Choosing the Right Materials for Your Deck Installation - A Comprehensive Overview

When selecting the materials for your deck, you have a wide range of options, from solid woods like cedar and redwood to composites and even aluminum.

These products are available in a variety of natural-looking hues and grain patterns. They won’t splinter, require staining or be affected by rot.

Natural Wood

Natural wood has long been a popular choice for deck installation Loomis CA, and it can offer an attractive, traditional look that’s easily customized. However, wood is also vulnerable to damage from insects and the weather and must be regularly stained and sealed to prevent rot, cracking and splintering.

A newer alternative to natural wood is composite, which combines recycled plastics with a wood-fiber core. Some composites are fashioned to resemble exotic wood species, offering a more natural appearance. Wood-composite doesn’t require staining or sealing, and it’s durable enough to withstand foot traffic, furniture scrapes and other normal wear and tear.

Wood-composite boards are often face-nailed or screwed, although grooved versions that allow hidden fasteners resemble traditional wood decking more closely. Some are textured to reduce the number of splinters, and some manufacturers produce boards with different grain patterns for a more authentic look. This material is also environmentally friendly, with manufacturers such as Fiberon recycling more than 97 percent of the waste from their production process.


Wood is the most common decking material, but there are other options. Composites offer beauty, durability and ease of maintenance without requiring regular staining and refinishing.

Most importantly, composites don’t splinter. They also don’t need staining and are available in various natural-looking colors and grain patterns. Composites are easy to install, too. You can cut them with a circular saw and drive screws or nails like wood boards. They can be installed with innovative hidden fasteners, which makes a big difference in the overall look of your deck.

Lastly, many composite products are made from recycled plastics like milk, water, detergent containers, and reclaimed wood. This helps reduce deforestation, protecting wildlife habitat and other natural resources. Some composites can even be bent into curved shapes, making them an ideal choice for specialty deck designs.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Many homeowners choose to build their decks out of pressure-treated wood. It’s a cheap building material that retains moisture well and resists fungal growth and insect infestations. Most wood decks in the US are made out of this type of lumber. It also holds up better than natural wood regarding strength and durability.

The chemicals used in the pressure-treating process can be dangerous, but this type of lumber is ideal for outdoor projects exposed to water and humidity. If you’re working with it indoors, opt for untreated wood instead.

When purchasing treated lumber, look for a label with the chemical retention level. The higher the number, the more rot-resistant the wood is. You should also choose KDAT wood, which means it’s been kiln-dried before and after treatment. This minimizes warping and bending over time. It’s also less likely to splinter. There are two basic types of pressure-treating processes: full-cell and empty-cell.


Price is one of many factors when choosing the right materials for your deck. You also have to think about the use of your deck. Will it be a place for quiet relaxation or a gathering space for friends and family?

A great choice for those looking for a green and sustainable option is aluminum. It is made from recycled material and has a lower embodied energy footprint than other materials like wood or composites.

Also, aluminum is rust-resistant so it can withstand harsh environments. It is also available in many different colors and finishes. This product can be easily maintained with mild soap and water or a pressure washer that doesn’t exceed 1,300 psi.

Plus, it doesn’t attract pests such as termites or ants. And it’s fire-resistant. It’s important to note that aluminum can be scratched, however, so it’s a good idea to use non-abrasive cleaning tools when needed.