Choosing the Right Material for Your New Home’s Backyard Deck or Front Porch

Buying a new home means that you have many decisions to make.

One of those decisions – should you elect to include a front porch or backyard deck with the home – is choosing the type of material it will be constructed of.

Generally, there are four materials to choose from: natural wood, cedar, PVC or composite.

The first material, natural wood, comes in three main types: pressure-treated, cedar and exotics.

Pressure-treated wood – which is treated with chemicals formed under pressure to make it rot and insect-resistant – is a popular choice because it’s affordable, comes in many red and brown tones, and has an appealing, natural texture.

Next comes cedar, which is naturally rot and insect resistant. Durable and easy to work with, it features a lovely, bright tone, and is easy to stain.

The third material to consider is PVC.

Because it doesn’t contain any organic materials, it won’t rot, swell, stain or fade. It’s also strong, durable and weather resistant.

Finally, there’s composite decking, which comes in two varieties: wood plastic composite and mineral-based composite.

Made up of 95 per cent of recycled plastic with wood fibers, wood plastic composite (unlike wood) won’t crack or splinter and can be cleaned with soap and water.

Mineral-based composite, meanwhile, improved on wood composite in that it’s stronger, allowing for longer porch or deck spans. It also comes with a 25-year stain and fade warranty.

Ultimately, choosing a deck or porch material comes down to three factors: look, durability and budget.

If you prefer the natural look of wood, consider pressure-treated wood or cedar. Both look great, and project a wonderful warmth.

However, beware: they require quite a bit of maintenance.

That means they need to be kept clean and re-stained and sealed every two to three years. Fail to do that, and they can deteriorate quickly, featuring unsightly staining, fading, cracking and weathering.

If you want your deck to be largely maintenance-free and longer lasting, the clear choice is PVC or composite deck material.

The benefits of PVC and/or wood plastic or mineral-based composite are easy maintenance, superior traction in wet, icy or snowy conditions and resistance to fading, staining and cracking.

That said, both PVC and composite decking is more expensive than wood, so cost is also a consideration.

The good news? No matter which material you choose, your home will have a beautiful deck or front porch that will provide you with many years of enjoyment!