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Deck Materials
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement


The quality or grade of your decking material ultimately determines the success or failure of your structure. Using a high end decking material will offer you the best results. High end materials include cedar, redwood, mahogany, ironwood, and certain composite decking materials.

When selecting your high end material it is important to consider the cost, availability of the product, shipping cost, and maintenance costs. It is best that you take these figures and compare them to the amount of money it will cost you to use non-high end materials (pine or fir) that will need replacement in 10 years. Most likely, you will see that it is worth the additional costs for high end materials because they will last for longer periods of time.

If you do decide to go with a high end material for your decking construction, pay special attention to the grade of wood. Not only does the grade represent the level of visual appeal, but also the level of strength. Wood grades are also based on the number of obvious flaws, such as splits, sap pockets, knots, and other imperfections.

In addition, you will want to focus on the level of maintenance. There are three different decking material options that can affect the strength and amount of maintenance required.

• Pressure-treated Lumber- Least expensive (Pine or Fir)
• Rot-resistant Wood- High End quality (Cedar, Cypress, Redwood)
• Synthetic Materials- Least amount of maintenance (Plastic, Rubber, Vinyl Lumber)

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