Decking Materials: Cost vs Maintenance

Time and money—both upfront and long-term—can influence which decking materials you choose. Here’s a quick rundown on the cost and maintenance of five common decking materials. They range from least to most expensive.

(Top Photo: Evgenia Basyrova from Pexels)

Pressure-treated Lumber: A cheap but toxic decking material

Pressure-treated lumber is the least expensive of all materials and is resistant to rot and insects due to chemicals. Because these chemicals are toxic, you need to reseal every couple of years to prevent them from releasing into the air and in my opinion, use only in areas where people cannot directly come into contact with the material.

Pressure-treated lumber is inexpensive but it can be toxic. Photo Credit – Chris F from Pexels

Natural Wood: A Classic Decking Material

This material has been a mainstay in decking for many years. Unfortunately, much of the cedar used for decking comes from Canada and the price of this material has skyrocketed in the last two years. Wood naturally resists rot and insects, and requires maintenance every few years, including pressure washing and resealing.

Natural wood requires maintenance and costs more. But it’s still a favorite. Photo Credit – Pexels

Composite Decking: A Popular Decking Material Choice

Made from recycled plastic and wood fibers, composite decking comes in a range of colors and textures. Regular cleaning to prevent mildew and mold is the key to maintaining it. This is a very popular choice.

Plastic Decking: Colors Can Fade, Resists Mildew and Mold

Plastic is not necessarily cheap, but it’s very durable. Similar to composite decking, it requires cleaning to deal with mold and mildew. When it comes to appearance, keep in mind that colors can fade over time. The best part of plastic decking is that it is completely inorganic; there are no organic parts that could mildew or grow mold.

Aluminum Decking: Extremely Durable, Industrial

Often used at lakefronts or next to pools, aluminum decking is very durable decking material, due to its anodized finish. Mold, mildew, staining, rust, rot—it’s resistant to all. However, the material looks industrial and its appeal may be limited for backyard use.


Dreaming of Deck Time? If a deck is on your wishlist, keep these basic elements of deck design in mind, and call us to help you design your perfect deck! 612-861-0188.