(BPT) - If The Old Farmer's Almanac prediction holds true, this summer will be a hot one. The weather forecast anticipates temperatures for the season to be 'hotter than normal' across most of the U.S. If you're ready to kick up your feet and soak in these rays, now is the perfect time to get started on that deck you've been dreaming about adding. But before you put hammer to nail, you'll need to decide on which decking material to use.
While wood might be the first material that comes to mind, there are now a multitude of options from luxurious hardwoods to wood-plastic composites. With all of the products in today's home improvement stores, it can be hard to know which one to put in your cart. The process doesn't have to be complicated. Before you buy, look for decking that meets these three criteria:
1. Beautifies your backyard
Whether your deck is big or small, it helps set the stage for your backyard retreat. Make sure the decking material you select packs a lot of style and ties in with your home's existing architecture to create a wow-worthy outdoor living space. Get creative. Many of today's offerings are available in a wide array of decking color combinations to complement exterior color schemes, from popular grays to rich, dark browns.
If you love the look of wood, but want enhanced durability, consider modern composite decking with a mix of natural wood fibers and plastic. Look for boards with deeper, more detailed embossing. They give the illusion of a more realistic wood-grain.
2. Keeps the sander in the shed
Decks are meant to be enjoyed, but it's hard to relax if they require hours of maintenance that cut into summertime fun. So, before you settle on a decking material, make sure you have a realistic expectation of what is required to keep it in top-notch shape. For example, while wood decking can easily ramp up the style of your backyard, it requires regular sanding and a new coat of stain or paint to keep its attractive appearance.
If you're looking to spend more time on the deck with a lemonade in hand than on your knees sanding, consider materials that reduce the hassle of upkeep. Many of today's wood-alternative decking materials can create a beautiful, low-maintenance scene for your backyard by eliminating the need for annual painting, staining or sealing. And with the increase in types of decking materials, there is no need to compromise on appearance for the sake of reduced upkeep.
3. Withstands the elements
Decks need to be tough to add lasting style. They are exposed to sun, water, insects, spills and, if you have kids, the occasional marker artwork. Surprisingly, finding a decking material that can withstand these conditions is easier said than done. Without proper care, many decking products, including treated wood, will start to deteriorate with extended exposure to UV rays, moisture and insects. Deck boards that warp, splinter or rot become safety hazards that require replacement.
To spend less time replacing deck boards and more time enjoying your deck, look for products with exceptional durability. Composite decking is one offering that is specially designed to withstand the rigors of life outside.
'After investing in a new deck, the last thing homeowners want is to spend time on costly fixes. Composite decking can help keep them on deck enjoying the sun,' said Josh Landis of ChoiceDek Composite Decking. 'Boards are now available that fully encapsulate wood fibers in plastic to protect against moisture intrusion all the way to the core. They resist rotting and splintering to help keep decks looking beautiful and feeling great underfoot.'
Selecting the right decking material can be the difference between a deck with faded and splintered boards, and one that invites relaxation for years to come. With proper planning, you can get on deck with a material that will help you enjoy your outdoor living space for years to come.