Adding a deck to your home will raise its curb appeal, and provide you with an outdoor sanctuary to spend quality time with your family. Deciding on the aesthetics of a new deck can be the hardest part. There are a variety of decking components to choose from. Here are 5 different materials to consider when building your deck.

1. Pressure-Treated Wood

The most-chosen type of decking material sold today, pressure-treated wood is cost-efficient, relatively enduring, easy-to-locate, and can be stained any color you wish. A majority of pressure-treated wood originates from southern yellow pine. It is treated with chemicals that help it resist rotting, fungus, and bugs. The downside is that it needs to be maintained more often than other types of decking. It needs to be power washed every year, and re-stained every two to three years.

2. Redwood and Cedar

The second most popular decking choice is redwood and Western red cedar. Homeowners appreciate their robust color, natural allure, and the fact that they are chemical-free. The indigenous tannins and oils found in these species make them naturally resist rotting, insects, and decay. Both cedar and redwood decking will need to be power washed annually, and a coat of clear wood preservative applied every three to four years.

3. Tropical Hardwoods

Decking manufactured from tropical hardwoods has only been around for about the last 20 years. These exotic imports include varieties such as tigerwood, cumaru, red tauari, garapa, ipe, and massaranduba. Extremely hard and durable, these varieties are also naturally resistant to rotting and insects. At their first introduction, tropical hardwoods were extremely expensive, but today you will find that they cost only slightly more than cedar or redwood.

4. Composite

The interest in composite decking is growing at a fast rate. Composite decking is manufactured from a combination of wood dust and recycled plastic. Virtually maintenance-free, composite decking is exceptionally water-resistant, effortless to clean, and won’t rot, splinter or warp. You don’t need to sand or stain composite decking either. Available in a variety of colors, from far away, composite resembles natural wood.

5. Aluminum

Many people aren’t even aware that a deck could be made out of aluminum. However, it is a smart material to make a deck out of, due to the fact that it will never crack, warp, splinter, rot or rust, or accumulate mold. Weather and slip-resistant, aluminum decking features a powder-coated finish that lasts indefinitely. This material is also 100% recyclable. Surprisingly, aluminum even stays cooler in the sun than most types of decking. The drawback is that the cost of an aluminum deck far surpasses all other decking options.

When choosing the right material for your deck, the factors involved include appearance, cost, maintenance, and installation. Weigh your options and your choice should become clear.