Welcome to our comprehensive guide on deck construction and the various types of decks available for your home. If you are among the majority of homeowners who do not have a deck, it’s time to consider adding this wonderful outdoor living space to your property.
A deck not only enhances the aesthetics of your home but also provides an ideal place for relaxation, entertainment, and enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. In this guide, we will explore the different types of decks and help you choose the perfect one for your specific needs and preferences.
The Different Types of Decks and Deck Materials
Decks can be classified based on the materials used for construction. The material you select will significantly impact the durability, maintenance requirements, and budget of your deck project. Let’s take a closer look at the options available:
Wood has been a popular choice for deck construction for a long time. While redwood and cedar were once the only options, today you have a variety of wood choices to consider:
Pressure-Treated Wood deck
This is the most affordable option. However, it’s important to note that the chemicals used to treat the wood may have potential toxicity concerns. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and re-sealing, is necessary for maintaining its appearance and durability.
Known for its natural beauty, cedar decks are resistant to bugs and offer excellent durability. However, being a softwood, cedar can be prone to damage if not properly maintained.
Redwood is another attractive option, offering similar benefits to cedar in terms of bug resistance and aesthetic appeal. It requires periodic maintenance to ensure its longevity.
If you’re looking for a premium hardwood option, Ipe is an excellent choice. It hails from Central and South America and boasts exceptional resistance to rot, bugs, wear, splintering, and even fire. However, it is worth noting that Ipe is the most expensive wood option available.
Composite decking materials provide an alternative to natural wood. These decks are made from a blend of plastic and wood fibers, offering several advantages:
- Appearance: Composite decks closely resemble natural wood in their appearance, making it challenging to distinguish between the two.
- Durability: Composite decks are highly resistant to rotting and wear, ensuring their longevity.
- Low Maintenance: Unlike wood decks, composite decks do not require staining or painting. Occasional gentle washing and scrubbing are sufficient to keep them looking their best. Mildew can be easily removed with a light pressure wash.
- Hidden Fasteners: The installation of composite decks results in a cleaner and seamless look, as the clips, deck screws, and fasteners remain hidden from view.
PVC Decks – Polyvinyl Chloride Deck materials
PVC decking material is an affordable and 100% recyclable option that offers its own unique benefits:
- Durability: PVC decks are highly resistant to staining, rotting, and fading, making them a long-lasting choice for homeowners.
- Low Maintenance: Similar to composite decks, PVC decks require minimal maintenance, saving you time and effort in the long run.
- Considerations: It’s important to note that PVC decks are unmistakably made of plastic, so if aesthetics are a top priority, this may not be the ideal choice. Additionally, in hot or sunny climates, the deck surface can become hot to the touch.
Different Styles of Decks – The Most Common Ones
Apart from considering the materials, it’s essential to determine the style of deck that best suits your preferences and intended use. Let’s explore some popular styles:
Wraparound decks, often referred to as wraparound porches, provide ample outdoor space that can be accessed from multiple entry points in your home. Unlike a porch, a wraparound deck offers versatility in terms of shape and levels, allowing you to create a customized outdoor area that complements your home’s architecture.
A wraparound deck is that it not only offers ample additional space for entertaining, relaxing, grilling, and various activities, but it also enhances the value of your home.
Multi level decks provide the opportunity to partition decking spaces based on specific purposes, enhance the aesthetic attractiveness of expansive decks, and optimize the utilization of uneven or hard-to-reach terrain.
If your property features slopes or uneven terrain, a multilevel deck can be an ideal choice. This style involves building one level attached to your house, providing easy access from your exterior doors. Additional levels are created with steps, offering different-sized deck areas suitable for various purposes. Multi-tier decks tend to be larger and require a higher budget compared to other styles.
Attached decks offer the advantage of being directly connected to your home, providing easy access through an exterior door. These decks are commonly designed in square, rectangular, L-shaped, or U-shaped configurations, ensuring a practical and functional outdoor area that harmonizes with the overall layout of your house.
By extending the living space outdoors, attached decks create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces and environments, allowing for a smooth flow of activities. Whether it’s enjoying a morning cup of coffee, hosting gatherings with family and friends, or simply appreciating the surrounding scenery, a large attached deck can serve as a versatile and welcoming extension of your home.
