When adding a new deck to your home, there are different materials that you can choose from. Consider your budget, aesthetic preferences, and the time and money that you’re willing to spend on maintenance. Here are 5 types of decking materials and their benefits and disadvantages.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is the most common type of decking material and the most affordable. Pressure-treated wood is usually yellow pine that has been chemically treated to resist insect damage. Because it is softwood, it is easier to drive nails and screws into and not as heavy as hardwoods. This can ease labor costs compared to some other decking materials.

Pressure-treated wood does require regular maintenance every couple of years. The deck needs to be pressure-washed, sanded, and sealed. It can be stained any color to match other wooden features on the home.

Redwood and Cedar Types of Decking Materials

Redwood and cedar are also softwoods, but they do not need to be pressure-treated because they naturally contain tannins that provide the same protection against pests. These types of wood have warm tones but can also be stained. Without stain, the color will slowly fade to grey from exposure to the sun. Natural redwood and cedar cost slightly more than pressure-treated wood, but you’ll spend less time maintaining them.


Composite decking is a newer decking material made out of plastics or a combination of plastics and wood fibers. It mimics natural wood well and is very durable, requiring little to no maintenance. Composite deck materials can be difficult to work with, so you’ll need to hire an experienced professional to install the decking. The material itself is also expensive, but it lasts longer than softwood decking materials.

Tropical Hardwoods

Tropical hardwoods come in rich colors and are considered a luxury type of decking material. They are usually sustainably sourced from South America or Southeast Asia, which adds to the cost of the material. Sealant doesn’t adhere well to tropical hardwoods, so the only maintenance necessary is cleaning up any stains. A tropical hardwood deck can stay in good condition for 50 years.

Types of Decking Materials Made From Aluminum

Aluminum decking provides a unique, industrial look that works well with modern, contemporary homes. It is sturdy, low maintenance, and waterproof. It doesn’t require any maintenance and can last for 30 years.

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