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Which Building Materials Should be Used for a Deck?

Last modified: 2020-02-18 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

When the months start to feel warmer, there’s nothing we crave more than some time outside. There are plenty of ways to make the most of your front or backyard, and this includes building a beautiful deck. If you’ve been considering this project but are having a hard time making a concrete choice between the different materials on the market, then look no further!

Before settling on one specific option, it’s important to consider a few different things in order to figure out which material will best suit your needs. We’ll go over some crucial questions as well as the pros and cons of the various deck materials, so read on!

patio in a backyard

What to use when building a deck!

Getting started

If you’re at the beginnings of your deck building project, there are some integral questions to ask yourself that can help to determine your specific needs as well as the safest construction methods for your space. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How much money are you willing to invest?
  • Should you prioritize durability and materials that require less maintenance?
  • What are you looking for in terms of style?
  • What usage will you make of this deck?

Once you’ve answered these, you’ll have a much better idea of the material that will suit your home, your family as well as your lifestyle. Other considerations should include making sure you do your research regarding municipal and city permits, as most outdoor building projects will need to stick to codes and will this will likely necessitate a permit.

Now, it’s time to look more closely at the different types of available materials. We’re certain that everyone will be able to find suited to their personal taste and budget. Here’s a quick guide that’ll help you learn more about the pros and cons of each product.

Pressure-treated wood


source: unsplash

Without a doubt, pressure-treated wood is the most common deck building material. It’s popular due to the fact that it’s one of the cheapest materials on the market, while also being versatile. Pressure-treated wood can be painted or dyed to suit almost any décor style

However, it’s important to mention that though treated wood is often initially the least expensive option, it costs a fair amount to maintain and upkeep the surface. Therefore, in many cases, it can end up costing you more. Cedar is the most widely used option and is extremely resilient. Though it can be susceptible to splinters and therefore, needs to be stained annually. Redwood and pine are two other commonly used options. Pressure-treated wood decks should be refinished every one to three years.

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A type of wood that can be very beautiful when properly maintained. It can be dyed but does not support paint. Cedar produces fewer splinters than treated wood but it has to be treated on a regular basis (once a year) due to the fact that it reacts poorly to bad weather.

patio bois_wooden patio in a backyard

Torrefied wood (roasted wood)

Contrary to other types of wood, torrefied wood isn’t treated with chemical products. Instead, the manufacturing process for this material entails prolonged exposure to heat and vapour. The resulting wood is smooth. One of the best features of torrefied wood is that it’s very resilient to insect infestations.

However, since torrefied wood is not as dense as the other types of materials, it would best to avoid using it to build the deck’s structure. In terms of price, it falls somewhere between treated wood and ipe wood so it has the ability to be worked into most budgets.


Ipe is a tropical hardwood that has been gaining popularity. This type of wood is 5 times more durable than treated wood. In addition, it’s fairly easy to care for while also being weather-resistant, a huge plus for those building a deck outside of a Canadian home. Once installed, it doesn’t require any regular treatments.  However, when left to age naturally, it will start to turn gray. In order to keep the wood’s original colour, you’ll have to apply a coat of anti-UV oil.

Composite material

Composite material is made of a mixture of wood, recycled plastic, polyester, as well as glass fibre. This combination of elements takes the benefits of all materials and brings them together. Trex is a popular composite on the market, crafted from reclaimed materials including wood waste and reclaimed plastics. This material can be expensive, but this is because it isn’t susceptible to shrinking, splintering or fading.

However, this material has a tendency to heat up when the outdoor temperatures begin to rise. Not only this but composite cannot be treated or painted. Therefore, you’ll have to choose from the available colours. Bear in mind that once installed, it’ll be difficult to change your mind about colour or texture. Maintenance is fairly low stakes with this material, but pressure washing the surface once a year is recommended to keep things refreshed and clean.


Fibreglass decks and balconies are generally found on condo buildings. This type of material is lightweight and offers excellent resistance against corrosion and deterioration. Under temperate weather conditions, this type of deck can last 20 to 25 years. However, aesthetically speaking, fibreglass is not on par with the other options but is a functional material that works for specific purposes.

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