Selecting the right decking material for your new deck can be overwhelming. Hardwood or Pressure Treated wood? Composite or Vinyl? And if you decide to go with something man-made, there are dozens of options and hundreds of opinions out there. Decking can be be put into 5 simple categories, Hardwood, Traditional Wood, Vinyl, Composite, or Vinyl-Capped Composite.

I know its technically off-season for the Mid-Atlantic‘s outdoor living utility. There! I said it: “Its winter! Snow is forecast. So let’s plan ahead and think about Spring, warmer temps and building you a space to relax in and enjoy soon: your new deck! Hopefully I can shed some light on the pros and cons of each decking type. Let’s start with the traditional wood deck.

Recently, I was asked to bid a deck replacement for a home in the Running Brook neighborhood of Wilde Lake in Columbia.. My homeowner had a modest budget, but the original 1990 deck was falling apart. Something had to be done so she could enjoy her beautiful back yard. Numerous deck companies provided estimates, but all tried pushed hard for a composite deck priced over her budget. I explained the pro’s and con’s of pressure-treated vs composite. We came up with a neat design in pressure-treated wood that fit the budget. She did admit that if she could afford it, she would go with the composite. Funny thing about decks is that “eventually” you need to replace any deck you build. It just might be a little sooner with a wood deck, but at least she can enjoy her new wood deck for many years as long as she follows recommended maintenance suggestions.

I get it: composite decks are all the “Rage” now and are available in many colors and designs, but pressure-treated wood is still a very affordable option to get a great deck built and save money to buy that new BBQ Grill or stylish deck furniture you saw on Houzz. Wood decks can also be painted or stained in many fabulous colors and designs every couple of years to give you a whole new feel and look. Can’t really do that with a composite deck.

Well, my customer is very happy with her new deck and is looking forward to host gatherings this Spring with family and friends. If she had to save up for a composite deck, she may have waited another year or two to enjoy the things that matter the most.

Doug Worm
CCS Project Manager