Your deck serves a few purposes. It serves as a transition from your home to your yard, offers a place to relax outdoors, and it increases your options for entertaining. You’ll add furniture and choose décor, but your deck is a structure that will need maintenance. Because of this, the materials you select to build a deck are important. There are different types of decking materials to choose from, each with pros and cons.

Things to Consider When Building a Deck

There are some things to consider when you’re building a deck. First, set a budget so you know the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. You’ll also need to decide if you will build the deck yourself or hire a professional. Consider the purpose of your deck since it may affect the design. For example, do you want built-in seating or a built-in bar? These are things to think about before you begin shopping for materials.

Wooden Types of Decking Materials

Wood decking is a popular choice that is durable and generally easy to install. Pressure-treated lumber is the most popular type of decking and it’s affordable compared to other materials.

Although pressure-treated decking is initially a very affordable option, be sure to consider maintenance costs for the life of your deck. You’ll need to replace boards when they splinter, crack, or warp. Pressure-treated wood will need to be sealed yearly and requires periodic repainting or re-staining to stay in good shape.


Composite decking boards are a blend of wood fibers and plastic that are moderately priced and resist warping and rotting. Composite decking can have a slightly natural look, accented by stain or paint, but not as much as authentic wood options. This material is not mold-resistant and must be cleaned to remove mold and mildew growth.

Types of Decking Materials: Vinyl

Also called PVC decking, vinyl decking materials are lightweight and durable. This material is a little more expensive than wood, but maintenance is minimal. Vinyl decking can withstand the elements and is resistant to rotting, warping, mold, and insects. It is reasonably easy to install and does not require staining or sealing.

Although manufacturing methods have produced more natural-looking vinyl decking, it does not have the natural beauty of wood. Additionally, some varieties may be more slippery and, without good support, pieces can begin to sag over time.


Aluminum is a type of decking that is often overlooked. It has a higher price tag but with very little maintenance required, aluminum decking is a smart purchase. Installation is best done by a professional who has experience with the material. It requires a special saw and specific fasteners to attach pieces to the main deck structure. Aluminum decking materials are weather-resistant and insect-resistant. Most varieties are treated to be anti-slip and have a durable finish.

There are many options available for your backyard deck. Look at costs and maintenance requirements when choosing the best material for your project. Prefabricated materials come in multiple color and texture options to further personalize your outdoor living space.

ARK Inspections offers inspection services to customers in the Twin Cities area. Contact us to request an appointment.