Simply put, the right kind of decking will aesthetically give any house a facelift, making your deck the star of the backyard. If you’re about to install or redo your decking keep reading to learn what kind of decking you can choose from.
Different kinds of decking refer to the material (type of wood, composite wood, aluminum, or vinyl/plastic) that the deck will be built with, enhancing whatever style of deck you are building. Along with working with the decking design pattern (parallel, basketweave, or herringbone.)
The different kinds of decking available today makes installing a deck an exciting project. Some people love wood but don’t like the required maintenance, so a modified wood would be a good choice for deck material in this case. That’s the beauty of choosing from different kinds of decking; you get to select the perfect one suiting your needs.
What Are the Different Kinds Of Decking?
Decking done right is a thing of beauty. It adds monetary value to your property by increasing the sale value. Entertainment value is second to none, as it creates a designated space for family and friends to gather, especially when an outdoor kitchen is constructed on top of the decking.
There are three components that you have to decide on before installing your decking:
- Deck Design
- Type Of Material
- Pattern Style
Types Of Deck Designs
The kind of decking style is one of three components that need considering, and your choice is sometimes a forced one depending on your house layout.
- Ground-level decks are perfect for single-level homes and less expensive than raised decks.
- Important to choose appropriate materials, as joints and lumber may come into contact with the ground that’s wet.
- A slightly raised patio-like deck made of wood/composite decking materials.
- Commonly placed at the back of a U- or L-shaped home.
- The attached decks can connect the exterior doors of both the inside parts of an L-shaped house.
- Ranges from a couple of feet from the ground to a second-story level.
- Cost is more costly to a platform deck, all depending on the height of the deck.
- Popular in areas that are used to flooding.
- It can be placed all over a property, typically connected with steps or a garden path.
- Island-style decks are not attached to the house, think pool decking, and can be built over any area – whether it’s rocky or uneven.
- The good idea is to add a roof over the freestanding design – gazebo, veranda, and other types of roofing.
- Like a wraparound porch, it can be larger and roomier and is slightly elevated.
- Ideal when you want to increase the living area of your house.
- A series of multi-level decks connected by steps/paths.
- Ideal for large properties with heavy changes in elevation – hills, rocky landscaping, and slopes – where each level can perform a different function.
- Like a front porch with nothing overhead, usually complementing the architectural design.
- It can be a courtyard decking area or a few connected platforms that lead up to the house’s front entrance.
- Rooftop decks are perfect for flat roofs, like on top of a garage.
- Structural and engineering tests should be done before construction.
Swimming Pool Decks
- Swimming pool decks make above-ground pools easily accessible, creating a space for people to lounge by the pool.
- These decks are slip-resistant, scorch-resistant, and, when maintained, splinter-resistant.
- These decks are more expensive due to construction costs and the overall skill required to install
- construct them. Typically, a two-story deck begins with a raised platform or attached deck on ground-level that is later attached to a second-story balcony.
Types Of Decking Materials
The types of decking materials refer to what you are using to build the deck. Your choice is between different kinds of natural woods, pressure-treated wood, modified wood, composite boards, vinyl plastics, and aluminum.
|Type Of Material||Description||Cost|
|Ipe IronwoodPau Lope||These exotic woods are extremely durable, have an incredible color, and require little maintenance other than staining and cleaning every couple of years. Pau Lope lasts 10-15 years (longer with regular maintenance.)Ironwood lasts up to 40 years.Ipe can last easily 50+ years or more.Will add value to your home.||$20 to $26 per sq ft|
|Redwood||Has a beautiful reddish hue, which will turn silver with age unless stained and sealed often.Redwood is rot-resistant but can turn black when exposed to prolonged moisture.||$7.75-$8 per sq ft|
|Cedar||Has a yellowish hue and is an attractive wood choice for decking, even though Cedar is often used for finishing touches on a deck – planters, railings, and seating options.When building a deck with Cedar, ensure that you are only using the “heartwood.”||$3.75-$4 per sq ft|
|Pressure Treated Wood||The most common wood type used in decking construction is less expensive than other wood.PTW offers a similar resistance to rot, decay, weather damage, and aging due to chemicals used in its treatment.Shorter life span but can last 15+ years with regular maintenance||$2-$3 per sq ft|
|Composite Wood Decking||Pre-made boards are made out of a blend of plastic and wood.Typically a equal blend of wood fibres and plastic. Requires less maintenance than other wood options but can present as “fake.”Wide range of colours, only requiring a yearly wash as maintenance, and can last 25+ years.||$5-20 per sq ft|
|PVC (Vinyl) Decking||Made out of 100% PVC materials.Very similar to composite decking, with a few improvements.DIY made easy.||$6-20 per sq ft|
|Aluminum Decking||Aluminum decking is extremely durable and resistant to rot, rust, mould, weather, and cracking.It’s stronger than most wood types and has interlocking edges that make them watertight.||$10-$20 per sq ft|
|Modified Wood||Softwood that’s put through an acetylation process, resulting in wood that mimics characteristics found in popular hardwoods. Requires less maintenance and is ideal for heavy foot traffic areas.It can last up to 30-years with less maintenance required than other wood.||$7-$12 per sq ft|
Different Kinds of Decking Patterns
Last but not less important than your other decking choices is to choose your decking design pattern. Technically, you can choose whatever design pops into your mind, but here are some more standard ones to get your creative juices flowing.
- Basic deck pattern, boards run parallel or perpendicular with the wall (face) of the house.
- Parallel decking gives the deck a longer appearance.
- Perpendicular decking can require changes in construction (joints and ledger and will make the deck look wider.
- Basketweave/Parquet are deck patterns that have different patterns in similarly squared (block) areas within the deck – some of these blocks can run parallel or perpendicular, creating a contrasting effect with the same size boxes.
- Chevron pattern has a seamless zigzag design (each side meeting point to point), cut in different angles where the planks end.
- The herringbone pattern reflects a broken zigzag design, cut at 90-degree angles.
- Diagonal deck boards run at a 45-degree angle diagonally. This design requires full-length boards all across and doesn’t need sway braces.
- A diagonal framing pattern is an alternative pattern that’s beautiful and still retains the strength of a normal diagonal design.
Personal Custom Pattern
- Personal custom patterns can be combining a few of the above patterns or designing a pattern yourself.
- Be sure to include the builder, if it’s not you, when planning a unique pattern, as he will advise if your pattern is buildable.
There are many kinds of decking available to choose from. Picking a construction style, decking material, and pattern of the deck will give you the perfect deck. Always discuss your choices with the builder, as he is the one who will have to implement your dream deck. If you plan to build it yourself, take some time planning and researching before starting to build. A few extra hours of research can provide many more hours, years of deck enjoyment.