Do you want add to your outdoor living spaces now so that you can enjoy them come warmer weather? If you are planning to build an outdoor deck on your house, explore the different decking materials available. Here are 5 options with their advantages and disadvantages.

Pressure-Treated Wood is the Most Common of All Decking Materials

Pressure-treated wood is a simple and functional decking material. It makes up approximately 75% of all decks in the U.S. It is chemically treated to help it withstand mildew, pests, and rot, but it still needs to be re-stained and sealed annually. This material costs about $1.50-$2.50 per square foot, and it is easy to work with which makes labor costs lower than other decking materials.

Natural Softwoods

Natural softwoods like cedar and redwood are popular decking material choices for homeowners. Cedar is more inexpensive than redwood, running from $3.75- $5 per square foot. It contains natural tannins which protect the wood from rotting and insects, but it still needs to be stained and sealed to maintain its color and texture. Redwood costs about $6-8 per square foot.

Tropical Hardwoods

Tropical hardwoods boast a long lifespan of up to 50 years. They are the most expensive of all decking materials, since they should be sustainably sourced from tropical climates. Their weight makes them harder to build with, which drives up labor costs. Some species to look for are Ipe, Cumaru, and Tigerwood. You’ll pay a premium for these types of decking materials, at $8-$12 per square foot.

Composites are Low-Maintenance Decking Materials

Composites are synthetic materials made from recycled plastic and wood fibers. Their major advantage is they very low-maintenance since they can’t rot or become infested by pests. Composite decking materials usually mimic real wood well and the costs are just slightly higher than redwood, at $7-$10 per square foot.


Aluminum decking materials are low-maintenance like composites. They provide a clean, industrial aesthetic. The only downfall is that aluminum can be loud when walked upon, and may be slippery when wet. It costs $6-$8 per square foot, like redwood.

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