When it comes to building a deck, you want to use the most durable and the longest-lasting materials available. But because there are quite a few options to choose from, making a decision can be overwhelming.
Some of the commonly used materials for decking are softwood, hardwood, pressure-treated wood, plastic and composites. Very rarely, people also use aluminium decking. If you want a durable deck, which one should you choose?
The Most Durable Decking Material
Durability can mean a couple of things. First, it can pertain to the ability of a material to resist or withstand damage. It can also determine how long a deck would last. For this reason, many have varying thoughts about which type of decking is the most durable. To help you decide which one to use, let’s go over how durable each material is.
Softwoods are the cheapest and most common decking material. But what about durability? Are softwoods durable? They are the least durable decking material. They are less dense and weaker than the other decking options. Wood is also susceptible to mould growth, weather damage, splitting, and splintering. And finally, softwoods are the least fire-resistant.
When it comes to longevity, a softwood deck can last for 10-15 years if maintained properly. The maintenance includes regular cleaning, staining, sealing, and painting. If not taken care of properly, it can only last for 5-10 years.
Hardwoods are a step up above softwoods. They are denser and more durable than softwood. They come from slow-growing, deciduous trees. Because of their density, they are more resistant to moisture, fire and insect damage. However, they are still prone to fading due to UV exposure and other problems attributed to wood. Because of their thickness, they are much more expensive and harder to work with compared to softwoods.
Hardwoods last exceptionally longer than softwoods. It can last for at least 25 years when maintained properly. Proper maintenance includes regular cleaning, and oiling and refinishing every few years.
Pressure-treated (PT) woods are woods covered with chemicals to add more protection. It’s more resistant to rotting, and weather and insect damage. However, because of the chemical coat, burning it can be toxic.
When it comes to longevity, PT woods last slightly longer than their non-pressure-treated counterparts. Meaning, depending on the quality of the timber, it can last for more than 25 years.
Plastic decking uses different types of polymers. Because it’s from synthetic materials, it’s resistant to most damages. The only problem with plastic is that they heat quite fast. They can also be very slippery. On top of that, they don’t look very natural.
As for longevity, plastic decks can last for about 25-30 years. They are also low-maintenance.
Composite decking materials, or often called wood-plastic composites, use blended plastic and wood fibres. It combines the best attributes of the two materials. It’s more resistant to mould growth, splitting, splintering, UV, and weather damage due to its plastic fibres. And the best thing is that it looks like real wood.
Composite decking can last for more than 25 years. Some manufacturers even claim that they can last for 50 years. They are also low-maintenance, requiring only regular cleaning.
Platinum decking is the least used material for residential decking. It’s more common in industrial settings. However, platinum decks are best near pools. They are resistant to most damages, including rust. Despite what it seems, they also stay cool even in the hottest weather. The downside is that they are significantly more expensive than previous options. And appearance-wise, it’s not something most homeowners prefer.
Aluminium decking can last for a lifetime. However, due to its appearance and cost, very few people build decks using aluminium.
What’s the Most Durable Decking Material?
Without a doubt, aluminium decking is the most durable decking material. However, it’s not for everyone. Alternatively, you can use composite decking materials, which can last for 30-50 years. It has the advantage of plastic without losing its wood-like appearance.