Outdoor Living Spaces Part 1: Decks

add a deck to enhance your outdoor experience

In a previous blog post, we identified all the ways you can create an oasis in your backyard. There are so many options available to homeowners from decks to patios. Each one has its own benefits lending itself to creating the outdoor living space of your dreams.

In this article, we are going to discuss all the types of materials you can use when designing and building your new deck.


Determining the design of your deck includes how you want to utilize your deck, the view that your deck provides, weather conditions, and the overall complexity of the space.  You can also add many features to your deck from kitchens to entertainment space. Check out our blog article on all your options by clicking here.

Once you decide on the design concept, it’s time to select the materials.

Deck Materials

Here are a few of the base deck material options:

Material Advantages Disadvantages
Pressure Treated Wood:
A common wood, typically Southern Yellow Pine, that is chemically treated for rot and insects.
  • Low cost
  • Rot resistant
  • Repels insects
  • Chemical treatments are toxic
  • Color discoloration from the elements
  • Ongoing maintenance (i.e. water sealant, cleaning) to avoid cracking, splitting, and warping
Cedar or Redwood:
Two options from western states that share similar characteristics.
  • Naturally resistant to moisture, rot, and insects
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Rich color tones and easy to stain or paint
  • Moderate cost
  • More susceptible to damage due to softness
  • Deterioration and ongoing maintenance
Tropical Hardwoods:
Some examples of tropical hardwoods include ipe, cumaru, and tigerwood.
  • Naturally resistant to moisture, rot, and insects
  • Durable and grainy
  • More attractive and unique
  • Higher cost
  • Not as easy to stain or paint
  • Ongoing treatments
Synthetic materials made from plastics or wood fibers.
  • Weather and insect resistant
  • Durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Moderate to high cost
  • Do not provide “natural look”

Deck Railings

There are many options when it comes to railings as well.  Choosing the right railing is very dependent on both the look and the function that you have in mind for your deck.

Here are a few of the deck railing options:

Material Advantages Disadvantages
Of course, matching the base deck with the railing option is always a consideration using the same type of wood.
  • Lower cost
  • Looks more natural by blending with deck material
  • More options to create the proper “look and feel”
  • Ongoing maintenance (i.e. water sealant, cleaning) to avoid cracking, splitting, and warping
  • Needs expert installation
Manufactured synthetic materials, plastic or composite railings are a cost-effective option over time.
  • Pre-made makes it easier to install
  • Low maintenance
  • Warrantied
  • Less flexibility with style or “look and feel”
  • Higher cost upfront
  • Less ability to paint or customize
A long-lasting option for decks that creates a modern look.
  • Durable
  • Low maintenance, will not rust or decay
  • Lower cost
  • Less flexibility with style or “look and feel”
A popular option that minimizes the obstruction of deck views.
  • Durable, usually stainless steel
  • Does not impede views
  • Contemporary look
  • High cost
  • Needs expert installation

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to choosing the materials for your deck.  On top, you will need to consider your budget and the type of work you want to have in maintaining a beautiful and functional deck year-round.

We can advise you on all aspects of choosing the right materials to fit your needs. We can also work closely with you to design and build your outdoor oasis.

If you would like more assistance with your deck project,
contact a specialist at Prominent Builders and Design today.