Choose Your Materials
While there are a number of beautiful natural and manmade materials available, the best material for your deck or patio will depend largely on two factors: preference and maintenance. Many homeowners prefer the authentic look and feel of natural wood and stone — and many are willing to spend the time and money necessary to maintain them. But most homeowners opt for durable alternatives like concrete pavers and composite decking.
“Cedar, redwood and ipe are beautiful woods that will last many years so long as they’re well maintained, but you have to make sure you know what you’re getting into,” says Michael Beaudry, Executive Vice President of the North American Deck and Railing Association. “And nothing’s maintenance-free — you have to clean everything — but composites and PVCs are much, much lower maintenance than you’re going to get with a pressure treated lumber.”
Engineered materials will typically cost more up front, explains Beaudry, but they will also offer bigger cost savings and require less maintenance over the longer term. Further, many engineered decking and patio materials are designed specifically to endure and deflect heat and saturation. And, they’ve also come a long way in terms of color and aesthetic.