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 is the least expensive of all materials and is resistant to rot and insects due to chemicals. In my opinion, it’s best to use these only in areas where people won’t come into contact with the material.

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

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

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

COMPOSITE DECKING  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 is not necessarily cheap, but it’s very durable. Like composite decking, it requires cleaning to deal with mold and mildew. 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 is common at lakefronts or next to pools. Due to its anodized finish, it’s very durable. Mold, mildew, staining, rust, rot—it’s resistant to all. Its industrial look may limit its appeal 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.