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What does an ideal summer evening on a back deck look like for you? Maybe it’s enjoying a pitcher of iced tea with friends while your kids catch fireflies. Or perhaps it’s lighting a citronella candle and listening to a podcast by yourself. A well-designed deck can hold many memories, so be sure to choose the best decking material for your budget and lifestyle.
There are plenty of affordable deck materials and also ways to cut costs. One way to lower your price point is to consider building a smaller deck. Since the majority of your budget will go toward decking material, using less material can save you a significant amount.
One low-cost yet high-quality type of decking material is pressure-treated decking, also called treated decking. This is wood that has been chemically treated to resist things like rot, termites and other decay.
To keep your pressure-treated decking in the best shape, you’ll need to clean it about twice a year with deck cleaner and a pressure washer used on a low setting. If you decide to use soap on your deck, use one that is free of harsh chemicals. You should also inspect your deck once a year for any loose nails or screws and replace them when necessary. If you take good care of treated decking, it can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years.
Cedar decking is a step above treated decking, but it comes with a slightly higher price point. Some people choose cedar decking over treated decking because of its warm hue of brown mixed with golden tan. Cedar decking lasts about as long as treated decking, but it requires a commitment to upkeep. In order to prevent rot, make sure to keep the surface free of dirt and leaves, and move any furniture or plants after a heavy rainfall to allow the deck to dry thoroughly. You’ll need to restain cedar decking about once every five years.
If you’re willing to invest a little more into your deck, composite decking is a great choice. With composite decking, you can achieve the same timeless look as a wood deck but with much less upkeep. Since composite is made out of both wood and plastic, or wood and vinyl, you won’t have to spend countless hours scrubbing and restaining composite decking like you would for wood decking. Using a mixture of materials results in a deck that will last up to 20 years, because composite decks are less likely to rot, crack and splinter from moisture.
If budget is less of a consideration but maintenance is, consider vinyl decking. This low-maintenance, durable material can last anywhere from 20 – 25 years. Vinyl decking is also stain resistant and easy to clean, so don’t worry if your toddler decides to explore their creative side and color on your vinyl-coated deck.
Before you commit to any one type of deck material, keep in mind that there are some additional costs you’ll have to pay before you can soak up the sun. You’ll need railings, balusters and fasteners. If your deck sits more than 30 inches above the ground, your banisters should be less than four inches apart to keep your pets and kids safe.
If you’re ready to add a deck to your backyard, partner with a reliable supplier like Mid-City Lumber to help you explore every option for your budget and lifestyle. We’ve been serving the people of Mid-Missouri since 1969, and we’d love to help you pick the right type of material for your deck!