For homeowners with spacious backyards, a detached deck can be an excellent choice. These decks are not directly attached to the home but instead built as a floating deck level accessible via a path or walkway. Detached decks are particularly advantageous for creating usable areas in parts of your property with poor drainage. The size of the detached platform can be customized to suit your specific needs and budget.
You may have heard the terms floating decks , island decks, or platform decks – they are all synonyms for detached decks.
An entryway deck, often situated at the front of a residence, expands the outdoor living area towards the street, providing an inviting space. In the absence of a front porch, an entryway deck establishes a connection with neighbors or offers a delightful view of the surroundings.
Entryway decks come in various sizes and shapes, and they may or may not include railings. To enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home, you have the option to incorporate benches, built-in planter boxes, or other design elements.
When constructing an entryway deck, it is crucial to ensure it aligns with the style and structure of your house. Ideally, the front facade of your home should maintain a unified appearance, avoiding any indication that the deck was an afterthought.
Swimming Pool Deck – Spa, or Hot Tub Deck styles
By incorporating a deck in close proximity to your pool, you expand the available area for sunbathing, dining, and supervising children enjoying the water. Furthermore, a deck leading to a hot tub, sauna, or steam room can provide a luxurious spa-like experience.
For a seamless and unified appearance, you have the option to construct a deck that surrounds either an in-ground or above-ground pool. However, it is important to ensure compliance with local safety regulations pertaining to swimming pools, such as the installation of a fence or gate around the pool area. Given the proximity to water, it is advisable to select a slip-resistant decking material. Opting for composite or Trex decking materials guarantees durability, while applying a sealant to wooden decks can enhance their longevity.
Rooftop Decks or Over Garage Decks
If you reside in a remote area or have a property with breathtaking views, consider the possibility of a rooftop deck. These decks are constructed on top of your home (if you have a flat roof), offering a panoramic view of your surroundings and an additional outdoor living space. However, it’s important to note that building a rooftop deck may not be suitable for homes in neighborhoods or areas with local building code restrictions.
A good benefit of over garage deck or rooftop deck is that it can save you money as opposed to building one that is separate from your garage.
Choosing the Right Deck for You
Before finalizing the type of deck for your home, it’s crucial to determine whether a patio or deck is the better option. Patios are paved areas that sit directly on the ground, while decks are raised structures resembling platforms. If you prefer an elevated outdoor space that provides a distinct visual appeal and flexibility in design, a deck is likely the right choice.
When considering the materials for your deck, take into account factors such as your climate, environment, deck size, budget, and your willingness to perform maintenance tasks. This comprehensive evaluation will help you narrow down the material that best suits your project’s specific requirements.
Design Your Dream Deck Today
Choosing the perfect deck for your home is an important decision that requires careful consideration. If you’re unsure about which type of deck would be most suitable for your needs, we recommend consulting with our knowledgeable team of experts. With their extensive experience in deck construction, they can assess your home, understand your preferences, and design a customized deck solution that fits your budget.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to transform your outdoor space into a haven for relaxation, entertainment, and enjoyment. Contact our team today and let us help you design the deck of your dreams.
What are the best types of deck materials?
Choosing the right decking material is just as crucial as selecting the style and type of deck that suits your needs. Factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, appearance, and price should all be considered when making your decision. Explore the following top decking materials:
Composite Decking Crafted from a blend of wood fiber and plastic
- Offers superior durability and requires less maintenance compared to wood decking
- May be more prone to fading and scratching than synthetic decking
- Cost range for composite decking: $4 to $12 per square foot
Synthetic Decking (PVC or Vinyl) Constructed from plastic and vinyl materials
- Delivers excellent durability and is resistant to scratches and fading
- May have a less traditional wood-like appearance
- Cost range for synthetic decking: $5 to $13 per square foot
Wood Decking Available in various types including ipe, redwood, pine, bamboo, mahogany, or cedar
- Requires more frequent maintenance compared to PVC or composite decking
- Boasts a timeless and classic aesthetic appeal
- Cost range for wood decking: $4 to $45 per square foot
Aluminum Decking Composed of aluminum coated for outdoor use
- Provides waterproof properties and demands minimal maintenance
- Not recommended for coastal regions due to susceptibility to corrosion from saltwater
- Cost range for aluminum decking: $6 to $15 per square foot
Concrete or Stone
Although it comes with a higher price tag, concrete or stone decking stands out as the most durable option. Depending on the installation quality and environmental factors, decks constructed with concrete blocks can last for several decades.
