Having a deck is a great way to spruce up your home since you can have the design you want depending on why you need it. However, the deck needs to be frequently maintained because it is prone to damage, due to exposure to the elements. Such a task may be tedious and time-consuming; thus, you may wish to know which decking material will need the least maintenance.
So, what is the best low maintenance deck material? The best low maintenance deck materials include aluminum, plastic, composite, and fiber cement decking materials. In comparison to traditional decking materials, each of these materials has its own fair share of advantages and disadvantages in regard to their functionality, cost, and maintenance.
Based on all these and other considerations, our top pick for the best decking materials from the most preferred to the least, we have aluminum, fiber cement, plastic, and lastly, composite decking.
There are so many decking materials items in the market, but we wish to find out which one will require the least maintenance. We aim to help you save time and money, and at the same time, help you get the best decking material. Let’s delve deeper into some of the best options you can find to assist you in your decision.
Plastic or PVC Decking
Compared to other decking materials like wood and composite, a plastic deck may at first seem too expensive, especially given the initial cost during purchasing. Despite this high initial cost, plastic decking is of high quality.
You will notice that the plastic deck will only require simple maintenance, and you will only need to use water and soap to clean the deck. Thus, this material is quite affordable in maintenance matters, which will ensure that your deck lasts longer.
Another advantage of the PVC is that it is immune to mold, fungi, and pest invasion. Also, it is not prone to warping, scratching, or fading. With these features, you can easily maintain your deck, and you won’t have to worry about rotting or bug infestation.
One of the best parts of PVC decking is that it is a very affordable option in the long run. Secondly, it is versatile, and you can customize it to any color you prefer. It is also relatively easy to set up and is one of the most durable options in the market.
However, the downside to this material is that it is prone to fading, especially when exposed to extreme weather. Hence, with time, your deck may lose its color and become brittle. In case this happens, the only option is a replacement since it is difficult to repair a PVC.
For unmatched durability and longevity, compared to all the available decking materials, think aluminum decking. It can survive harsh weather conditions and fungi infestation. Hence, you need not worry about decay or rotting when you have this type of decking material.
Aluminum decks, unlike fiber cement, are light, making them easy to install. They can also resist moisture and are not as explosive as other methods; thus, you are secure if you live in a state that is susceptible to bush fires.
However, the most significant advantage of this type of decking is its durability. It is not likely to rot or crack, unlike other wood alternatives. This quality makes it another low maintenance option.
However, on the downside, aluminum tends to be noisy during rainy seasons or when many activities are happening on the deck; it is noisy underfoot too; hence, not commendable if you are going for a quiet option.
Durability, attractiveness, and low maintenance are features that composite decking boasts of as opposed to timber decking, which is susceptible to rot. Composite decking is a mixture of recycled plastic and wood particles (sawdust or wood chips).
It tends to be more expensive than timber because it maintains its compact shape, which keeps it attractive even without frequent maintenance. Similarly, the material can withstand weather changes, so you won’t need to worry about rotting or breakage.
Moreover, composite decking materials clip into each other, giving it a refined touch. So, you never have to deal with problems such as popping nails, as seen in wood decking. Aside from being tough against rot and pests invasion, composite decking comes in various shades that resemble natural timber colors and different styles to suit your needs. The material does not need staining or oiling unless you need to alter your deck’s color in the future.
The downside of this material, especially the dark composite deck, is that contact with direct sunlight can make it too hot and uncomfortable to walk over barefoot. Thus, it can be hazardous to children and pets. In such a case, ensure that you make adequate shading for your deck. However, ensure to clean your deck since the accumulation of dirt under shade can attract mold.
Fiber Cement Decking
Fiber cement decking is a new invention in the decking market to solve the problem of high maintenance costs. It is durable, does not require frequent maintenance, and is available in different shades for your modern decking requirements. Additionally, it has a timber like texture that makes it resemble real wood, a feature that other products could borrow.
Based on maintenance and durability, fiber cement decks are likely the best choice for decking material. A plus feature is that it is less likely to absorb moisture since it is made from sand, silica, and cement, making it waterproof. However, given that it consists of heavy materials, the purchase and installation costs are relatively high, making it expensive at first.
Besides, these materials make the fiber cement tasking to use. There are also health concerns about silica dust, which is one of the material’s components. Therefore, you need to be careful not to release it into the environment during installation.
Considerations Before Buying Decking Materials
Before picking materials for your decking, there are other factors to consider. First, consider your environment. For an outdoor deck, your deck will be prone to weather changes such as direct sunlight and rain, which can make your deck wear fast. Hence, take into account the fact that you will need a deck that can withstand extreme weather.
If you have children, pets, or you frequently entertain, your deck will be prone to staining, so you will have to build a deck that can survive this staining, scratches, and even fading. Doing so will save you the costs of annual or biannual repairs to keep your deck attractive.
If you are a diligent homeowner and you can easily maintain your deck from scratches, direct sun, and rotting, then your deck can serve you longer, and you won’t have to keep replacing your decking materials. It is also vital to consider your budget before embarking on building a low maintenance deck. You may want to choose based on the purchasing and installation cost against the overall maintenance cost. The material may be cheaper to install but expensive to maintain, and vise versa.
Best Low Maintenance Deck Material
It may be challenging to determine which decking material is best for your deck and will be easy on your budget. Our top choice is aluminum decking material, which can last for a lifetime without breaking, warping, or even rotting; however, it is not very popular in the market.
The material may not be trendy due to its expensive nature. Still, if you are looking for a durable alternative with the least maintenance cost, aluminum decking is the best pick.
The fiber cement follows closely behind in matters of maintenance and durability. It does not readily absorb moisture. Hence it won’t dampen or harbor fungi and algae; significant causes of rotting. It is also resistant to extreme weather, so you won’t need to paint or oil it regularly. Next, we have plastic decking. The materials fit nicely into each other, cutting your cost.
Similarly, it comes in colors that mimic natural timber; hence you will not have to paint the deck for a natural timber appearance. Moreover, beetles cannot feed on plastic decks, thus saving you costs for regular repairs.
Finally, composite decking is the fourth-best deck material. It combines the look of recycled plastic with natural timber aesthetics to give you a great looking deck. It is also durable, so you won’t need to maintain it regularly.