May is National Deck Safety Month, so it’s a good time to think about building or replacing a deck. First, you’ll want to compare cost, maintenance requirements, and the expected lifespan for each type of decking material available. This article goes over some common materials that decks can be constructed from.

A Popular Type of Decking Material is Pressure-Treated Wood

Pine and fir are the most common species of pressure-treated wood. The chemical treatment protects the lumber from wood-destroying organisms like fungi and insects. This makes it ideal for outdoor construction.

Pressure-treated wood needs to be stained or painted, but this shouldn’t be done until it’s dried out, which can take up to six months. This type of decking material is affordable and durable but does have to be re-stained or re-painted over time. It should also be pressure washed once a year.

Natural Softwoods

The most popular natural softwood decking materials are cedar and redwood. They contain a resin that makes them moisture and pest resistant. These softwoods provide an upscale aesthetic but do require maintenance to keep up appearances.

Unless you apply a UV-resistant stain, these woods will fade to a grey shade over time. Like pressure-treated wood, they should also be pressure washed every year. They last about as long as pressure-treated wood but are more expensive.


This type of decking material is more lightweight and durable than either of the above wooden options. It also has very little maintenance requirements. You pay for these conveniences because it is more expensive than these other decking materials. Some downsides are that it can be loud to walk on and becomes slippery when wet.

Composite is a Newer Type of Decking Material

Composite decking materials are made from a combination of plastics and wood fibers. They have a longer lifespan than wood and fewer maintenance needs but are more expensive. Composite decking doesn’t need to be stained or painted, and simply scrubbing the surface with soapy water and a brush will clean the boards. Composite decking costs less than aluminum but more than wood.

When choosing a type of decking material, think about the size of the deck, your budget, and how much maintenance is required. Imagine what kind of deck will match the style of your home best.

Appalachian Inspection Services provides home inspection services to Western North Carolina. Contact us to book an appointment.