The cost of installation varies based on deck size and the specific material chosen. Concrete and stone decks are particularly suitable for compact ground-level spaces, offering seamless integration with the natural surroundings and adding value to the property. However, due to their weight, they are not recommended for raised or elevated structures.
Best Wood for Decks and Best Decking Materials
In terms of wood options for decks, cedar is widely recognized as a superior choice compared to pressure-treated lumber. Over time, cedar naturally weathers into an appealing soft gray hue. It offers the advantage of being lightweight and easy to handle, making it ideal for DIY enthusiasts. Cedar also possesses natural tannins that provide resistance against decay, infestation, and rot.
When using cedar for decking, it is advisable to opt for heartwood rather than sapwood. Heartwood, the denser inner part of the tree, is more resistant to decay compared to the outer layer known as sapwood.
Similar to pressure-treated wood, cedar requires regular maintenance. However, by selecting high-quality cedar and performing annual refinishing, you can expect your cedar deck to surpass the performance of standard pressure-treated wood decking. Cedar can be found at an approximate price range of $9 to $11.50 per square foot.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Deck Type
Durability and Longevity
- Wood: Choose the right wood material such as redwood, cedar, pine, or tropical hardwood, considering their respective durability and susceptibility to decay, rot, and bugs.
- Advanced Vinyl Composite: Offers exceptional durability, being resistant to splitting, splintering, rotting, warping, and weather damage. It is also flame-resistant.
- Aluminum: Provides strength, resistance to rust and warping, and is also flame-resistant. Not susceptible to wood-boring bugs.
- Wood: Requires regular maintenance, including power washing, periodic refinishing with a protective finish, and application of water-repellent wood preservative in extreme climates.
- Advanced Vinyl Composite: Virtually maintenance-free, as it is water-resistant and does not require staining or sealing.
- Aluminum: Minimal maintenance required, but it can accumulate dirt and grime, necessitating occasional cleaning.
- Wood: Provides a classic deck look, but requires more effort in cutting and installation. Color may change over time if not properly treated.
- Advanced Vinyl Composite: Versatile and can achieve various designs without the need for specific lumber densities. Provides a wood-like appearance without the maintenance. Texture adds authenticity and traction.
- Aluminum: Lacks a natural appearance and may not blend well with the natural environment. Can be loud to walk on.
- Wood: Price varies based on the type of wood, with cheaper options saving money initially but potentially incurring higher maintenance costs in the long run.
- Advanced Vinyl Composite: Generally cost-effective, with prices averaging $4-8 per square foot and no additional maintenance costs.
- Aluminum: Typically the most expensive option, priced at around $11 per square foot, reflecting its durability and resistance.
Overall Winner: Advanced Vinyl Composite
- Low cost, wide variety of styles, and excellent longevity make it an ideal choice for a modern deck.
- Vinyl Fence and Deck offers cost-effective materials and reliable installation support.
Note: It’s important to consider personal preferences, local climate, and specific requirements when choosing a deck material.
What is the cheapest type of decking?
Pressure-treated lumber is the most prevalent and cost-effective option. While it necessitates annual cleaning, sanding, and sealing, when appropriately maintained with a clear sealant, it can endure for up to 30 years.
In conclusion, choosing the right deck for your home goes beyond aesthetics—it involves evaluating the right materials, styles, and patterns, considering factors like durability, maintenance, and cost.
From the versatile and cost-effective pressure-treated wood to the maintenance-free composite decking, the choice of deck material can significantly influence the deck’s lifespan and the amount of effort you’ll need to keep it looking great.
Styles of decks, such as wraparound, multi-tier, attached, detached, and entryway decks, can be tailored to fit your home’s architectural style and your specific needs.
By choosing the right deck, you can not only enhance your home’s value but also create an inviting outdoor space for relaxation and entertainment. Remember, the perfect deck for your home is one that meets your specific needs, fits your budget, and complements the aesthetics of your home.
Therefore, take the time to explore various options and consider seeking professional advice to make an informed decision. Your dream deck is within your grasp—it’s time to make it a reality.