Choices for decking material

When we started in 1988, there were only two choices for decking and one or two more for railings. Back then it was Pressure treated, or Cedar for decking, and the same for handrails with the additions of either wrought iron, and not much else.

Today, the choice for decking feels almost infinite. There are multiple options for pressure treated wood, different grades of Cedar, and several dozen varieties of composite and plastic decking, and even aluminum decking, an exotic hardwoods such as IPE, Kayu, and bamboo.

The options for handrails were once only wood, and now span the gamut from aluminum, stainless steel, glass, and composite.


With cedar and pressure treated being the most common, there is not much point in discussing them except for their obvious differences. Both materials are easy to work with and are readily available. this makes upkeep easy and cost effective. Disadvantages are pretty straightforward – Wood tends to warp, split and crack over time, and is susceptible to rot.

The exotic hardwoods offer more benefits in that they are harder and offer a greater resistance to rot, however, they also require a greater commitment to upkeep and are more difficult to work with and not as cost effective as CEdar and Pressure Treated.

Composite and Plastic Decking

This type of decking has seen a great surge in its use. It can be composed of recycled or virgin plastic and recycled lumber. Normally composite lumber cuts routs and fastens the same as traditional lumber, but because it is only usable in non structural applications, the uses are somewhat limited to decking, skirting, and handrails, and other things which can be covered such as flower boxes and benches. The warranties for many of these products are very comprehensive. they cover no rot, decay, warping, splitting or cracking. They even guarantee the fit and finish for 25 years in most cases. The downfall is sometimes they stain easy and can get scratched. however, it is usually easy to replace a board.

Another composite option is PVC decking. the use of this product is becoming more prevalent as the industry learns to make the product look and more closely resemble such exotic decking as IPE and Kayu. The down side is the initial cost, bit the payoff in the long run speaks for itself.

The latest trend is to find composite core decking with a plastic wrap. The benefits to these types of decking is that they are virtually stain resistant, and many carry a warranty which specifically covers exactly that – such as TREX Transcends. If you need any further help, or more information, please look at out decks pages to see some examples, or contact us.

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