasts up to its projected 40-year lifespan:
- It’s not 100% resistant to moisture. That’s why we recommend you apply a water repellent to your deck on an annual basis to protect it from moisture damage.
- It requires some maintenance. Then again, what doesn’t require maintenance in any home? Wash it on a yearly basis with a pressure washer to remove dirt, moss and mould.
- Apply a clear sealant. This should be done after you’ve power washed the deck and it’s completely dried. This will prevent splintering and discoloration.
Make no mistake: just because this option is affordable doesn’t mean it’s not good quality. Pressure-treated wood is a high-quality material that happens to be economical.
Western red cedar
If you want to step onto your deck and give your senses a stir with the wonderful aroma of cedar, then the Western red cedar is just for you. Not only will it awaken your senses when stepping outdoors, but the texture and colour makes it aesthetically pleasing. Plus, the cedar naturally possesses an oil preservative, which makes it resistant to insects and decay. Sounds like you’ll be bale to host a backyard BBQ without the worry of having uninvited friends ruining the party!
Cedar is also easy to work with, like pressure-treated wood. It’s lighter than its counterpart, which makes it even easier to maneuver and work with, but that also makes this option more expensive. Here’s what else you need to know before you choose this material:
- Maintenance. Wash the deck annually with a mild detergent and water. Do NOT use a pressure washer on the deck because it will be easily damaged by the pressure.
- Staining. This material can be painted or stained to your liking, but if you leave it unfinished, it could turn a silver/grey colour. Not pleasing to the eye!
Imagine being able to purchase a decking material that requires minimal maintenance, is split, scratch and stain-resistant (perfect if you have kids or pets that will be inhabiting the backyard all summer long), is resistant to mould, mildew, moisture and insects. Yes, this is actually an option, one you can purchase at your local hardware store! Cellular PVC is, in our opinion, one of the most durable and low-maintenance material for decks. It boasts a lot of benefits, which is sure to make a lot of homeowners very happy!
I wish I could tell you there are no downsides to this material, but the downsides depend on what you’re looking for in your backyard. Take a look:
- It’s synthetic. If you’re would prefer to have a wood deck in your backyard, then this option may not be your first choice since it’s completely made of plastic, even though it’s considered one of the best options when it comes to synthetic materials.
- It’s costly for plastic. While it costs less than wood, it’s one of the most expensive synthetic options on the market.
When it comes to decking materials, there’s either wood or plastic to choose from, but you can find the perfect balance with composite decking. It’s made from a combination of wood and plastic. While it’s designed to resemble wood, it has the benefits of a synthetic material. No staining or painting is required, and you’ll benefit from having a deck that’s not easy to scratch or warp.
Here’s what you need to know about maintenance:
- Washing. While most decks need to be washed annually, a composite deck should be washed periodically with soap and water to remove surface dirt.
- Be weary of using a pressure washer. Only use a pressure washer to rinse the deck. Holding it in place and blasting water on the deck can destroy the material.
What’s it going to cost?
Choosing a deck material that meets your needs for your yard is equally important as picking a material that matches your budget.
Here’s how each material stacks up price-wise per square foot. Keep in mind: this is just an estimate! Visit your local hardware store, or speak to a decking contractor to determine a final cost based on the material and size of your future deck.
|Material||Cost per sq. ft.|
|Pressure-treated wood||$25 to $35|
|Western red cedar||$10 to $12|
|Cellular PVC||$3 to $4|
|Composite||$6 to $10|
Here’s the decking expert himself – Paul Lafrance – chatting about building the perfect deck for your outdoor oasis.
Transform your backyard into a beautiful retreat just in time for summer. Lucky for you, we have an extensive directory of decking professionals who can turn your dream backyard into a reality!