Non-Wood Deck Materials
Wood is the most common decking material, but it comes with a variety of maintenance issues such as frequent cleanings, fading, cracking, splintering and rotting. Wood decking does not typically come with a warranty and is susceptible to termites and weather. Many homeowners choose to use other building materials to prevent the need for constant upkeep and to save money. There are several alternatives to wood decks available.
Composite decking material is one of the fastest growing materials sold, and there are more than two dozen companies that manufacture it. Typically made from recycled plastic and wood products, such as sawdust, it is a popular deck material because it looks like and feels like wood, as well as comes in a wide variety of colors and textures. This type of material does not have to be refinished and typically comes with a 10-year warranty. Its advantages are that it is easy to clean and requires less maintenance than a wood deck. The downsides to it are that it absorbs water, can stain or discolor and may be a good environment for surface mold and mildew.
Plastic decking material is usually more expensive than composite decking, but it doesn't require any maintenance. It is typically made from virgin PVC or recycled polyethylene. Simply spraying it with a water hose can clean this type of decking material, and the material is lighter and thinner than wood or composite decking. Plastic decking cannot absorb moisture, so it is not vulnerable to decay or mold. It typically comes with a 50-year warranty. The downsides to this decking material are that it doesn't resemble wood, is noisy when walked on, can be slippery when wet, and it tends to get very hot.
Aluminum decking material is the most expensive out of all the types and not very common, but is a very viable building material. It will not rot, rust or warp, and it can be extremely weather and mold resistant. Other features include its fire and insect resistance, as well as its eco-friendliness, because it is recyclable. The majority of aluminum decking materials have self-draining channels, which means the areas beneath it stay dry, which can be beneficial when installing an upper deck. It also stays cooler in the sun than other materials. The downsides to this material are its metal appearance and cost.